The Pennsylvania State House of Representatives passed HD240 – a resolution calling for the impeachment of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner – by a 107-85 vote on Wednesday afternoon.
The articles of impeachment will be forwarded to the State Senate for a full trial.
Krasner said in a statement that “In the hundreds of years the Commonwealth has existed, this is the only time the House has used the drastic remedy of impeachment of an elected officials because they do not like their ideas.
“Each Philadelphia voter is not just 3.5ths of a voter. Philadelphia is not Pennsylvania’s colony. Philadelphians get taxation AND representation. Philadelphians’ votes, and Philadelphia voters, should not be erased.”
The House Republicans amended the resolution on Wednesday with four of the new articles citing specific instances in which Krasner allegedly demonstrated professional misconduct, and one targets his office’s leniency in enforcing certain laws:
- dereliction of duty and refusal to enforce the law;
- obstruction of House Select Committee investigation;
- violation of the rules of professional conduct and code of judicial conduct; specifically Rule 3.3 candor toward the tribunal, Rule 8.4, Professional misconduct, and Canon 2 of the code of judicial conduct impropriety and appearance of impropriety in the matter of Robert Wharton v. Donald T. Vaughn;
- violation of the rules of professional conduct; specifically Rule 3.3 candor toward the tribunal, Rule 8.4, Professional misconduct, and Canon 2 of the code of judicial conduct impropriety and appearance of impropriety in the matter of Commonwealth vs. Pownall;
- violation of the rules of professional conduct; specifically Rule 3.3 candor toward the tribunal, Rule 8.4, Professional misconduct, and Canon 2 of the code of judicial conduct impropriety and appearance of impropriety in the matter in re: conflicts of interest of Philadelphia District Attorney’s office;
- violations of victims rights.
Speaking before the vote on the impeachment, Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia), the measure’s prime sponsor, said Krasner “directly contravened our constitutional system. This goes beyond prosecutorial discretion … this offends the basic tenants of our constitutional government.”
“The misbehavior in Larry Krasner’s absence is unprecedented,” White said.
“If impeachment in Pennsylvania becomes a process for pursuing political grievances, no elected officials will be safe,” Rep. Mike Zabel (D-Delaware), said. Zabel warned the vote would set the stage for the legislature to bring similar actions against any district attorneys, judges or other elected officials with whom they disagree.
“By impeaching Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, we put ourselves on the record that we stand with the people of Philadelphia who have been living in fear for their lives and the safety of themselves and their families,” said Senate Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin). “We are standing up for those who do not have a voice, but long for safety and freedom from fear.
“What is clear is that the Philadelphia district attorney, through his improper use of prosecutorial discretion, has implemented policies and mismanaged his office in such a way that its purposeful ineffectiveness in combatting the crime and violence crisis gripping the city has contributed to the problem itself.
“We did not take this path lightly or with joy and eagerness. But the impeachment of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is without a doubt the right thing to do.”
“Today’s vote is a dangerous abuse of power and a deeply alarming attempt by some state lawmakers to disenfranchise voters who overwhelmingly chose Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner to serve their community,” said former federal prosecutor Miriam Krinsky, who heads Fair and Just Prosecution, a national network of elected prosecutors working towards common-sense, compassionate criminal justice reforms. “With this vote, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has declared that the people of Philadelphia do not get to decide how their own city is run.”
“History will harshly judge this anti-democratic authoritarian effort to erase Philly’s votes – votes by Black, brown, and broke people in Philadelphia,” said Krasner. “And voters will have the last word.”
updated to include Benninghoff quotes