Category: Prosecutors

Philly Repeat Offender Arrested For Murder

Following a six-month manhunt, U.S. Marshals arrested 20-year-old Halim Evans and 29-year-old Jamel King for the September 2022 murder of a pregnant teen.  KYW News reports that on September 11, a car was identified on a security camera following two girls walking a dog in a Philadelphia suburb at 9:p.m.  The video shows one of the men exiting the car and stalking the girls then eventually opening fire.  17-year-old Teryn Johnson was hit in the chest and died later in the hospital.  She was nine weeks pregnant.  Police have not determined whether the suspects knew either girl.  Jamal King had prior drug, gun and assault convictions, and probation violations at the time of the murder.  He was recently sentenced to two years in prison for the gun and assault crimes but was released early after serving a few months.  Following his election in 2018, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner implemented policies to seek the lowest sentences for criminals he chose to prosecute in order to achieve social justice.  The pregnant teen’s murder constitutes collateral damage in pursuit of that higher goal.  A recent poll by the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that 90% of respondents said that crime was the top priority.

Missouri AG Moves to Fire St. Louis Prosecutor

Federalism allows cities and states to adopt widely varying policies regarding crime and justice, so long as the policies comply with the U.S. Constitution.  When elected officials implement policies that result in increased crime or perceived injustice, the voters usually get the last word.  This happened last year in San Francisco, when voters recalled progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin for failing to aggressively prosecute criminals.  Boudin was among several dozen district attorneys, states attorneys and circuit attorneys whose campaigns were bankrolled by progressive billionaire George Soros.  Before Soros began doing this, even big city district attorney campaigns would rarely raise more than $500,000 from thousands of contributors.  To elect pro-criminal progressives to these offices Soros often contributes $500,000 to over $1,000,000 to their campaigns, essentially buying the election.

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300 LA Traffic Deaths in 2022, Activists Blame Streets

A story by Dakota Smith in the Los Angeles Times reports that traffic deaths in the city have hit a two-decade high.  More than half of the deaths involved vehicles hitting pedestrians or people on bicycles, both which significantly increased compared to prior years.  This comes as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that traffic fatalities nationally remained flat over 2022.  What is causing this increase?  The Los Angeles Times did not inquire into how many traffic fatalities involved an intoxicated driver.  With an estimated 69,000 homeless in LA, many using drugs, riding bicycles and wandering the streets, it might be that pedestrians and bike riders are part of the problem, but this was not reported.  Last March, the Los Angeles Police Commission announced that LAPD Officers were no longer authorized to make traffic stops.  This limits officers from pulling over cars weaving, turning without a signal, failing to stop at a stop sign or driving with an expired registration.  Losing the ability to stop a driver who is intoxicated and/or blatantly ignoring traffic laws might actually encourage traffic fatalities.  This concern was not reported in the Times.

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Recusing the District Attorney’s Office

Can an entire district attorney’s office be recused from a criminal case on the basis of a campaign fund-raising letter that calls the defund-the-police movement “wacky” and opposes “anarchist groups”? I would think that opposing anarchy is a job requirement for a district attorney, not a disqualification.

Does it matter if the district attorney has appeared in forums where other people said critical things about a group the defendants are affiliated with? I would not think so. But surprisingly, the Superior Court for San Luis Obispo County, California, recused the DA on just such grounds, and the Court of Appeal affirmed. CJLF today filed an amicus curiae letter brief supporting the DA’s petition for review in the California Supreme Court. Continue reading . . .

Philly District Attorney Larry Krasner Impeached

The Pennsylvania House has voted 107-85 to impeach Soros-bankrolled Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.  With Krasner running the District Attorney’s office,  homicides, violent crime and carjackings have reached historic levels, exceeding those of much larger cities including New York and Los Angeles.  The Washington Post reports that the impeachment now moves to a trial in the state Senate.  Krasner, a progressive reformer who brags about fewer arrests and convictions on his website, responded to the impeachment saying, “it shows how far toward fascism the Republican party is creeping.”  Both the PA House and Senate have Republican majorities.

Krasner insists that his policies are “working,” seemingly unconcerned about homicide rates

Over the last several years, the progressive prosecutor movement has grown in popularity, with more and more policy changes reducing penalties for certain crimes. A common theme is for district attorneys to restrict prosecutions for certain offenses, and to reduce the severity of punishments for cases that are prosecuted.

One example is Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, who has been dismissing more and more cases each year, despite the fact that the city recently reached its highest murder rate in history. He thinks that his approach is “working,” per a recent local news interview (originally reported by Heather McDonald in the Daily Mail and summarized in a CJLF post). In the interview, he incessently denied that his policies have negative consequences and was seemingly unconcerned about the homicide increase.

The sheer fact that homicides have increased in Philadelphia every year of Krasner’s term should be cause for concern. Not surprisingly, a deep dive into the research confirms that Krasner’s policies are at least partially to blame for the increase in homicides in Philadelphia.

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Philadelphia murder rates rise due to lenient sentences sought by progressive prosecutor Larry Krasner

As the progressive prosecutor movement grows in popularity, we see more and more policy changes that reduce penalties for certain crimes. One of the common themes is de-prosecution, or the discretionary decision to not prosecute certain criminal offenses. Another aspect of de-prosecution involves reducing the severity of punishment for individuals who are prosecuted. The movement came about due to the belief of many progressives that mass incarceration actually increases crime through supposed “criminogenic” effects. That is, they believe that people who serve long periods of time in prison will adapt to that culture and learn certain behaviors that will make them worse criminals. However, opponents argue that de-prosecution policies don’t hold offenders sufficiently accountable, and will only encourage more crime as offenders learn that there are little to no consequences for their behavior.

In Philadelphia, de-prosecution began in 2015 with District Attorney Seth Williams. This resulted in a substantial decline in both new cases prosecuted and sentencings (particularly for drug possession, drug trafficking, and felony possession of firearms), a trend that accelerated when District Attorney Larry Krasner took office in 2018. At the annual Federalist Society Convention last year, Krasner boasted that his policies are “on the side of the data,” vehemently denying that de-prosecution increases crime. However, a 2022 study published in Criminology and Public Policy refuted Krasner’s claims. The study, conducted by Thomas Hogan, revealed a causal link between de-prosecution and increased homicides in Philadelphia.

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Cal. Legislature’s Rescue of Murderers Upheld

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón is engaged in an all-out effort to reduce the sentences of LA murderers. Among the beneficiaries of Gascón’s efforts is Scott Collins, who gunned down Fred Rose in 1992, stole his car, then drove the car to Fresno to use it in a drive-by shooting. For this he was justly sentenced to death, and the judgment has been upheld on both direct appeal and state habeas corpus.

Despite Gascón’s defection, there appeared to be a strong chance of stopping his intended miscarriage of justice until the murderer-friendly California Legislature came to his aid. Continue reading . . .

Responses to Soros Op-Ed

As noted in this post, the WSJ recently published an op-ed by George Soros explaining why he has pumped money into the campaigns of progressive prosecutors and intends to continue doing so. This article naturally prompted many critical letters to the editor, and the WSJ has printed them over multiple days, which is somewhat unusual.

In today’s batch, the WSJ printed my letter, noting an example refuting Soros’s claim that the progressive policies are evidence based. The August 4 batch included letters from Thomas Hogan on recent research tying progressive prosecutors to increased homicides and from Hans Bader on the fallacy of Soros’s racial statistics (unfortunately chopped down in the editing process to omit essential support). Yesterday’s print edition has a letter from an LA police officer with anecdotal but significant evidence that criminals in LA believe they can commit crimes with impunity because of the LA DA’s policies.