Wednesday, March 18, 2020

District Attorney Lied About Public Records Because He Doesn't Want Public To Know About Thousands Of Cases He Wouldn't Prosecute

Photo credit: Tim Tai/The Philadelphia Inquirer
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

District Attorney Larry Krasner lied about the existence of public records that would show just how many cases his inept and corrupt office has turned down for prosecution.

Krasner doesn't want the public to know about the more than 200 cases his so-called charging unit declines to prosecute every month, or the 2,562 cases his office declined to prosecute during 2018, his first year in office. These cases run the gamut of crimes, including  aggravated assault, prostitution, bringing weapons to school, robbery and rape.

There's another public document that Krasner hopes the public never sees: a list that tracks the number of cases where the district attorney's office downgrades charges, which average nearly a hundred a month, or a total of 1,159 for 2018. Such as when Michael White stabbed Sean Schellenger, an unarmed man, to death in July 2018 with a knife with a six-inch blade in Rittenhouse Square. And Krasner twice downgraded the charges in the case, from first-degree murder, to third-degree murder, and finally, to voluntary manslaughter.

Krasner doesn't want the public to know about the deals he cuts with criminals, and he doesn't want them to know about all the cases where arrests were made, or the cops said they knew who the bad guy was, but the D.A.'s office was too inept or corrupt to take the case to court.

Krasner doesn't want the public to know that he isn't doing his job. But all of those records exist, in both the Police Department and the District Attorney's office. And Krasner, the city's top law enforcement official, is a liar who's leading an official cover up.

On June 19, 2019, William J. Heeney, then a candidate for City Council, filed a right-to-know request seeking the "number of cases declined by the District Attorney Charging Unit from January 2018 to present, and documented reasons for the declination."

A. Benjamin Mannes, a former cop who's a consultant on security and criminal justice reform, wrote about Heeney's attempt to get those records in a previous post on this blog.

On June 26, 2019, the district attorney's office requested a 30-day extension to reply to Heeney's request. They could have given Heeney the answer to the first part of his question, how many cases have been declined for prosecution by the D.A.'s office, in 30 seconds with one stroke on a keyboard.

But instead, they decided to lie.

On July 29, 2019, the D.A.'s office, with Krasner's name stamped on the top of their official stationary, sent Heeney a formal denial of his request, written by an appropriately named assistant district attorney, Benjamin Jackal.

"Your request is denied," Jackal wrote Heeney. "The DAO does not have possession, custody or control of records responsive to your request."

Soon after I posted Mannes' story on the blog, a city official in the know wrote in a response under Big Trial's comments section that said the D.A.'s office was lying:

"There is a weekly report generated to a select number of personnel in the Police Department and the District Attorney's Office via email documenting every declination (refusal by the District Attorney to prosecute a case) and the reason for the declination."

"Many cases are declined based on the failed policies of Krasner as the crime rate continues to spiral out of control in the city due to these policies/declinations. This report has been generated and documented for several years. Both the police department and the District Attorney's Office have the number of declined cases at their fingertips and can generate the list with the push of a key on their keyboard."

Also not buying the D.A.'s explanation -- the city's Office of Open Records. That office then ordered the district attorney to produce the records. The D.A. refused, but changed the story, claiming the records were immune from disclosure because they're privileged. 

In response, Heeney sued the D.A.'s office in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. In his Feb. 22nd lawsuit, Heeney wrote, "The reasons the District Attorney provides lack merit. They are mere attempts to hide the underlying progressive agenda the District Attorney's office wishes to maintain in the city of Philadelphia."

The citizens of Philadelphia, Heeney wrote, "who are supposed to be protected by the office of the District Attorney, are entitled to know why its chief law enforcement officer is declining to prosecute criminal cases."

"The District Attorney's office is keeping secrets from the citizens of Philadelphia and the citizens are suffering," Heeney wrote. "Crime is out of control. These documents are needed to find out why."

13 comments:

  1. As an ELECTED official, he is answerable to the people. "Privilege is not fact.
    He works for US, and is only answerable to US,

    ReplyDelete
  2. Instead of Democrats and Republicans lobbing insults at one another we should look at the real "machine", one who has been manipulating the public for decades, The Inquirer. Being presented with a version of the news or a news blackout is a blatant betrayal of our trust. Promoting the agenda put forth by the powers that be at the Inquirer hinders our thoughts and denies us public discussion. Taking it upon themselves to sit in judgment on others lives and liberty is criminal, no one elected them to rule.

    Profiting from habitually favoring one political party over another or the prosecution over defendants leaves us with no other resources for information. When the day arrives that we realize that their efforts have been designed to influence and sway for an achieved outcome, can only be described as denying us our civil rights.

    Being denied facts that help us vote or decide if a defendant is innocent or guilty borders on criminal intent. If a company or salesperson fabricated details about a product or inflated the value of a stock or labeled a product incorrectly which then inflicted harm, that person could easily spend time in jail. But if a reporter denies a citizen their right to freedom with false statements but hides behind an op-ed opinion piece the damage is irreparable. No one can replace or repair a damaged reputation, least of all the one who took it away.

    Instead of more division between political parties, let's point the finger where it belongs, at the Inquirer for refusing us the truth. Continually depriving citizens of their right to speak up and out about injustice, is unacceptable. I see a media outlet that does not want any information that contradicts their beliefs. The Inquirer has failed all of us and some of us to greater degrees.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your very eloquent and well timed opinion should remind us of the Terrorist Plot leading up to the BiCentennial Celebration of 1976 in Philadelphia.

    I can recall the hysteria and condemnation by the Inquirer against Mayor Rizzo for his action to halt the Celebration and to preempt a Public Health Crisis.

    The decline of City Leadership and the failure of the Paper of Record from that time to the present was never more poignant than to watch a scurrilous Police Commissioner and DA stand in front of a podium at the PAB and offer their vision of law enforcement, is a rebuke of all the great Law Enforcement Professionals of the past and present.

    The Vision of the City presented and supported by the Inquirer will forever be remembered as an assault on the integrity of the 1st Capital of the USA and a lesson to be taught in our schools if and when they reopen.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great work, Ralph. Stay after 'em !!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I plan to Rick. Am just getting started with Mr. Krasner. He really is a menace to this city. And sadly, not enough so-called journalists in this town are on to him.

    ReplyDelete
  6. More facts less conclusions makes for good journalism. Let the reader draw their own conclusions.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Two plus two equals four. The DA lied about the existence of thousands of documents that expose how his office isn't doing the job he's supposed to do.

    I would suggest you return to reading the Inquirer. There they never connect the dots. Or report what's really going on in the D.A.'s office. Instead, all they do is cover for him.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Id like to know what corrupt DA was in office when the evidence for my rape case was destroyed and my rapist WALKED!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am in court now the detective in charge of my case told me she didn't need the clothes that I was wearing while the assault happened and then testified in court I never gave them to her she made me take them home and now they're considered contaminated and not permissible in Court she never took pictures of what she seen and never questioned most of the neighbors although she told me she gave them all cards in their mailbox which I found was a lie she never retrieved video and audio from the neighbors that I gave her addresses to I Pray for you and I hope you can find Peace I am crossing my fingers that some typing investigation can be done to this unlawful woman who calls herself a detective ��������

      Delete
  9. Any expert law enforcement opinions out there on what this lady should do?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Was this Detective a female Hispanic?

    ReplyDelete

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