Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Lawsuit: D.A. Krasner Refused To Disclose Public Records


By A. Benjamin Mannes 
for BigTrial.net

Philadelphians who follow federally reported crime rates, nightly news broadcasts or are attending community meetings know that crime is up and quality of life is declining in many of their neighborhoods. 

However, you would never know this by monitoring the press conferences and statements coming from Mayor Jim Kenney, District Attorney Larry Krasner [or his spokesperson Jane Roh], or newly-appointed Commissioner Danielle Outlaw; who highlight issues relative to their social justice endeavors while downplaying the rise in violent crime plaguing our city. 

It was former council candidate Bill Heeney’s desire to get to the truth of this matter that led to a lawsuit filed on February 22, 2020 against District Attorney Larry Krasner; a lawsuit which seeks to bring transparency to how prosecutions are taken or declined in the City of Philadelphia.

Instead of addressing the public safety crisis, the Mayor and District Attorney’s offices have denied any correlation between the city’s new progressive criminal justice policies and rising crime, to include homicides. 

This was why Heeney had filed a Right to Know Request with the District Attorney’s Office on June 19, 2019, when sources in police community meetings were having trouble understanding how those arrested in their communities were back on the streets committing more crimes. Heeney’s request was for the office provide a list of the number of cases that the District Attorney declined to prosecute from January 2018 (after Krasner’s inauguration) to the present; with the reason prosecutions were declined. 

Initially, the District Attorney’s Office stalled the legally requested right-to-know filing by requesting a deadline extension to gather documents. After the extension had run out; the District Attorney’s Office then declined the request stating that the office simply did not possess the documents requested. 

As any legal and/or law enforcement professional will tell you, it is not plausible for the District Attorney’s Office to not possess these records, as habias corpus requires them to be included in the arrest and custody records for any case charged by law enforcement.

Suspecting that the District Attorney was trying to “stonewall” his legally valid request; Heeney filed an appeal. In their response, the DA’s office stated that “the Appellee’s appeal lacked merit because the Appellee did not include a valid argument that stated the District Attorney improperly denied his request for records."

Krasner’s response was in line with how he responded to past criticism of his policies. After U.S. Attorney William McSwain held statistically-driven, interagency press conferences on the declining state of public safety in Philadelphia, even focusing federal efforts on local prosecutions, Krasner’s response was to simply deny that there was any evidence to support the claims of his federal counterpart. Krasner also usually tried to discredit anything McSwain said by politically linking him to being an appointee of President Donald Trump.

The Office of Open Records didn’t buy Krasner’s excuse, affirming Heeney’s appeal in part, which essentially ordered that the District Attorney's Office produce the responsive pleadings it possesses in the table that the Office of the District Attorney created to keep track of the cases that are declined prosecution. As it was becoming increasingly clear to Heeney that Krasner’s office was covering up the correlation between their policies and rising crime, Heeney officially sued the Krasner administration.

Heeney’s suit asserts that “the Citizens of Philadelphia, 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.” 

Simply put, the suit shows the effort Krasner is putting in to attempt to hide his administration’s charging data, which may be the “smoking gun” showing a link between higher occurrences of crime, including numerous murders to Krasner’s policies. If there was merit to the claims and excuses offered by Krasner, it would be far simpler to comply with the records request and defend the data therein.

If Heeney’s lawsuit prevails, the first set of records detailing why a national strategy by George Soros to alter the criminal justice system while bypassing the necessary legislation to do so will be released. Either way, it’s clear that in Philadelphia, Krasner is hiding something that may improve the public safety of its 1.5 million residents.

Is this because Krasner is afraid to show the true dangers of his progressive experiment to politicize criminal justice, or worse, is it an attempt to cover up potential scandals within the District Attorney’s office? 

Numerous scandals have already arose in Krasner’s short tenure as District Attorney, which includes his being sued over his termination of Victim’s Services Chief Tami Levin to make room for the hiring of campaign donor and now-incarcerated politician Movita Johnson-Harrell; the $160K-a-year appointment of a former creditor he owed money to; a lawsuit for the DA’s harassment & civil rights violation of veteran Police Detective Derrick "Jake" Jacobs, and most recently, a senior staff appointment of a disbarred lawyer.

If Krasner’s responsibility to uphold the oath of his office isn’t enough, let’s hope that court orders resulting from Heeney’s lawsuit will be enough to bring transparency to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, and hopefully shed light on a disturbing national trend in the election of radically progressive prosecutors.

A. Benjamin Mannes MA, CPP, CESP, is a Subject Matter Expert in Security & Criminal Justice Reform based on his own experiences on both sides the criminal justice system. He has served as the former Director, Office of Investigations, for North America’s largest medical board and previously as both a federal and municipal law enforcement officer.

6 comments:

  1. The citizens of Philadelphia want and deserve transparency. Please get to the bottom of this debacle

    ReplyDelete
  2. 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.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be great to come to the public light.

      Delete
  3. Getting closer and closer. He is feeling the heat. Keep at him Ralph!!! Just imagine how close the Feds are considering the resources!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ben Mannes and Bill Heeney deserve all the credit for this one.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Krasner is a fucking disgrace. I work in the city but don't live here. Get rid of this leftist before more good people are hurt. Good Luck to you !!

    ReplyDelete

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