Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Eighteen New Krasner ADAs Flunk Bar Exam

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

When he first hired 60 new assistant district attorneys back in September, D.A. Larry Krasner hailed them as an "incredibly bright group of new prosecutors" who constituted "the largest and most diverse class of ADAs ever hired by the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office."

Krasner said the new prosecutors that he had personally recruited were "fully committed to seeking justice for the people of Philadelphia." But besides being seekers of justice, Krasner also extolled the diversity of his new recruits.

"In order to effect real and lasting reform of our system of criminal justice, we must make sure they are inclusive and representative of the communities they serve," Krasner said. The new class of prosecutors, Krasner bragged, were "51 percent diverse." Many were from top law schools across the country as well as historically black colleges and universities. In addition, "more than half are women and 2 percent identify as non-binary," Krasner said, apparently meaning that some of the new ADAs weren't exclusively masculine or feminine. Another milestone for progressives.

The only problem was that in order to become full-fledged prosecutors, this incredibly diverse group of new ADAs had to pass the bar exam. And while 42 passed, 18 of the 60 new ADAs have apparently failed that test.

Back when he hired them, Krasner had high hopes for the new class of ADAs.

"Having personally recruited and reconnected with these new ADAs, I know a number of them once believed that working as a prosecutor meant becoming part of the problem of mass incarceration," Krasner said last September.

But that was B.K., as in before Larry Krasner arrived in Philadelphia, to lead a national revolution.

"I'm hopeful that the work we at the DAO are doing to seek true justice for everyone and strengthen communities previously wrecked by mass incarceration will inspire more reform-minded attorneys to consider careers in criminal prosecution and join this fast-growing national movement to change the system from within," Krasner said.

While the national movement for true justice continues unabated, here in Philadelphia, it's uncertain what happens next for all those new ADAs who failed the bar exam.

Under former District Attorneys Lynne Abraham and R. Seth Williams, as well as interim D.A. Kelley Hodge, the hirings of new ADAs was contingent on passing the bar exam. Otherwise, with only a few exceptions, if the new ADAs didn't pass the bar exam, they were out.

If there was a paralegal spot open in the D.A.'s office, the D.A. could offer that spot to a new ADA who had just failed the bar exam, at a reduced salary, until the next bar exam rolled around.

"The rest had to leave the office or were fired," former D.A. Lynne Abraham wrote in an email. "They all left and I didn't have to fire anybody."

Jane Roh, Krasner's press spokesperson, did not respond over two days to a request for comment. She also did not respond to a report that Krasner intends to keep all 18 ADAs who failed the bar exam until they get another chance to pass the test.

Krasner, apparently, is a big believer in second chances. For criminals, and also for young law students who fail the bar exam the first time. But that's going to take a while.

Since the next bar exam is scheduled for February, and the results won't be known until June, it remains a mystery what Krasner plans to do with the 18 new ADAs who don't have a law license.

"It's important to know that the rules for the graduates is that they can go into court as a certified law student while awaiting the results of the bar exam, but once they failed they are no longer able to go to court," Abraham wrote. "Wonder what Larry is doing with all those who failed the bar and cannot go to court. Must be great having the luxury of having all those lawyers hanging around trying to figure out who they can let out of prison today."

Abraham said that she had never hired more than 20 new ADAs at a time. But when he took over as DA, Krasner's first action was to fire 31 veteran prosecutors, which opened up a few jobs.

Abraham had a few more things to get off her chest. She said that unlike Krasner, she didn't hire ADAs "who were most likely to abolish jail for criminals, or wanted to let everyone out of jail, or who routinely downgraded the seriousness of a case just to get a plea to a nonexistent crime and not what they were really arrested for."

While Krasner's spokesperson was apparently hiding under her desk, Abraham continued her blistering condemnation of Krasner.

"Nor did we want people who disregarded or denigrated the PAIN OF OUR VICTIMS, OR WANTED TO ABOLISH ALL THE PREVENTATIVE PROGRAMS WE STARTED," Abraham wrote.

One of the programs Abraham was referring to was designed to get prostitutes off the street. And it was successful until Krasner came along and basically legalized prostitution.

"We wanted prosecutors," she said. "All others could apply to the Public Defender's Office."


  1. Would this constituent an ethics complaint against Krasner if he kept all those that flunked the Bar, in their current pay range and duties?

    1. Nobody in the Philadephia criminal justice system nor the Inky seems to give a rat's ear about justice these days.

      Father Engelhardt could not be reached for comment.

    2. Fr Englehardts "sin" was that he wore a Roman collar

      If he had been a Rabbi or an Imam; it would have been front page all over the Inquirer.

  2. So 30% of his hires are unqualified? No worries. Krasner will simply redefine them as "truly qualified," in keeping with his "true justice" rhetoric. They didn't fail, you see...the System did.

    1. What's going on in DOA today, many ADA's quitting. Why are they leaving?

  3. I was a DA hired in the late 1980's. My starting class had 21 people. We had one person fail. Apparently this idiot, looking to hire " the brightest and the best" , somehow found little progressives who are not very bright. Heaven help the citizens of Philadelphia. The mass incarceration Larry worries about is the least of the the problems for the citizens with him in office.

  4. Krasner should get rid of the new hires who did NOT PASS the bar exam. Who are they? If he keeps them, the taxpayers should know who they are, they are paying their salaries. He can rehire them WHEN they pass the bar. Krasner lowered the 'bar' (standards) in hiring them. Maybe "Soros" can pick up the check. The NEW way of dealing with the public from the D.A's office is ignore questions, it will go away. I'm sure not one of the them will miss a paycheck. Imagine the pressure these people will have in February.

  5. Having less qualified court people means they'll file less charges and keep extending the hearings till there's no witnesses or PO's to testify. Next he'll start something about evidence disappearing. Stay Tuned for the Krasner Chronicles!

  6. I don't think the writer of this article, Lynn Abraham or the commented here realise that the United States has 5% of the world's population but 25% of the world's prison population. We have a freaking problem people and sitting around armchair quarterbacking those brave enough to take on those problems and try to actually DO something about it instead of ignoring and adding to the problem, Lynne I'm thinking of you here, is what we need. Not a bunch of smug assholes taking pleasure in young people failing there bar exams. I think you people are the sad ones here. By the way in most states bar exam failures are 30-40%. Krasners group is right on par with national average, and you old ass "do nothing with your own life" people want to beat on young people for failing an incredibily difficult test. Yeah....Your awesome.....I guess.

  7. Tipsy, perhaps you should refrain from drinking so early in the morning. Is this Larry or Benny Waxman hiding behind the anonymity of their bar stool?

    Nice try on the misdirection front, but nobody's ridiculing the young people who flunked the bar exam. What I'm trying to do is focus attention on the real effects of the radical policies being promulgated by DA Krasner.

    It's something he refuses to talk about and the Inquirer refuses to cover.

    Nice try.

  8. What does "51 percent diverse" mean? Instead of using some vague term, why not be specific?

    I suspect it means 51% non-white or 51% non-Hispanic white. However, whites are in the minority in Philadelphia so how does that work now?

  9. I thought it odd how Krasner used percentages. He said "2 percent identify as non-binary" which would be just one ADA because 1/60 is 1.67%. He apparently rounded up.

    For his "51 percent diverse" he would have rounded down if he had 31 diverse out of 60 (51.67%). I would think he'd want to get that extra 1% if he did indeed have 31/60 diverse.

    Another possibility is that he counted one or more mixed race ADA's as partly diverse. In the latter case, maybe it was only 30.5/60 diverse or 50.83% diverse.

  10. 1/31/2020
    What ever happened to the people who failed their bar exam? Still collecting a pay check?

  11. I am wondering also...Coffee runners?


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