Wednesday, March 24, 2021

D.A.'s Office Repeatedly Failed To Stop 'Savage' Teen Rampage

By Ralph Cipriano

Veteran prosecutors say they are amazed by the repeated failure of the district attorney's office under Larry Krasner to stop a one-man crime wave waged by a Philly teenager.

Was it just plain incompetence on the part of the D.A's office, the veteran prosecutors ask. Or was it institutional indifference?

As Big Trial has previously reported, Byseem Smith, just 19,  has ten felony cases filed against him. Five of those cases stem from a single spree on Christmas Eve 2018 when the teenager known on Instagram as "seems.savage" allegedly: shot a man in the groin and almost killed him, took a shot at another person and missed, stole a car, resisted arrest, and capped off his night by committing aggravated assault against a couple of cops.

The D.A.'s office responded by waiving a preliminary hearing, which is routinely held in cases involving gun crimes. Instead, in one day, the D.A.'s office dismissed all five cases and 27 counts against Smith, including one count of attempted murder, without getting anything in return, like a guilty plea.

The D.A.'s office subsequently re-filed four lesser charges against Smith in juvenile court, where he was found to be an adjudicated delinquent, the equivalent of a guilty verdict. Smith wound up in a juvenile facility for eight months. After he was released, he was twice subsequently placed on GPS monitors that disappeared. But the D.A.'s office did nothing about it, even when Smith failed to show up for court.

Last March, Smith was arrested again and accused of possessing a vial full of Xanax pills and a black Glock 23 stolen from a sheriff's department in Virginia.

Smith's bail was set at $300,000, but a judge subsequently lowered that bail down to zero. Smith literally got out jail for free, and the D.A.'s office didn't bother to file an appeal. The capper: last September, Smith was arrested again on charges that he allegedly shot a woman twice in the stomach, robbed her, and took a shot at another person. The D.A.'s office filed four additional charges against Smith for carrying illegal guns. 
A former assistant district attorney who has since gone into private practice said there's two possible explanations for Smith's remarkable voyage through the criminal justice system -- rank incompetence on the part of the D.A.'s office, or institutional indifference.

The former ADA said the D.A.'s office should have held a preliminary hearing and bound Smith over for trial as an adult. They also should have filed an appeal after Smith's bail was lowered to zero. And, the former ADA said, the D.A.'s office should have gone after Smith for shedding two GPS monitors, for failing to show up for court, and for not living up to the terms of his probation. 

At the D.A.'s office, instead of giving Smith one pass after another, the former ADA said, alarm bells should have gone off after Smith shot a man in the groin, attacked a couple of cops, and was found to be trafficking in a gun stolen from law enforcement. 

"It can't be just mistake after mistake after mistake" committed by Krasner's inexperienced rookie prosecutors, the former ADA said. "It tells me that people don't care."

The former assistant D.A. who preferred to remain anonymous likened the criminal justice system to an assembly line, where cases pass from one work station to the next. It starts with affidavits of probable cause and arrest warrants, and moves on to preliminary hearings, criminal trials and finally, the appeals process.

"It's a fragile system," he said, where cops, prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges are all interdependent on each other as they work the assembly line.  

But at Larry Krasner's D.A.'s office, the former ADA said, "the people who are on the assembly line have no appreciation of the danger that this person [Byseem "seems.savage" Smith] represents to the public. They chose to ignore it. I don't know who they're fucking hiring."

Krasner, of course, as he has for the past 19 months, as well as his official spokesperson, Jane "Mute" Roh, both stonewalled a request from Big Trial to explain the D.A.'s repeated failure to prosecute Byseem Smith. 

Another former assistant district attorney who served more recently in the Philly D.A.'s office said that going by what he's heard from Krasner's own employees, it's "a free-for-all" over there.

Krasner's young prosecutors, the former ADA said, typically are "already in a public defender mindset" since Krasner often hires former public defenders to be prosecutors. And then, after the rookies get hired, they "get no training."

Or any help from their bosses.

The supervisors in charge over at the D.A.'s office "have no idea what they are doing," the former ADA said. The next layer of administrators in Krasner's D.A.'s office include several high-paid top supervisors who have amorphous roles.

"On top of this, Krasner wants to be in charge of almost every decision made in the office and does not delegate," the former ADA said.

The final hurdle: "The defense bar in Philly is as good as it gets," the former ADA said. So Krasner's inexperienced and poorly trained former public defenders and social justice warriors are "completely overmatched at every step of the process."

For example, the two assistant district attorneys who lead Krasner's homicide unit have tried a total of 18 homicide cases between them. Besides being inexperienced, they're incompetent, having a history of  committing courtroom blunders that resulted in dangerous criminals going free. 

Veteran criminal defense lawyer Chuck Peruto Jr., who's seeking the Republican nomination for D.A., has described the caliber of Krasner's prosecutors as "a joke."

"I haven't lost a jury trial since Larry Krasner took office," Peruto declared. "You don't even get the thrill of victory that you used to get if you win, because if you don't win, you stink."

So what do we have with Larry Krasner as our "reform" D.A.? A completely dysfunctional D.A.'s office that fails to protect the public, as one criminal after another slips through the system, and back on to the streets. 

We've also wound up with all-time records for shootings and murders. Since Larry Krasner took office as D.A., the murder rate in this town has gone up 58%. Is that a coincidence, or is it the result of Krasner's progressive approach to law enforcement?

lt's a simple question with a simple answer, but Krasner continues to deny the obvious. 

Last year, the city had 499 murders, the highest total in 30 years. And this year, with 112 murders so far over the first 83 days, the city is on a pace for an all-time record of 643 murders.

As the dead bodies pile up, time after time, District Attorney Larry Krasner continues to pretend that his permissive policies have nothing to do with the escalation of gun crimes. And, thanks to the cooperation of the local progressive media and the politically-correct Philadelphia Bar Association, nobody's holding Krasner accountable for the bloodshed.

At a virtual candidates' forum Monday night sponsored by the Bar Association, Krasner got away with blaming the coronavirus for the city's record gun violence. During a two-hour forum, Krasner repeatedly refused to take any responsibility for the carnage he's caused.

Thanks to a strict straight jacket of a format that called for 60 and 90 second responses to a moderator's P.C. questions, and no back and forth between the candidates, Krasner was shielded from having to answer for the incompetence and corruption in his office. 

But let's take a look at the scoreboard. 

We're talking about a D.A.'s office where in the past three months, two crusading ADAs were formally admonished for a lack of candor in dealing with judges; one of those ADAs has since resigned.

Last month, Krasner's gun violence coordinator just dodged a murder indictment after he shot and killed a male prostitute whom he arranged a rendezvous with for $500 during office hours. [The state attorney general's office concluded that DeVonte' Douglass acted in self-defense, but they arrested him for soliciting a prostitute, and misleading investigators about the facts of the case.]

Another ADA who's a top Krasner aide was arrested after she left her four-year-old daughter unattended in a locked car. [In December, the state's attorney general's office dropped a child endangerment charge against ADA Dana Bazelon after she enrolled in a diversionary program, took a parenting class, and then somehow managed to avoid getting arrested again for six months.]

A senior advisor to Krasner is a former lawyer who was disbarred for forging a judge's signature on a divorce decree, and when questioned about it, he lied to the judge. 

Other Krasner ADAs have distinguished themselves by posting messages on social media such as "FUCK THE COPS," and how much they hate white people.

Krasner did import a "reform" prosecutor from Boston who was a TED talk superstar commanding up to $20,000 for a single speaking engagement, to train his impressionable young prosecutors for nine weeks in 2018. But after he left town, Adam Foss was subsequently accused by several women in Boston of being a serial predator and rapist who's knowingly spreading STDs.

In Boston, the police, a private law firm, and the Suffolk County D.A.'s office have launched a criminal investigation targeting Foss. But back in Philadelphia, Krasner, who pledged to make the criminal justice system "more accessible and transparent" to the public than ever before, so he could be held accountable, refused to divulge how much Foss got paid, or whether Foss had victimized any of Krasner's impressionable young prosecutors. 

And, in the most notorious murder case of Krasner's reign, the D.A. himself personally engaged in possible obstruction of justice. How'd he do that? By huddling for three hours behind closed doors with accused killer Michael White and his four lawyers, so Krasner could conspire to tank the case. 

Besides the D.A.'s disastrous policies and the unethical and sometimes criminal conduct of the D.A. and his staff, Krasner is also blatantly breaking campaign finance law. The city's Board of Ethics is closely monitoring Krasner's reelection campaign because of a cozy relationship Krasner has with a West Coast political action committee that's become Krasner's biggest campaign donor.

The Board of Ethics has previously nailed both Krasner and the Real Justice PAC of San Francisco for a total of $23,000 in fines and disgorgements for breaking campaign finance laws when Krasner was first elected in 2017. But this time around, Krasner and his favorite PAC are being even more blatant about breaking the law. 

Last year, campaign finance records reveal, the Real Justice PAC poured more than $100,000 into Krasner's reelection campaign in the form of cash, in-kind contributions, and even rent money.

The only problem: the city's limit on annual contributions from a PAC is $12,600.

But instead of talking about any of those issues, moderator Riley Ross allowed Krasner to thrash straw men such as Frank Rizzo, who's been dead for 30 years, and Donald Trump, who, the last time I checked, is not on the ballot for Philly D.A.

Anybody from out of town who watched the candidates' forum would have thought that Carlos Vega, Krasner's challenger in the Democratic primary, was the incumbent D.A. and Krasner was the challenger.

On moderator Ross's watch, Krasner was allowed to lob one grenade after another at Vega, attacking him as a "fake Democrat," and the tool of the Rizzo-loving FOP, even though Rizzo's been dead for 30 years. 

Moderator Ross also watched silently as Krasner, increasingly emboldened by the format, was allowed to attack Vega on three different occasions for Vega's last-minute role as a pinch-hitting prosecutor in a 1993 murder case, a conviction that Kranser's office subsequently overturned. 

Instead of talking about the only issue in town, Krasner's disastrous record as D.A., the candidates forum sponsored by the Bar Association was preoccupied with politically correct issues such as systemic racism, poverty, and how to further reform the criminal justice system. 

By dwelling on those lofty topics, the forum was a complete failure in terms of holding Krasner accountable for the incompetence and corruption in the D.A.'s office, and Krasner's permissive policies that are literally killing people. 

On top of that, by muzzling the participants, the Bar Association gave Krasner a platform to freely slander his opponents as fascist tools of Rizzo and Trump.

Apparently, Krasner isn't the only public figure in this town who's above being questioned. Lauren McKenna, chancellor of the Bar Association, did not respond to a request for comment; neither did any spokesperson for the Bar Association.

The only thing worse than the Bar Association's candidates forum was the press coverage of it. The Inquirer, which, as Big Trial has previously documented, is in the tank for Krasner, and is actively sanitizing his record so he can cruise to reelection, ignored the event.

Meanwhile, WHYY ran a story that led with Krasner's attacks on Vega as a "fake Democrat;" WHYY apparently was under the false impression that Vega was the incumbent D.A.

In Philadelphia, the problem of having a corrupt D.A. is compounded by all of his enablers.

 Note to the media and future debate sponsors -- as the people of color that you profess to care so much about are being gunned down every day in the streets, can we please pick up our game?


  1. Voter fraud still running rampant in PA. We are all doomed!

  2. Things can always get worse. Unfortunately, one of Krasner's pet releases may have to kill a celebrity, or some other notable public figure, before the citizens raise their voices loudly enough to bring a stop to this idiotic nonsense. Philadelphia's DA office is already a laughing stock, who knows where the real bottom will end up to be as the felonies continue ?

  3. Besides being a disbarred attorney, Holston appears to be a city employee who lives in New Jersey.

    1. U are correct. Holstein lives in NJ. Where is Jeff Cole when u need him?

  4. Krasner, like Kenney, are very, very, very rich.

    They live and travel with great, great, very great wealth, privelege, and power.

    They both serve the oligarchs, who use them as toadies, bolsterd by the billionaire owned and/or funded media.

    The idea is to turn the poor and working classes against each other by race and ethnicity, so none focus on the fact that the oligarchs are quickly consolidating all power and wealth.

    They own the planet.

    As these pseudo progressive leaders posture with easy, placating salves, like transgender support,the oligarchs are cleaning out the treasury, corrupting our organizations and institutions, bankrupting the nation.

    Notice the billionaire media rarely if it ever, then only briefly, discuss wealth disparity. Income disparity is chump change, when compared to titanic wealth 1% of the population control.

    The oligarchs say they'll pay more in income taxes, which they are very sleazy and easy to avoid, but not their mountains of wealth they hide off shore and in fake charities.

  5. Sounds about right for any given liberal in charge: They have no idea how to actually run the office they are in charge of, and instead generate thousands of excuses as to why they failed. Mr. Joe "COVID Slush Fund" Biden will make sure the cash keeps flowing even as taxpayers leave.


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