Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Larry Krasner's Impeachment Defense: Four Big Lies & A Cover Up

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

A trio of lawyers representing Larry Krasner filed a petition in Commonwealth Court last week that seeks to prevent the state House of Representatives from impeaching the D.A.

There's simply no honest way to defend Krasner's horrendous record on prosecuting crime. So to get the D.A. out of a political jam, Krasner's legal team had to resort to telling four big lies. They also had to circle the wagons around an ongoing cover up of Krasner's blatant prosecutorial misconduct in a high profile murder case involving a cop. 

Here's the lies that Krasner's defense team is peddling:

Big Lie No. 1 -- Krasner is not really "soft on crime."

Big Lie No. 2 -- Here, Krasner's legal defense team kicked it up a notch with this whopper -- "Truth be told, the DAO under District Attorney Krasner has been very effective in prosecuting crime."

Big Lie No. 3 -- The D.A., well known for cooking up his own crime stats, supposedly has a conviction rate in homicide cases at trial of "just shy of 90%." Yeah, right.

Big Lie No. 4 -- The D.A. allegedly hands out tough sentences on gun crimes. Well, not really.

Sadly, Big Trial is the only media outlet in town that will use readily available stats from the D.A.'s own Public Data Dashboard, as well as court records, to debunk these blatant lies. 

We'll also explain the ongoing cover up in the D.A.'s office that involves Krasner's defense team trying to hide the complete files and corrupt grand jury proceedings in the case of former Police Officer Ryan Pownall, whom Krasner falsely indicted for murder.

It's a case where no less than a state Supreme Court Justice, Kevin Dougherty, has formally accused Krasner of abusing the grand jury process to indict Pownall, as well as hiding relevant case law from grand jurors so they wouldn't know there was a legal justification for Pownall's use of deadly force.

The purpose of Krasner's unconstitutional acts, the state Supreme justice said, was to get grand jurors to produce a "slanted" grand jury presentment that Krasner could feed to the media. So the media would tar and feather the defendant before he went to trial. 

The facts that we're going to lay out will not appear in The Philadelphia Inquirer, the city's alleged paper of record. 

Why?

Because the editors at that progressive publication have already gone on record regarding their take on the impeachment of their fellow progressive, Larry Krasner. A politician that the Inquirer continues to  support, while turning a blind eye to two years of historic bloodshed that's ongoing in this town involving record numbers of shootings, murders and carjackings. 

For example, over the past Labor Day weekend, the city racked up 33 shootings and 10 murders. That boosts our body count to 373 murders so far this year, a 3% increase over last year's all-time record pace that resulted in 562 murders. 

But back on June 24th, ignoring the bloodshed, the Inquirer editorial board denounced the state House of Representatives' proposal to impeach Krasner as a political "sideshow" and a "ruse" that was "going nowhere." 

Any attempt to impeach Krasner, the Inquirer's editors opined, was a waste of time and taxpayers' money, and an attempt to disenfranchise the voters of Philadelphia who twice elected Krasner as D.A.

Krasner, however, appears to be taking the alleged impeachment sideshow more seriously than his allies at the Inquirer, after he got hit with a barrage of subpoenas from the state House of Representatives.

So on Saturday, the Inquirer assigned the lame and cowardly Harold Brubaker to write an obligatory news story about Krasner's filing in Commonwealth Court that seeks to prevent the state House of Representatives from impeaching the D.A. In his shallow story, Brubaker didn't bother to challenge the veracity of the specious arguments in the 40 pages of nonsense filed by Krasner's lawyers. 

Nor did Brubaker mention that the D.A.'s cover up in the Pownall case was the subject of a recent blistering opinion written by state Supreme Court justice Dougherty.

The only useful thing the Inquirer did in publishing the story under Brubaker's byline was to embed the full text of Krasner's 83-page filing. So that curious readers could dig through those pages and discover for themselves the lies and ongoing cover up promulgated by the D.A.'s office.

All right, the court of public opinion is now in session. And Larry Krasner and his phony petition are now on trial. 

Let's start with the big lies.

Big Lie No. 1 & 2

Big Lie No. 1 -- Krasner is not "soft on crime."

Big Lie No. 2 -- "Truth be told, the DAO under District Attorney Krasner has been very effective in prosecuting crime."

We can deal with these two lies simultaneously. 

The truth is that Krasner is soft on crime, and the figures from his own Public Data Dashboard clearly show it. Those same figures also adamantly disprove the laughable claim that Krasner has been "very effective in prosecuting crime." 

Shortly after he took office, Krasner announced that he would no longer prosecute crimes such as prostitution, drug possession, and retail theft under $500.

On top of that, Krasner fired 31 of his most senior prosecutors and replaced them with novices fresh out of law school or fellow progressives recruited from the ranks of public defenders. 

Then, Krasner staffed his charging unit -- the assistant D.A.'s who decide which cases to prosecute -- with mostly neophytes who apparently were instructed to very strict on accepting cases.

For example, last year the D.A.'s charging unit declined to issue an arrest warrant for a career criminal who was captured on video shooting his former girlfriend three times, once in the chest and twice in the stomach. 

In addition to the incriminating video evidence,  the woman had identified her former boyfriend as the shooter to a total of seven witnesses, including a 911 operator, cops at the scene and a medic who drove her to the hospital. 

But that wasn't enough evidence for the D.A.'s charging unit to issue an arrest warrant. Until Big Trial publicized the case, and the D.A.'s charging unit promptly reversed itself, without the benefit of any additional evidence. They were simply publicly embarrassed into doing the right thing.

Earlier this year, another legal genius in Krasner's charging unit couldn't decide whether a guy who physically assaulted and bit two police officers, drawing blood, should be prosecuted. Why? Because, the ADA wrote, the suspect, who was incoherent and high on drugs, may not have been mentally capable of harboring criminal intent.

With Krasner declaring some crimes legal, plus the incompetent prosecutors in his office, and his incompetent charging unit, you can understand why the D.A.'s office under Krasner isn't doing the volume on prosecuting crime that our previous D.A. was doing. 

Here's what the stats taken from the DAO's own Public Data Dashboard show about prosecuting crime in the D.A.'s office:

In 2014, under former D.A. Seth Williams, the D.A.'s office charged a total of 43,228 criminal cases. 

But by 2021 under D.A. Larry Krasner, the total of all cases charged by the D.A.'s office had fallen by 47%, all the way down to 22,867 cases.

So the reform prosecutors in Krasner's office were literally doing nearly half the workload that the D.A.'s office used to do under former D.A. Seth Williams.

But did that drastic reduction in caseloads result in Krasner's progressive A.D.A.'s being more effective at prosecuting crime?

No. When it came to prosecuting crime, Krasner's progressive prosecutors turned out to be way less effective than their predecessors. 

In 2014 under former D.A. Seth Williams, the conviction rate in the D.A.'s office for all crimes was 50.7%.

By 2021 under Larry Krasner, the conviction rate in the D.A.'s office for all crimes had fallen all the way down to 22.6%

Now, let's take a look at the prosecution of violent offenses, defined as: homicides, attempted murder, non-fatal shootings, rape, robbery with a deadly weapon, robbery, aggravated assault, simple assault, assault, sexual assaults, arson, carjacking and other violent crimes.

The majority of these crimes are committed by a relatively small percentage of repeat violent offenders that Krasner has publicly pledged to concentrate his office's efforts on bringing to justice.

In 2014, the D.A.'s office under Seth Williams prosecuted a total of 10,190 violent offenses.

But by 2021, the D.A.'s office under Larry Krasner had prosecuted a total of 6,491 violent offenses, a 36% decrease.

Did that reduced caseload, however, result in Krasner's progressive prosecutors being more effective at prosecuting violent crime?

Once again, the answer is no. Once again, it turned out that Krasner's progressive prosecutors were less effective at prosecuting violent crime.

In 2014 under former D.A. Seth Williams, the conviction rate for prosecuting violent crime was 41.0%.

By 2021 under Progressive Larry Krasner, the conviction rate for prosecuting violent crimes had fallen to just 24.1%.

The numbers on the Data Dashboard also show how rare an event it is for a Krasner prosecutor to win a guilty verdict at trial.

According to the D.A.'s own stats, the percentage of guilty verdicts won at trial have gone from 17% of all criminal cases in 2014 under former D.A. Seth Williams, all the way down to just 2% of all criminal cases, or  prosecuted last year under D.A. Krasner. 

In terms of raw numbers, that means guilty verdicts won at trial have dropped from approximately 7,618 guilty verdicts in 2014 under former D.A. Williams all the way down to approximately 426 guilty verdicts last year under D.A. Krasner.

Meanwhile, the percentage of criminal cases withdrawn by the D.A.'s office or dismissed by judges has gone from 28% in 2014 under former D.A. Williams all the way up to 67% last year under D.A. Krasner.

That's more than two-thirds of all the criminal cases filed by the D.A.'s office last year under Larry Krasner that were either withdrawn or dismissed!

How's that for being "very effective in prosecuting crime."

Big Lie No.  3 -- The D.A. supposed conviction rate in homicide cases "just shy of 90%.

According to Krasner's lawyers, "Truth be told, the DAO under District Attorney Krasner has been very effective in prosecuting crime."

"For example, the DAO’s conviction rate in homicide cases at the trial level since January 2021 is just shy of 90%, which compares favorably to that of his predecessors."

This is another example of a phony stat cooked up by Krasner to obscure his real record. In restricting the conviction rate to "homicide cases at the trial level since January 2021," Krasner chose to ignore a total of 48 homicide cases in 2021 and 2022 that were either voluntarily withdrawn by the D.A.'s office or dismissed by a judge for lack of evidence, typically at a preliminary hearing.

Why did the D.A. not want to include those 48 homicide cases that had been either withdrawn by the D.A.'s office or dismissed by judges? To lower the number of homicide cases in his sample, so he could inflate his won-lost record at homicide trials.

The other elephant in the room is that Krasner has very few prosecutors in his depleted office who are capable and experienced enough to prosecute a homicide. For proof, there's Anthony Voci, Krasner's former head of homicide, who was demoted after he was involved in a road rage incident involving a young female motorist.

The cops, with Voci in tow, had the woman arrested and her car impounded. 

The charges were subsequently dropped and the female motorist sued for damages. The road rage incident was the subject of an internal police investigation involving Voci and former Deputy Police Commissioner Ben Naish, who recently resigned. 

While Naish is gone, Voci is back prosecuting homicide cases in the D.A.'s office because Krasner has so few homicide prosecutors who know what they're doing. 

Another factor in evaluating Krasner's record at prosecuting homicide cases is that because he has so few prosecutors capable of prosecuting a homicide case, Krasner's usual strategy in a homicide case is to pitch plea bargain offers to defendants that are so lenient, they're too good to turn down.

But regarding that 90% conviction rate at homicide trials, that's a stat invented by Krasner. 

To get the real numbers, let's return to the D.A.'s own Public Data dashboard, and factor the withdrawn or dismissed homicide cases into the conviction rates.

In 2014, under former D.A. Seth Williams, the D.A.'s office had a conviction rate on homicide cases at trial of 87.2%.

Since Jan. 1, 2021, the D.A.'s office under Krasner has a conviction rate on homicide cases at trial of 72.6%. That's simply not "just shy of 90%," as Krasner's lawyers had claimed. 

Krasner's lawyers -- John S. Summers, Cary L. Rice and Andrew M. Erdle of the firm of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller -- did not respond to a request for comment on why they had to resort to lies and phony stats to defend Krasner from impeachment.

Big Lie No. 4 -- Krasner is tough on sentencing in gun cases

Here's what Krasner's lawyers had to say about this topic:

"And the average prison sentence in illegal gun possession cases in Philadelphia is actually higher than that of other counties in the Commonwealth, according to a recent report by the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing."

Here, Krasner's lawyers are relying on an apples-to-oranges study that surveys the prison sentences handed out for gun crimes in Philadelphia with every other city, town and village in the state. All of which have much lower rates of crimes involving guns, as well as less serious gun crimes. 

For instance, Krasner's lawyers are happy to use a study that contrasts the prison sentences handed out in Philadelphia, with its population of 1.58 million and a record 562 murders last year, with the city of Harrisburg, population 49,247, where they had 14 murders last year, and the city of Lancaster, population 59,321, where they had 4 murders last year. 

Here's something Larry Krasner and his lawyers will never tell you -- in prosecuting gun crimes, it's the policy of the D.A.'s office under Krasner to routinely give out sentences that are well below state sentencing guidelines. 

According to those state guidelines, the maximum sentence on a VUFA charge [Violation of the Uniform Firearms Act] that's a first-degree misdemeanor, such as carrying a firearm in public, is up to five years in jail. 

For a third-degree felony such as carrying a firearm without a license, it's up to seven years in jail.

And for a first-degree felony, which usually involves using a gun in the commission of a shooting, kidnaping, attempted murder, rape, robbery or carjacking, the maximum penalty is up to 20 years in jail. 

But that's not the kind of sentences that D.A. Krasner negotiates, and that judges are imposing.

Krasner's typical sentence for anyone caught illegally carrying a gun is a county sentence of 11 1/2 to 23 months in jail. 

According to court records, only 41 of 176 defendants who were arrested for illegally carrying guns in July and August of 2019 and subsequently convicted, or 23% got sentenced to a state prison for at least one year.

And only five of those 41 state sentences, or 12%, were sentences that fell within the state legislature's recommended sentencing guidelines. 

All of this shows that Krasner is not tough on sentences for gun crimes, he's lenient. And that's why so many armed and dangerous felons wind up back on the streets, so they can commit more crimes. 

So what does Larry Krasner do to cover up his real record?

He lies.

Last month, The New York Times attributed this statement to Krasner: "Only a small fraction of the people who are arrested for carrying guns without permits are the ones actually driving the violence, Mr. Krasner said."

But a recent Big Trial survey of gun arrests made in July and August of 2019 shows that out of 472 defendants charged with allegedly carrying illegal guns, a total of 193, or 40.9%, were rearrested for allegedly committing a total of 304 alleged new crimes that included 14 murders, 20 nonfatal shootings, 9 robberies/carjackings, 4 rapes, plus 90 new cases of allegedly carrying illegal guns.

Once again, the real stats show that Krasner is lying about his record. Because his real record can't be defended.

The Cover Up In the Pownall Case

Here's what Krasner's lawyers said about the Pownall case.

The Select Committee has targeted District Attorney Krasner because of his office’s ongoing prosecution of a former Philadelphia police officer who shot a Black man twice in the back. Specifically, the Subpoena seeks the DAO’s "complete case file" and the investigating grand jury records related to the investigation and prosecution of former officer Ryan Pownall. 

Former officer Pownall is charged with third degree murder in connection with the shooting death of David Jones. A trial is scheduled for this fall. This effort to investigate the - DAO’s handling of a pending (high profile) murder case, especially so close to trial, is improper. It also shows that the Select Committee’s real grievance is not that District Attorney Krasner is “soft on crime” but that he is not “soft on crime” when it comes to prosecuting police officers who commit violent crimes. 

To make matters worse, in his zeal to investigate District Attorney Krasner in connection with his office’s handling of the Pownall case, the Chair of the so-called “Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order” has served a subpoena that calls on the DAO to break the law by producing secret investigating grand jury records that are protected, by law, from disclosure. As the Select Committee and most members of the public know, investigating grand jury records are required to be kept secret, and disclosure of such records can be a crime.
 
State Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty had a decidedly different view of the D.A.'s grand jury investigation and the D.A.'s prosecution of the Pownall case. According to what Dougherty wrote in his concurring opinion, in the Pownall case, instead of being tough on crimes committed by cops, the D.A.'s office under Krasner was “driven by a win-at-all-cost office culture” that "treats police officers differently than other criminal defendants."

"This is the antithesis of what the law expects of a prosecutor," Dougherty wrote, adding that under the law, a prosecutor is supposed to be a "minister of justice."

In his concurring opinion, Justice Dougherty wrote that Krasner's office didn't inform the grand jury about the relevant case law involving justifiable use of force by a police officer. A state statute says that a police officer is "justified in using deadly force only when he believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to himself or such other person."

The law goes on to say that the officer must believe "such force is necessary to prevent the arrest from being defeated by resistance or escape," or if the suspect "has committed or attempted a forcible felony or is attempting to escape and possesses a deadly weapon."

What Really Happened In The Pownall Case

According to former Detective Derrick Jacobs, who investigated the Pownall shooting on behalf of the Philadelphia Police Department, that's exactly what happened in the Pownall case.

On June 8, 2017, Officer Pownall was transporting Terrence Freeman, a witness, and his two children to the Special Victims Unit. Along the way, Pownall saw David Jones weaving in and out of traffic while driving recklessly on his dirt bike, which is illegal to operate on the streets of Philadelphia.

Pownall got out of his squad car and confronted Jones. When the cop frisked Jones, he discovered a gun in Jones' waistband. During a fight that ensued, the officer drew his gun and told Jones not to grab his weapon. Pownall tried to shoot Jones during the struggle, but his gun jammed. Jones then fled on foot and the officer fired three times, killing Jones.

In the view of former Detective Jacobs, Pownall did nothing wrong.

"Jones was armed," Jacobs previously told Big Trial. And during the fight between the two men, Jacobs  said, "Pownall believed he was shooting Jones to protect himself and possibly Freeman and his children as well."

A Corrupt Grand Jury Process

Not only did Krasner fix the grand jury process by not informing the grand jurors of the relevant case law, but the D.A. may have also tampered with evidence. Which may explain why the legislators pursuing the impeachment of Krasner may want to see those files. 

According to knowledgable sources, surveillance video shows that after he shot Jones, Pownall was so convinced that Jones was armed that he is seen on the video turning Jones' body over as he frantically searches the ground for Jones's gun.

The grand jury transcript in the case does not describe how much of the surveillance video was shown to the jury. In the opinion of knowledgable sources, if the grand jurors saw the full video, they could not have possibly indicted Pownall for murder.

Tampering with the law in this case, and possibly tampering with the evidence as well, isn't the full extent of Krasner's unconstitutional actions regarding former Police Officer Pownall.

In September 2018, using a faulty grand jury presentment, Krasner indicted Pownall for first-degree murder, and he was held in prison without bail. Had a judge not reduced the charge to third-degree murder, and granted Pownall bail, the ex-cop would have been in prison for the past five years.

After he indicted Pownall, Krasner successfully petitioned the courts to deny Pownall a preliminary hearing, where he would have had a chance to hear the evidence against him, and confront his accusers.

And then, for the next five years, Krasner petitioned the courts unsuccessfully to have the state statue retroactively changed regarding permissible use of deadly force by a police officer, so that Pownall  at trial would have been denied a legal defense.

In his crusade to retroactively change the law, Krasner got all the way up to the state Supreme Court before it denied his appeal.

And for the past five years, Krasner's actions in the case have effectively denied Pownall his Sixth Amendment right to a "speedy and public trial by an impartial jury," as well as the right "to be confronted  with the witnesses against him."

Despite the damning findings of a state Supreme Court justice, Krasner's lawyers seek to continue the coverup of the rampant prosecutorial misconduct in the Pownall case. 

Meanwhile, Krasner's trusty PR unit, The Philadelphia Inquirer, published an editorial Wednesday morning on gun violence.

The editorial cited as the "more troubling" aspect of the crisis is that "there appears to be no major new effort to combat the sharp rise in gun violence."

In other words, even the Inquirer, the daily defender of Democrats, realizes that our local leaders are clueless.

The newspaper panned Mayor Kenney for having little to say publicly about gun violence since the July 4th shootings that wounded two police officers, when Kenney admitted that he would be "happy" when he was no longer mayor.

The Inquirer also panned Police Commissioner Outlaw for doing nothing more than issuing a "generic tweet" about the gun violence, as well as the police department's low clearance rate in solving murders.

And what about D.A. Krasner, you might ask, the single individual most responsible for the gun violence?

The Inquirer is so in the tank for Larry that their editorial gives the D.A. a complete pass by not even mentioning his name. 

17 comments

  1. Did the exact and thing to the next two officers as their court proceedings get closer. Left out state law 508. Left out other exculpatory evidence. And the judge is covering for krasner by denying the jury transcripts from being released. IF THERE IS NOTHING TO HIDE… WHY KEEP A SECRET? what could they have possibly told a jury that would justify first degree premeditation? It’s a complete and utter crime what he did to these 3 officers. Pownall. Ruch. Mendoza. None of those 3 scenarios were premeditated. It’s insane that no higher court has stepped in.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Who is representing the.D.A. in this charade? Is Rudovsky part of the team?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Reminds me of what the department did to Bryan Turner

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tell us that you’re Bryan Turner without telling us you're Bryan Turner. You’re a cancer, you should have been fired, because of who you are and what you represent or one cop would back you up nor did anyone want you backing them up, good day and good riddance to you Sir.

      Delete
    2. dude was caught red handed. No argument to be made.

      Delete
    3. I mean he was found not guilty but ok

      Delete
  4. “ Pownall tried to shoot Jones during the struggle, but his gun jammed. Jones then fled on foot and the officer “.
    Wasn’t it jones who tried to shoot Pownall?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, Pownall tried to shoot Jones but his gun jammed.

      Delete
  5. So why isn't the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court moving to disbar Krasner?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ramona.mariani@pacourts.us
      District I Office
      1601 Market Street

      Suite 3320

      Philadelphia, PA 19103

      Get Directions

      Phone: 215.560.6296

      Fax: 215.560.4528

      Disciplinary Counsel-in-Charge

      Ramona M. Mariani, Esquire

      Delete
  6. Commissioner Outlaw or her subordinates started the Non Fatal Shooting Investigation Group who works out of the new Police HQ. They have cleared about 12% of the shootings the investigate. Their goal is to get all they to 17% all this while every other crime is basically being ignore including car jackings, armed robberies and burglaries.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Don't forget the slanderous remarks krasner has spewed to the press regarding the pownall case. He said it was "target practice on someone's spine".

    And people wonder why the ppd now lets illegal atv and dirt bikes terrorize the city. It's because if the cops so much as dare to tell people to stop and something gets out of hand, krasner will charge them with assault or murder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Target practice on someone's spine" and I'm thinking that'd be great to do to Krasner. Then I realized, Krasner hasn't a spine. No spine, no testicles. Just a criminal POS coward who's going to be in big trouble when Karma comes knocking for his pathetic ass.

      Delete
  8. Krasner needs to be removed from office and subjected to a psychiatric evaluation as only a ruthless psychopath would range such vengeful retribution against police officers who want to protect the people from the actions of sociopaths determined to hurt innocent people

    ReplyDelete
  9. https://m.facebook.com/watch/?v=10155003026553855

    Why did Commisioner Ross say it was justified then? It sounds like Pownall had already been cleared.

    ReplyDelete
  10. He was cleared before Krasner became a DA. The State Supreme Court barred Krasner from changing existing state law to try him for first degree murder. And in response to their order denying him the privilege of changing state law to suit his needs to indict Pownall for first degree murder and a life in prison sentence, both barred by the State Supreme Court Court (Was Krasner going to make himself a complete fool by appealing this on to the United States Supreme Court which only accepts ONE percent of all cases sent their way?). Is this idiot of a clown serious?

    Prediction, Pownall's lawyers will quickly file a motion to dismiss this facial trial with a full house of Philadelphia police officers watching. Naturally, the lap dog of a judge will deny the motion filed by Pownall's lawyers and the mob of police officers will start screaming at the judge while ignoring Outlaw's orders to shut up as they tell her to shut the f@ck up.

    So, what will the weak wimp of a judge do as the temperature in the courtroom rises to 150 degrees?

    He can run out of the courtroom or he will grant the defense the motion to permanently bar Krasner from perpetually trying to indict him and Outlaw will escape to the airport to fly home to Oakland, CA.

    ReplyDelete

Thoughtful commentary welcome. Trolling, harassing, and defaming not welcome. Consistent with 47 U.S.C. 230, we have the right to delete without warning any comments we believe are obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.