Capitol Beat

Select committee investigating Larry Krasner releases final recommendations

The committee’s report includes calls to increase police funding and allow recall elections in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner Jared Piper/AP

The House Republican-led committee investigating Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s tenure during a wave of high crime in the city released its third report Tuesday in an attempt to pin the city’s gun violence and violent crime rates on the progressive prosecutor. 

Krasner, who was impeached by the state House along party lines earlier this month, has been under the ire of Harrisburg Republicans for what they call a “dereliction of duty” worthy of removal from office. 

The Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order, chaired by Chester County Republican Rep. John Lawrence, released its third and final report Tuesday afternoon as the state Senate returns to Harrisburg this week to begin the procedural process ahead of Krasner’s impeachment trial. 

It will be the commonwealth’s first of its kind in nearly 30 years – and isn’t expected to begin until January 2023. A two-thirds majority in the state Senate is needed in order to convict Krasner of the seven articles of impeachment presented by the House. 

“Unfortunately, DA Krasner has routinely demonstrated that he places his failed policies above public safety, all the while maintaining a fanciful position that his failure to prosecute criminal activity has not contributed to the statistically significant historic rise in violent crimes,” Lawrence said in a statement. “The Select Committee’s Third Report also contains a series of concrete recommendations to help restore law and order in the City of Philadelphia. However, no recommendation or proposal can replace effective prosecution of crime by a district attorney committed to the rule of law.”

Krasner and Democratic lawmakers have continually called the investigation and impeachment process politically motivated and an effort to overturn the will of Philadelphia voters, who reelected Krasner in a landslide victory last year. 

“This is an effort to impeach someone for political purposes who has done nothing corrupt and nothing illegal because they want to erase Philadelphia’s votes,” Krasner told reporters at the state Capitol last month. “They want to impeach our ideas. They want to erase Philadelphia’s votes.”

The final recommendations are broken down into categories focused on increasing the prosecution of violent crime, improving crime victims’ rights and ensuring the competence of prosecutors. 

However, no recommendation or proposal can replace effective prosecution of crime by a district attorney committed to the rule of law.
- State Rep. John Lawrence

Calls to audit Krasner’s office’s use of gun violence task force funds, increase police funding for technology to help investigate crime and amend the state Constitution to permit recall elections in Philadelphia are among the chief recommendations in the report. 

The full list of recommendations is below: 

Regarding prosecution, the report recommends: 

  • Auditing the district attorney’s office's use of Gun Violence Task Force funds
  • Studying the enforcement of the Uniform Firearms Act
  • Granting the Attorney General jurisdiction to prosecute certain violations of the Uniform Firearms Act
  • Urging the judiciary to limit the district attorney’s office’s authority to disapprove VUFA charges
  • Increasing the funding of technological advances to investigate and prosecute crime
  • Urging the City of Philadelphia to collaborate in the construction of the state’s crime lab
  • Funding hazard pay for police officers and 
  • Studying the police department’s hiring and retention challenges. 

Regarding improving crime victims’ rights, it recommends: 

  • Studying funds allocated to the district attorney’s office for the servicing or compensation of crime victims
  • Studying the process for Office of Victim Advocate registration to increase its reach
  • Amending the CVA and Commonwealth Attorney’s Act to improve victim notification

Regarding ensuring the competence of prosecutors, the report recommends: 

  • Urging the judiciary to adopt training mandates for new prosecutors, and 
  • Amending the state Constitution to permit local recall elections in Philadelphia