Larry Krasner for DA

I generally don’t get involved in electoral politics now. But I’m going to make one exception this year and tell you that I plan to vote for Larry Krasner for DA.

And the reason I’m making the exception is that I’m not just a little with him. I feel the same way about him that I did about Helen Gym two years ago and a really special candidate for city council at large in 2007.

He is the only candidate I see who can look at the DA’s office with fresh eyes and stop and think about how it can contribute to the well being of the city as opposed to tinkering around the edges of an on-going operation. He’s the only candidate who understands the rot in the PPD and who is willing to do the hard work (and absorb the punishment he will receive for doing it) in disentangling the DA’s office from that rot and thereby allowing the vast majority of good cops and prosecutors in this city to rise above it as well.

There are other good candidates. One or two or are very good. But even the best alternatives to Larry strike me as people who will be traditional prosecutors, albeit good ones. They will see their job as charging, trying, and convicting people.

That’s part of what a really good DA should do. And I’ve got every confidence that Larry will do it well. But it’s not all we should want from a prosecutor.

Larry Krasner may be the only person ever to run for DA in this city who will challenge the traditional approach. He will put justice first. And that is the true calling of someone who wants to be DA.

The other may seek reform, but not at the expense of disrupting relations with the police to seek the deep change we need. They may not railroad people the way the worst prosecutors do, but they will not give up the advantages that allow prosecutors to win unfairly and they will not be pro-active in ensuring that everyone gets a fair trial.

A few months ago, I printed out six or seven thick reports written by very good people about what’s wrong with the criminal justice system in Philadelphia. They go back about 50 years. They all say the same thing. And despite some efforts at reform under Ramsey and, for a time, Williams, I’ve got little confidence that much has changed or will change if anyone but Larry Krasner wins the election.

If Larry Krasner is elected DA, I’m pretty sure the next report on criminal justice in Philadelphia will be a tale of struggle and strife. Change won’t come easy.

But it will be a story that will end with justice triumphant.

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