Statement Against the Impeachment of DA Larry Krasner

A decision by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to impeach Larry Krasner is wrong on so many levels that it’s hard to know where to begin. But perhaps it’s best to start with basic principles. Impeachment in US or Pennsylvania constitutional law was never thought of as a means to pursue policy goals. It is not meant to be a way for the majority of the legislature to replace officials who follow policies they do not favor. It was designed to enable the General Assembly to protect the separation of power against officials who overstep its bounds or to remove officials who are corrupt. The General Assembly’s disagreement with Larry Krasner is over his policies. There are ways to influence those policies short of impeachment. Legislators can revise state laws that give the DA discretion in certain areas. They can give, and have given, concurrent authority to other prosecutors in… Continue reading

If PA Republicans Were Serious About Crime in Philly They Would Actually Fight It

Originally published by the Pennsylvania Capital Star on October 24, 2022 Violent crime—especially murder—shocks us all. Not only does it directly harm the victims but it also undermines the sense of security we all want to have. And, it creates difficulties for our communities. A high crime rate in a community discourages both business investment and consumption, leading to economic distress and poverty. Yet instead of putting forward serious solutions that reflect what we know about how to reduce murder rates, Republicans are spreading fear for electoral purposes with their usual racist dog whistles, which point fingers at Philadelphia and blame District Attorney Larry Krasner. The hypocrisy of these attacks is demonstrated in a new paper we recently released. Look at the communities represented by the three leading Republican critics of District Attorney Krasner in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Rep. Tim O’Neal represents Washington County where murders increased by 800 percent… Continue reading

If PA Republicans Were Serious About Crime in Philly They Would Actually Fight It

Originally published by the Pennsylvania Capital Star on October 24, 2022 Violent crime—especially murder—shocks us all. Not only does it directly harm the victims but it also undermines the sense of security we all want to have. And, it creates difficulties for our communities. A high crime rate in a community discourages both business investment and consumption, leading to economic distress and poverty. Yet instead of putting forward serious solutions that reflect what we know about how to reduce murder rates, Republicans are spreading fear for electoral purposes with their usual racist dog whistles, which point fingers at Philadelphia and blame District Attorney Larry Krasner. The hypocrisy of these attacks is demonstrated in a new paper we recently released. Look at the communities represented by the three leading Republican critics of District Attorney Krasner in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Rep. Tim O’Neal represents Washington County where murders increased by 800 percent… Continue reading

The Truth About Murder In Pennsylvania

Violent crime, especially murder, shocks us all. It directly harms the victims of crime. It undermines the sense of security of all of us. And it creates difficulties for our communities. High crime rates in a community both discourage business investment and consumption, leading to economic distress and poverty. These are all reasons for our political leaders to talk about crime and how to control it often and honestly. Sadly, however, in this election season Republican politicians have talked incessantly but, in more than one respect, have failed to do so honestly. To begin with, they have blamed Democrats— including Philadelphia’s district attorney, Larry Krasner—for the recent rise in the murder rate in the United States. But the notion that the murder rate is increasing faster in Democratic cities or states or Philadelphia than in Republican-controlled jurisdictions is demonstrably false. Even worse, they consistently put forward proposals for reducing the… Continue reading

Statement in Response to the Arbery Case Verdicts

Statement by Marc Stier on behalf of the Keystone Research Center and the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. “The verdicts in the Ahmaud Arbery case show that the criminal justice system in America can respond appropriately to the most extreme examples of racial injustice. Our task as Americans is to ensure that it does so in all cases.” Continue reading

Mass Incarceration is on the Ballot in Philadlephia in May

Almost every time someone is arrested for murder in Philadelphia, he has a criminal record of some kind. In many cases it is for minor drug dealing or for possession of a gun. So, the tough on crime crowd that supports Carlos Vega for DA crowd blames the criminal justice system in general and the DA, Larry Krasner, in particular for the murder saying that if only the guy arrested for murder were in jail, the crime would not have been committed.  What people who advance this idea forget is how many people in this city are involved in minor drug dealing and are carrying illegal guns. Most of them will not murder anyone. We can’t just arrest the corner drug dealers with guns who are likely to commit murder in the future. We don’t know who they are. If we throw the book at every one corner drug dealer… Continue reading

Why Women Don’t Report Rape

Defending Cosby Many people have long loved Bill Cosby, for his abilities as an entertainer, his attractive persona or, in some cases, his penchant for blaming young black people for their difficulties. And many—although fewer each week—of these people have been so deeply troubled by the multiple accusations of sexual violence against Cosby that they have rushed to his defense. Their responses to the accusations have echoed two themes that are quite common when women accuse men of rape. First, many of the accusers have themselves been accused of lying, of making up stories about Cosby. The motives attributed to these women are varied—some have been said to be gold diggers who either hope for an out of court financial settlement of the kind Cosby gave to Andrea Constand or who hope to parlay their accusation into a magazine or book deal. (The statute of limitations for both criminal and… Continue reading

Beyond Cameras and Training — Here are 5 More Ways to Improve Police Oversight

First published in NewsWorks December 8, 2014 Even if I were not a political scientist who understood both the importance of what police officers do every day and the dangers they face in their job, I would have a very personal reason for appreciating their work. Years ago, police officers put their bodies on the line to protect my father, when he was a justice of the peace in upstate New York. So like most Americans, I’m not inclined to criticize police officers who use force to protect themselves and others. At the same time, the deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Eric Garner remind us that sometimes police officers use deadly force in questionable circumstances. And there is dramatic statistical evidence that institutional racism plays a role in who is killed by the police — black men die at disproportionate rates. But very rarely are police officers held… Continue reading

Progressives, Nutter, and Crime

One of the themes of my political work over the last few years, and of my campaign for a council at large seat, has been that we Philadelphians have consistently failed to look outside the city limits to learn about innovative public policies adopted in other cities in the US and around the world. Some recent posts by progressive on crime—including Ray Murphy’s harsh critique of Michael Nutter’s crime proposals—show that this is a problem of the left as much as the right. Continue reading

Progressives and Crime

Whenever crime becomes a major issue—as it has in Philadelphia right now—we progressives offer up a set of answers to the crime problem. Most of our answers focus on what we call the “root causes” of crime. We talk about the economic distress in neighborhoods that leaves too many people without decent jobs. We talk about the problems in families that leaves too many children without the supervision, and in some case, the love, they need to grow up right. We talk about the inadequate education that leaves too many of our young people without the skills they need to make it in the contemporary economy. We talk about the lack of after school programs, recreation programs, and mentoring programs to help the many young people who are at-risk for turning to crime. Everyone one of those ideas is right. Without economic growth that includes everyone, without decent schools that… Continue reading