State Sen. Jake Corman (R-Centre) is asking the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to begin impeachment proceedings against Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, alleging Krasner has refused “to perform the duties of his office to hold criminals accountable for the crimes that they commit.”
“His decision to allow more and more criminals to walk free through plea deals and dismissed charges has created an environment in which Philadelphians are no longer safe in their own homes and communities,” Corman wrote in his letter to House leadership.
Jason Thompson, Corman’s communications director, said impeachment in Pennsylvania runs very similar to the process at the federal level.
“The process would begin with the House Judiciary Committee. If they choose to move forward, they would conduct hearings, conduct an investigation, and then they would then move that to the full House [for consideration] if warranted.”
If the House of Representatives approves by a simple majority vote, the process moves to the Senate.
“The Senate would need a two-thirds vote in order to remove him upon impeachment,” Thompson said.
As many people discovered through the recent impeachments of President Trump, the burden of proof in an impeachment is far more of an individual judgement call than it is in criminal or civil law, so state senators would have tremendous leeway in how to interpret the evidence when trying to determine if Krasner should be removed.
A request for comment to Krasner’s office was not immediately returned.
Thompson said Philadelphia’s 562 homicides in 2021 — the highest number ever recorded in any single year for the city — was a major driver in the decision.
Others panned the decision.
“This is the standard Republican playbook: lose elections and then try to overturn them through less democratic measures. DA Krasner was duly elected by the people of Philadelphia and a State Senator from Centre County has no business trying to remove him,” said Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County.
“Philly voters last year approved Krasner’s bid a for [sic] second term in primary/general elections. Using legislature to undo elections must sell well to the base, as Corman runs for governor,” tweeted Philadelphia Inquirer political reporter Chris Brennan.
Although Krasner won re-election last year, political controversy exploded when, in early December, he downplayed rising crime in the city.
“We don’t have a crisis of lawlessness, we don’t have a crisis of crime, we don’t have a crisis of violence,” the district attorney said on Dec. 6. “It’s important that we don’t let this become mushy and bleed into the notion that there is some kind of big spike in crime. There isn’t. There is not a big spike in crime. … There is not a big spike in violent crime. Neither one of these things is true.”
Krasner walked back the remarks, but the controversy grew even larger after former Mayor Michael Nutter castigated Krasner with an op-ed in the Inquirer.
“Do you know what the DA’s nickname is up on State Road — you know Philly, that’s where all of our prison facilities are — his nickname is ‘Let ‘Em Loose Larry.’ That’s a disgrace,” Nutter said in the days following the publication of his op-ed.
Legislative Republicans threatened impeachment against Philadelphia’s City Commissioners last year over several administrative voting issues the office took in carrying out the 2020 election, but ultimately did not follow through.
The only successful impeachment in Pennsylvania since the 19th century was that of state Supreme Court Justice Rolf Larsen, who was impeached and removed from office in 1994 following his criminal conviction for illegally conspiring to obtain prescription drugs.
Todd Shepherd is Broad + Liberty’s chief investigative reporter. Send him tips at email@example.com, or use his encrypted email at firstname.lastname@example.org.