District Attorney Krasner Statement on PA Supreme Court Opinion Upholding Prosecutorial Discretion
Jane Roh, 215–686–8711, Jane.Roh@phila.gov
PHILADELPHIA (March 25, 2021) — Following is District Attorney Larry Krasner’s statement on a unanimous Pennsylvania Supreme Court opinion vacating a 2018 Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas order removing the District Attorney’s Office (DAO) from a probation revocation case and appointing private criminal defense counsel to represent the Commonwealth as a “special prosecutor”:
“I am gratified to see the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recognize the independence of prosecutors and their decision-making, just as our office has always recognized the independence and decision-making authority of the judiciary. The justices rightly note in today’s opinion that in Pennsylvania, ‘there is no statute which grants the trial court the authority that it purported to exercise here’ in 2018,” District Attorney Krasner said. “It is curious that back when prosecutors were all about mass incarceration and winning convictions at all costs — including at the expense of the truth — few in the criminal legal system questioned their decision-making or discretion. But now that approximately 10 percent of Americans are served by progressive DAs, routine prosecutorial decisions are coming under attack. Fortunately, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in this decision has affirmed the discretionary authority of prosecutors. We have more affirmation that in Philadelphia and across the United States, voters get to choose who makes prosecutorial decisions on their behalf.”
The PA Supreme Court opinion on the Commonwealth’s appeal of the Court of Common Pleas order can be found here: http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Supreme/out/J-115-2020mo%20-%20104727445130819805.pdf?cb=1.
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is the largest prosecutor’s office in Pennsylvania, and one of the largest in the nation. It serves the more than 1.5 million residents of the City and County of Philadelphia, employing 600 lawyers, detectives, and support staff. The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for the prosecution of approximately 40,000 criminal cases annually.