## RUMORS: Second round of DA firings coming

Rumors are circulating within the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office that more employee exits are on the way.

A source within the DA’s office has confirmed that since the firings a number of additional employees have decided to bail and have left with more remaining with their resumes out.

At the start of this month District Attorney Larry Krasner announced the firing of 31 prosecutors including culling much of the Homicide Unit.  The resulting rapid exit of employees left loads of criminal cases and trials in limbo and threw the Common Pleas court system in chaos.

## The Murder That Larry Krasner Won’t Talk About – Tavonia Love

Less than two days after defense attorney Larry Krasner accepted the nomination of his party to run for District Attorney of Philadelphia this coming Tuesday, he made a trip to Delaware County court.

At court, Krasner had asked for a continuance for his client, Anthony M. Eubanks.  Within a week, Anthony Eubanks would be dead.

# There’s really only one option

A couple of days ago both candidates for district attorney; Beth Grossman and Larry Krasner, got up on a dais at LaSalle University and debated each other and took debate questions from the audience. About 30 minutes in, it struck me how weak of a candidate Krasner really is. Responses to over half the questions thrown at both candidates had Krasner trying to evoke Donald Trump. Towards the end of the debate, every Krasner answer had Trump thrown in somewhere.

This opens a window into Larry Krasner’s thinking. The President of the United States has very little interest and not much to with a DA of a medium-sized city. But apparently Philadelphians are emphatically childish and stupid–because evoking Trump’s name in response to questions where it’s not relevant to the district attorney means Krasner has given up trying to be logical about his answers.

Apparently there must be someone out in that audience who thinks the Philadelphia District Attorney has the power to unilaterally impeach and remove Trump from office. No doubt that same person was taught by members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

## Some of Krasner’s pushers are intellectually dishonest

Just minutes after Krasner learned that he had won the Democratic nomination for DA, supporters at Krasner’s primary party started chanting “fuck the police”. Seeing the obvious optical blunder, campaign spox Ben Waxman rushed to shut the chanters up, but the damage was already done.

I’ve sparred with some Krasner supporters over what they want out of policing. The best are the people who argue for no police in Philadelphia whatsoever. A few of them were wringing their hands over the murderers of Gerard Grandzol even being arrested.

In their worldview, when a crime happens you’re supposed to vent about it on social media, not call the police, and then get over it. Apparently if you are a victim of rape I guess you’re supposed to just learn from your mistakes and move on.

Obviously these are the views of the most ridiculous Krasner people out there and they’re not representative of the whole. But they do represent why Krasner supporters would be bundling their faith to someone who has no experience prosecuting crime.

Or to use Krasner’s debating crutch: it shows how people decided to elect someone with no political experience as President of the United States.

## Being the Occupy Lawyer doesn’t cut it

Another thing that bothers me is this ad which used to be on the website of Krasner and Long, Larry Krasner’s law practice:

Krasner’s law practice put out ads touting their experience representing those accused of child molestation and rape. You can believe that all of Krasner’s clients were completely innocent if you want.

In a normal world, someone who has a huge amount of experience in criminal defense that gets tired of working in that field but wants to continue to have an impact in the justice system will instead run to be a judge, a job where you have far more control over the dispensation of justice and the power to weigh all the facts.

This would be a different race if Krasner had a background on both sides of the bar. But he doesn’t.

To be a prosecutor means you are taking a particular side in the justice system: the side of crime victims. This is a role that Krasner has never once tried to fill. Not even in a small capacity to just get experience at it. Being an ADA is not exactly a glamour job.

Beth Grossman has a mass of experience that is the polar opposite of Larry Krasner. She has worked in every unit of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. She’s represented crime victims from all walks of life across the city. She’s put in the hard hours and her knowledge of how the office works and the people there gives her an edge in implementing changes to the subunits there.

## Krasner’s solution to drug houses – you should move

Krasner backers complain loudly of Grossman’s tenure in the Civil Asset Forfeiture unit at the DA’s office, as if she herself had set the policies the DA ran under–as if she were the actual DA.  The City is presently under a binding court agreement over the practice and Grossman herself has said that if she becomes District Attorney, convictions will be a hard prerequisite for any forfeiture action to proceed and she’s committed to reforming the practice.

As far as the people who want CAF permanently ended:  I have yet to actually see or hear from any Krasner people what their solution is to drug houses without going after the deed to the drug house itself.  Yours truly has gotten rid of drug houses that owe taxes and I have worked with the DA’s office in the past to get drug houses put up and sold down the river.

Does it help out the community?  You bet your sweet ass it does.   The first week when you can actually get some sleep before 2AM and sit on your steps through midnight is a refreshing feeling and countless people I have personally helped with this problem have thanked me for it.

Criminal asset forfeiture, which is different than civil, isn’t usually an option because it requires the property owner of record to be directly involved in the narcotics trading.   Nearly all drug houses in Philadelphia are rental properties with an absentee landlord who does not give two shits about the next door neighbors and is never there to check up on what’s happening with the house.

Every time Krasner has been pressed on what to do about drug houses, he’s come up empty handed.

I shouldn’t be surprised. Krasner’s life experience in criminal law is to be sympathetic to the person selling the narcotics, not to the junkie who died from them and certainly not to any of the people on the periphery who are being damaged by it.  This is a burning question Larry Krasner has had all year to overcome and to answer with assurance that he’s fit to assume a role he is not familiar with.

Instead, all he can do is bark “but Donald Trump!”

Well, that’s not good enough.

# Welp, at least we didn’t elect Tariq

In an unsurprising announcement from the Philadelphia’s Ethics Board, a fine has been levied against Trustwave PAC, an entity which the ethics board defines as:

Trustwave PAC is a political committee based in Philadelphia. On April 16, 2017, Kristen Stoner filed a Political Committee Registration Statement for Trustwave PAC with the Department of State. The Statement listed Derrick Susswell as Treasurer and Ismail Shahid as Chair of the PAC. On May 6, 2017, Ms. Stoner filed an amended Political Committee Registration Statement for Trustwave PAC that made her the Chair in place of Mr. Shahid.

While the PAC is getting fined a measly $4,000 there’s a few more interesting items in this press release. Here’s a few grafs worth noticing: Among its expenditures, Trustwave PAC paid the consulting company Countywide Strategies for consulting services, including management of Trustwave’s ballot distribution in a part of Philadelphia. One of the principals/partners of Countywide Strategies is Steven Vaughn, who also held a leadership position in the El Shabazz campaign. The candidate for Controller and most of the judicial candidates paid to be on Trustwave PAC’s ballot. The El Shabazz campaign contributed$5,000 to Trustwave PAC, approximately 5% of the total amount contributed by the candidates on the ballot. Given Mr. El Shabazz’s prominence on the ballot, the amount the other candidates contributed, and the amount Trustwave PAC spent to print and distribute it, the amount the El Shabazz campaign contributed was not the usual and normal charge.

The total amount Trustwave PAC charged candidates to be on its ballot was approximately $80,000. Trustwave PAC used this money, as agreed with those candidates, to promote their election. Trustwave PAC raised an additional$81,500 from non-candidate PACs, which it also used to pay for and distribute its sample ballot.

Hmm. So several different Democrats including Tariq El-Shabazz including a slew of judges running for office paid this PAC to print those shitty little sample ballots they stuff in your doors right before the primary.

The Ethics Board appears to have a problem with these types of “bundlers”, which try to split printing costs among a bunch of similar low-ranking candidates.

# Anyone else tired of this election few will show up for?

Let’s soak up some quick stats about how District Attorney elections go in Philly.   Ready?

 Election Year Turnout 2013 Primary – Democrats 58,002 2013 Primary – Republicans 6,419 2013 Primary Turnout 64,421 2009 Primary – Democrats 104,600 2009 Primary – Republicans 8,497 2009 Primary Turnout 113,097

2009 was the year Rufus Seth Williams was first up for election and there was some competition to snag the job, so that primary attracted more voters.  He faced some heavy Democratic competition from Daniel McCaffery–now a judge on the Common Pleas court thanks to the Coffee Can of Justice working out in his favor.

In 2013 when it came time for Rufus to clock in his sleeper of a re-election hardly anyone showed up.

That story would have repeated itself again this year if it weren’t for Seth Williams realizing that the public would soon learn what he did to his mother in a Federal criminal indictment which could revisit the same ego-crushing embarrassment as what befell Chaka Fattah a year before when voters ejected the congressman from his Democratic primary under the cloud of an indictment.

# 11%

 Year Democrat Republican Libertarian Other Total 2009 835,098 135,486 2,503 89,886 1,062,973 2013 803,777 119,645 3,101 102,412 1,028,935 2017 800,043 117,849 3,101 113,012 1,034,005

There are 35,000 fewer Democrats than there was when Seth Williams took his job.  For today’s primary if turnout is lucky to reach the level seen in 2009 then only 11% of all the registered voters in Philly will be deciding who gets the top law enforcement job.

Roughly 7 out of 100 people will be deciding how the rest of us will be governed.*

# Wards Matter In Low Turnout

As you’re voting today there’s probably someone with a frowny face who doesn’t look like they’re all that excited to be there but who will insist on handing you a piece of paper. That piece of paper has a grid on it with a few names in blue and red and it’s called a sample ballot.

And as the voter participation rates continue to drop citywide, the louder the voice of Democratic City Committee loyalists becomes.  This is how DCC loyalists communicate to their voters–telling you how the ward leader who you might not even know wants you to vote.

Traditionally in the four election cycles we have, the cycle that comes after we elect the President is the election where these slips of paper carry the most weight in a Philly election primary.  This is how Philadelphia’s political machine keeps itself relevant and in control.

You’d be surprised how many neophytes know nothing of the candidates and enter a Philly voting machine and copy what’s on this sample ballot on to their choices.  I’ve watched voters with my own eyes copying the racing form right on to the machine.

Understandably this election is going to come down to how widespread the DA candidates got their names printed on red on those sample ballot papers.  There’s also been plenty of drama with sample ballots in years past with some committeepeople and ward leaders striking off names or layering stickers to override what they printed.

Most of this DA’s election has been a war over collecting ward leaders like Pokémon.  It’s the 66 ward leaders who arrange getting these ballot papers printed and it’s the committeepeople who man the polling stations handing these out.   This is how political machines keep tight control over who gets elected to the posts that influences your life the most.

# All The Candidates Are the Same, Except That Dude With the Red Beard

Remember that we got Seth Williams by bleak voter participation and lousy vetting.   That factor is still ever-present.   I had a look-see at PhillyMag‘s voter guide and there’s hardly any take-away out of all these look-alike candidates, all touting policies that mostly drift far to the left.

Since they’re mostly repeating the same lines the only way to tell them apart is by identity and background.

The candidates likely to win this Democratic primary are in red.

Larry Krasner is the prog darling who can do no wrong and has no faults, other than he’s never been a prosecutor his entire life or managed a large legal office; the Philly DAO is one of the country’s larger legal shops.  Folks are hoping that if Krasner drives the bus then the District Attorney’s Office will drop more cases that the Police send them.  He already apparently is giving some current and former workers at the DA’s office heartburn as they expect the backbiting office politics that are there now to dramatically increase as he tries to implement whatever reform ideas he has in mind.

If you’re mad as hell at this pot party bust and wished the DA’s office pushed back on charges, well… Krasner is your guy.

Joe Khan has a fair amount of prosecutorial experience both at the DA and Federal.  He’s snagged much of the Riverwards ward leaders where vote presence is “meh” at best but he’s got commitments from committee people in the Northeast.  Out of all the peeps I know who are both in and out of the DA’s office, this is who they’re leaning for.

Team Khan also did an internal poll showing that he’s neck and neck with Krasner as far as popular support goes, so there’s that.

Michael Untermeyer has bought a lot of ward support and collected ward leaders in his basket in enough far-flung areas and backed that up with advertising on basic.  He’s sunk quite a fortune into this short primary.  Position-wise he’s still to the left.   He’s run for this office before (as a Republican).

Jack O’Neil is obviously Johnny Doc’s bitch; plus he (and Doc) are banking on that apostrophe in his surname is sure to get some button-pressin’ by a few of the cloverleafed set in the Northeast, which is also the only place he’s managed to snag ward leader endorsement.

I can’t think of many Northeast Democrats who’ve won citywide races in the last decade.  Can you?

Also: If you’re not a fan of Johnny Doc’s Soda Tax, then don’t vote for his people.  Just say NO to Johnny Doc.  Tell this kid to beat it.

Tariq El Shabazz actually looks more centrist than the other candidates if you’re shopping for someone who’s slightly to the right of anarcho-communism.  But there’s his enormous IRS tax liens he refuses to talk about, his campaign has no cash and the ward leaders who have committed themselves to him command no vote presence.  And there’s that whole thing with him being Seth Williams’ best pal all these years.  Seth’s downfall is why we’re having this contested election in the first place so for a lotta people having someone in the Seth Circuit up as a candidate is just a complete non-starter.

At least he tried.

Richard Negrin got ward leader support in all the wrong areas of Philly–mostly the wards where turnout is simply abysmal.  Plus the FOP endorsed him which is the Kiss ‘O Death to progressive voters.  The thought here is that some law-enforcement folks see the writing on the wall and recognize that allegiances are split, e.g. the Northeast is where a lot of law enforcement lives and you got O’Neill poaching voters there and Khan doesn’t have the stink of either the DCC machine or Johnny Doc on him and is a viable alternative.

Theresa Carr Deni – Not a single ward committed to backing her.   We’ll get to see whether she comes in last or not.

Whoever wins this Democratic primary has to face Republican candidate Beth Grossman in the general election this November.

# 8:30pm

Be sure to turn to Philly Hot Election Results after 8:30 when the first cartridges from the machines come in.

*1.562 million people live in Philly according to the latest Census projection.

# This appeared in the Philadelphia Citizen

### (original article)…

We are a group of former Philadelphia Assistant District Attorneys who hope to inform Philadelphians about the District Attorney’s Office. We can no longer stand by in silence as a candidate who is dangerous to the city gains a foothold thanks to money from a European billionaire. Larry Krasner is not the progressive reform that Philadelphia wants and needs, rather he is a radical candidate with no experience prosecuting crime who is gaining traction by spreading alternative facts about the very office he hopes to lead. We are writing this to shed light on what it means to be an Assistant District Attorney and, in doing so, to reveal the misinformation at the heart of the Krasner campaign.

The District Attorney’s Office is NOT, as Mr. Krasner’s website says, “driven by a win-at-any-cost culture that prioritizes high conviction rates and harsh sentencing over more effective approaches that are proven to reduce crime.” ADAs don’t get paid per conviction or promoted because they received harsher sentences. Some of the cases we are most proud of involve dismissing charges when there was an issue with the evidence or figuring out an alternative sentence for an addict. The DA’s office has literally given awards to prosecutors for EXONERATING people. We have seen a Unit Chief tell an ADA who asked for an unfairly severe sentence in compliance with a mandatory minimum: “That’s not what we do here.”

Because it is not.

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office employs 300 prosecutors. They are public servants who represent every race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation and come from every background. Women make up over 2/3 of supervisory positions. While their law firm counterparts make more than three times as much money, these ADAs work tirelessly and thanklessly for justice. And when we say they fight for justice, we do not mean that they blindly charge and jail people, as Mr. Krasner would have you believe.

They relocate witnesses who are scared to go home to their block. They hold childrens’ hands while they prepare them to testify against their rapists (while Mr. Krasner calls them liars on the stand). They personally walk families through the harrowing process of a criminal trial—families whose babies have been punched to death, whose daughters have been stabbed to death by their boyfriends, and whose teenagers have been gunned down on the street.

Larry Krasner has stated that the culture of the DA’s Office is to “not divert cases.” The Philadelphia DA’s Office currently utilizes 23 diversion programs (an increase from 5 in 2010). These programs provide alternatives to jail time for low-level offenders—job training, expungements, drug treatment, etc. EVERY SINGLE CASE is reviewed by an experienced ADA with an eye towards sending an arrestee into one of these programs.

More than 34 percent of misdemeanor cases are diverted into these programs, and they are working. The DAO charges approximately 25 percent fewer cases than it did in 2010—over 80 percent fewer juveniles. This is all through the hard work of ADAs who understand these systems, ADAs who have built up the institutional knowledge to make these amazing things happen, ADAs who Mr. Krasner would oust upon arrival in the office to effectuate his “sweeping change.”

Throughout Mr. Krasner’s campaign, he has rarely uttered the word “victim”—the people that the District Attorney’s Office seeks to help. During the “Voices for Victims” forum, the first question was, “What have you done over the course of your life/career that should persuade voters that you are the best advocate on behalf of victims gun violence, sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse?” For Joe Khan, Jack O’Neill, and Rich Negrin, this answer was a softball; each of them has helped a countless number of victims over the course of their lengthy and well-regarded careers. Mr. Krasner could give only two examples—of civil lawsuits he had filed that had nothing to do with criminal justice. Meanwhile, we can think of countless times Mr. Krasner failed to show up for a scheduled trial or requested a continuance, making the court process exhausting and unbearable for victims.

Philadelphians can vote progressive without risking our safety.

While we have stood up for the ADAs, we can all agree that more changes, improvements, and advancements in the office are necessary. Philadelphians can vote progressive without risking our safety. Literally every candidate running (including the lone Republican) believes in legalizing recreational marijuana. Every democratic candidate believes in reforming the cash bail system, expanding prosecution for police corruption, and overturning juvenile life sentences. Mr. Krasner isn’t the only candidate who believes in ending the death penalty (but, he is the only one spouting false promises about where the money saved would go; the Philadelphia DA has no say over Harrisburg’s budget). There is a way to be progressive without turning a blind eye to the countless communities that rely on the experienced members of the District Attorney’s Office to provide justice and security. Larry Krasner offers no such thing.

Mr. Krasner’s methods of reform are dangerous. He has implied that he wants to replace all management positions and experienced ADAs. Many of the ADAs that Mr. Krasner doesn’t let go will quit, rather than work for someone who has branded everyone in the office a liar before even taking the reins. Some turnover is expected in any new regime, but to lose the institutional knowledge of these experienced ADAs will be a blow that the city will not recover from quickly. While it might be demoralizing to work for someone who is federally indicted, imagine working for someone who has openly demonized what you do everyday. Why work for someone that reviles a career you are passionate about? More importantly, why vote for someone like this to protect the crime victims of Philadelphia?

Sincerely,

Ursula Rouse
ADA East Division 2010 – 2013

Richard Sax
Assistant D.A. 1980-2017
Homicide Unit 1988-2017

Nick Liermann
ADA Homicide Division 2007 – 2015

Christopher Curci

Christine Prokopick
Assistant District Attorney 2008 – 2010

Conor Shields
ADA Central Division 2008 – 2015

Guy D’Andrea
ADA Homicide Division 2008 – 2017

Lorraine Donnelly
Homicide Unit

Megan Koneski
ADA South Division 2012 – 2016

Senta Rhodes
ADA South Division 2010 – 2015

Christina Terebelo
Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit 2007 – 2012

Sean Stevens