Philadelphia’s criminal justice system has seen a significant shift in recent years, with the election of a new district attorney, Larry Krasner, in 2017. Krasner’s campaign and tenure have been marked by progressive reforms towards criminal justice. The former defense attorney has left his mark on the city and its justice system, but who is Larry Krasner, and how did he become Philadelphia’s top prosecutor? This blog post will dive into the life and career of Larry Krasner and examine his impact on the city’s criminal justice system.
Larry Krasner was born in 1961 and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. After graduating from Stanford Law School, he moved to Philadelphia in 1987 and became a public defender. Krasner spent over thirty years as a defense attorney, working tirelessly to defend the rights of the accused. Unlike many prosecutors, Krasner was known for his unconventional tactics, often challenging the police and judges to ensure his clients received a fair trial. His career as a criminal defense attorney earned him a reputation as one of the city’s most successful and prominent defense lawyers.
In 2017, Krasner announced his candidacy for the district attorney of Philadelphia. Krasner’s platform was based on his decades of experience as a criminal defense attorney, a unique perspective that he believed was much needed in the prosecutor’s office. His campaign promised to shift the prosecutor’s office towards progressive reform, with a specific focus on the decriminalization of drug offenses and bail reform. Krasner won the election by a landslide, signaling a significant shift in the city’s criminal justice system.
Since taking office, Krasner has followed through on many of his campaign promises. He has been an advocate for bail reform, championing alternatives to pretrial detention, which disproportionately affect people of color and low-income individuals. Krasner has made it a priority to address police misconduct and systemic racism within the criminal justice system by implementing new policies and procedures. Under his leadership, prosecutors in Philadelphia are now encouraged to seek alternatives to incarceration, such as diversion programs or community service.
One of Krasner’s most significant accomplishments has been his work towards reducing the number of convictions in the city. Since taking office, Krasner has issued a memo that instructs prosecutors to seek less severe charges in cases where convictions may not be warranted. This has resulted in a significant drop in convictions, freeing up resources to focus on more serious crimes. Krasner’s efforts have also been aimed at ending cash bail – a practice that disproportionately affects the poor. Under Krasner’s leadership, Philadelphia’s bail system has undergone a significant overhaul, making it fairer and more just.
Larry Krasner’s rise to power in Philadelphia’s criminal justice system has been nothing short of remarkable. As a public defender turned top prosecutor, Krasner has brought a unique perspective to the job. His efforts towards reform, particularly in bail and police misconduct, have been monumental in shifting Philadelphia’s criminal justice landscape. The impact of Larry Krasner’s tenure will undoubtedly be felt for years to come, further cementing his legacy as a champion for criminal justice reform.