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Philadelphia DA Challenges New Law Aimed at Curtailing Authority Over Transit Crimes

Photo from: Visit Philadelphia

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is taking legal action to block a recently enacted law that appoints a special prosecutor to handle crimes on the city’s transit system, arguing that it unconstitutionally dilutes his authority. This move is part of Krasner’s ongoing battle against what he sees as politically motivated efforts to undermine his position, with the new law seeking to create a prosecutor specifically for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).

Photo from: Visit Philadelphia

Legal Challenge Against Dilution of Authority

Progressive DA Larry Krasner, serving his second term, is challenging a bipartisan-supported law that would empower a special prosecutor to handle crimes on Philadelphia’s transit system. Krasner contends that the law, signed by Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro, is unconstitutional and part of a broader trend of political interference in his role.

The legal complaint argues that the appointment of a special prosecutor would strip 89% of the city’s land area from Krasner’s jurisdiction. The lawsuit seeks to have the law declared invalid, urging an injunction to prevent Attorney General Michelle Henry from implementing it. Krasner’s attorney, John Summers, criticizes the law as a “constitutional trainwreck” and emphasizes the need to prevent its enforcement.

Republicans, who supported the legislation, claim it aims to enhance public safety in Philadelphia, asserting that high-profile crimes, particularly gun-related offenses, have not been adequately prosecuted. Senate Republican Leader Joe Pittman urges Krasner to collaborate across party lines for the city’s safety. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Wayne Langerholc, dismisses Krasner’s objections, insisting the law does not encroach on the DA’s jurisdiction.

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Krasner’s Progressive Policies and Ongoing Challenges

Larry Krasner’s progressive approach to criminal justice, including diversion programs for low-level crimes and increased police accountability, has faced persistent opposition from conservative lawmakers. This legal challenge is the latest episode in Krasner’s contentious relationship with legislators, following his impeachment in 2022 and ongoing legal battles, positioning him as a symbol of the clash between progressive prosecutors and conservative forces.

The pushback against progressive prosecutors is not unique to Philadelphia, with instances like the recall of San Francisco’s Chesa Boudin and the resignation of St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner. Krasner’s legal actions reflect a broader trend where progressive policies in the realm of criminal justice face scrutiny and challenges from conservative lawmakers across various jurisdictions.

READ ALSO: Stolen Vehicle Driver Causes Crash, Leaving One Injured: Duluth Police

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