Court split over legality of indictment against Philadelphia prosecutor

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Split emerged on Thursday among a panel of Pennsylvania state judges over whether a Republican-led attempt to indict and remove Philadelphia’s progressive prosecutor meets legal standards or should be stopped.

It’s unclear if an impeachment trial will be held against Democratic District Attorney Larry Krasner, who was pleased some of the judges agreed with him, while at least one impeachment executive said an appeal is being considered.

In what has been described by other justices as both a main and a majority opinion, Commonwealth Court Justice Ellen Ceisler, a Democrat, said the allegations against Krasner are insufficient because they do not allege he “didn’t have a positive ministerial duty.” met or exercised a discretionary power”. Duty with an inappropriate or corrupt motive.”

She said Krasner argued that the impeachment articles did not allege conduct that satisfied the “requirement of the state constitution that he be charged and tried just in the event that he committed “any misconduct in office.” Do we agree?”

The impeachment articles fault Krasner’s decision not to prosecute some minor crimes, saying he obstructed the House investigation, criticized his policies and management, and accused him of misconduct in certain cases.

Another judge, Republican Patricia McCullough, said in a dissent that she would be fired Krasner’s legal challenge to the process, let it move forward.

She said Ceisler’s opinion “has rushed and unnecessarily plunged this court into a deluge of non-justiciable policy issues over which we have no power to decide at this time.”

And the third opinion of Democratic Judge Michael Wojcik said lawmakers had no reason to remove Krasner on the three counts accusing him of violating codes of conduct for attorneys. But the other four articles of impeachment, Wojcik wrote, “pose non-justiciable political issues that must ultimately be resolved by the General Assembly in accordance with its constitutional authority.”

He wrote that it was for state voters to decide whether “that stupidity was a wise use of legislative resources,” and for Philadelphia voters to evaluate Krasner’s performance as a prosecutor.

The fourth member of the panel, Republican Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer, was not listed as a member of any of the three opinions.

One of the House’s three impeachment executives, Rep. Craig Williams, R-Delaware, said Thursday he sees a way forward to remove Krasner and is leaning towards an appeal of the Commonwealth Court ruling. A spokesman for Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland, said the comments would be reviewed.

The Philadelphia Inquirer said Krasner commented on the court verdict at an independent news conference Thursday, saying he was encouraged “to see that the same things that we said from the beginning have come from what we have called an illegal trial.” , to be confirmed and verified.”

Krasner was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2021.

The comments were issued one day after Senate voted unanimously Krasner’s trial, which was due to begin on Wednesday, was postponed indefinitely. the House voted almost across party lines November 16 to send the case to the Senate for consideration, where removal requires a two-thirds majority.

https://www.abc27.com/this-week-in-pennsylvania/pennsylvania-politics/court-splits-on-legality-of-move-to-impeach-philadelphia-da/ Court split over legality of indictment against Philadelphia prosecutor

Brian Ashcraft

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