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March 16, 2018

New Philly DA puts forward new policies intended to "end mass incarceration and bring balance back to sentencing"

Web-larry-krasner-winner-1024-x-576This Slate article, headlined "Philadelphia’s New Top Prosecutor Is Rolling Out Wild, Unprecedented Criminal Justice Reforms," reports on the remarkable new policies put forward by the former defense attorney who is the newly elected Philly DA.  Here are highlights:

On Tuesday, Krasner issued a memo to his staff making official a wave of new policies he had announced his attorneys last month. The memo starts: “These policies are an effort to end mass incarceration and bring balance back to sentencing.”

The most significant and groundbreaking reform is how he has instructed assistant district attorneys to wield their most powerful tool: plea offers. Over 90 percent of criminal cases nationwide are decided in plea bargains, a system which has been broken beyond repair by mandatory minimum sentences and standardized prosecutorial excess. In an about-face from how these transactions typically work, Krasner’s 300 lawyers are to start many plea offers at the low end of sentencing guidelines. For most nonviolent and nonsexual crimes, or economic crimes below a $50,000 threshold, Krasner’s lawyers are now to offer defendants sentences below the bottom end of the state’s guidelines. So, for example, if a person with no prior convictions is accused of breaking into a store at night and emptying the cash register, he would normally face up to 14 months in jail. Under Krasner’s paradigm, he’ll be offered probation. If prosecutors want to use their discretion to deviate from these guidelines, say if a person has a particularly troubling rap sheet, Krasner must personally sign off.

“It’s the mirror of a lot of offices saying, ‘If you don’t ask for the max you’ve got to get my permission,’ ” says David Rudovsky, a prominent Philadelphia civil rights attorney. For longtime career prosecutors, this will take some getting used to. “You want to be sure your assistants are actually doing it,” Rudovsky says.

Krasner’s lawyers are also now to decline charges for marijuana possession, no matter the weight, effectively decriminalizing possession of the drug in the city for all nonfederal cases. Sex workers will not be charged with prostitution unless they have more than two priors, in which case they’ll be diverted to a specialized court. Retail theft under $500 is no longer a misdemeanor in the eyes of Philly prosecutors, but a summary offense—the lowest possible criminal charge. And when ADAs give probation charges they are to opt for the lower end of the possible spectrum. “Criminological studies show that most violations of probation occur within the first 12 months,” the memo reads, “Assuming that a defendant is violation free for 12 months, any remaining probation is simply excess baggage requiring unnecessary expenditure of funds for supervision.” When a person does break the rules of probation, minor infractions such as missing a PO meeting are not to be punished with jail time or probation revocation, and more serious infractions are to be disciplined with no more than two years in jail.

In a move that may have less impact on the lives of defendants, but is very on-brand for Kranser, prosecutors must now calculate the amount of money a sentence would cost before recommending it to a judge, and argue why the cost is justified. He estimates that it costs $115 a day, or $42,000 a year, to incarcerate one person. So, if a prosecutor seeks a three-year sentence, she must state, on the record, that it would cost taxpayers $126,000 and explain why she thinks this cost is justified. Krasner reminds his attorneys that the cost of one year of unnecessary incarceration “is in the range of the cost of one year’s salary for a beginning teacher, police officer, fire fighter, social worker, Assistant District Attorney, or addiction counselor.”

The policies memo is available at this link, and all sentencing fans will want to check out the entire document.

March 16, 2018 at 05:14 PM | Permalink


I am become a crime victim in Philly, you have my blood oath. I will having him investigated for sexual harassment. I will be offering a reward for any victim that comes forward, woman, man, dog. So help, I will hire Gloria Alred, pro hac vice.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 16, 2018 7:04:36 PM

This guy makes perfect sense, I like it. This what the Feds should do, calc the cost if eCh sentence the Ausa reccommends and present it the judge. When they put it in the lical paper, they must also i clude the cist, the Ausa and the judges name.

This would help to some degree. Takes guts to do epwhat he is doing, most just worry about getting re-elected, like our congress and senate staff does. Og well.

Posted by: MidWestGuy | Mar 16, 2018 9:53:48 PM

I predict record crime this year. I believe for the first time Philadelphia will exceed 400 murders. All because of this new leftist approach to crime and justice. Already within the last 2 years crime has gone up significantly and every Wawa has at least 2 panhandlers and con men. With any luck the impending misery will be a catalyst for future Republican leadership.

Posted by: Mike | Mar 17, 2018 6:54:36 AM

Mike. Philadelphia is very government dependent. They are on welfare or getting government subsidies. It will be a long time before all those Blacks, Jews, Hispanics, and welfare recipients will vote their real interest.

Crime will also be suppressed by the 1500 opioid overdose death. These prevent 30000 crimes year over year cumutively. So the deaths of last year's cohort prevent 30,000, that of 2 years ago, another 30,000. So on. Crime may disappear entirely. It will be ironic. That will result in unemployment among the Democrats dependent o the criminal. That is why Krasner is desperate to have more on the streets.

Stanford Law School radicalized lawyer, and paid agent of George Soros, will falsely take the credit for the drop in crime.

I would enjoy seeing the people of Philadelphia punished by more crime for their corrupt voting. The problem? More will steam into the next county where I live.

I once gave a wedding speech, proposing building a wall on City Line Avenue, and making Philadelphia pay for it, to keep out the dirty Yuppie Democrats ruining my town. I got booed by the dirty Yuppies. This used to be a paradise only a few miles from the Fallujah like condition in the city. No longer. It has become an over-regulated, Democrat hellscape.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 17, 2018 7:13:04 AM

Krasner is scum.

Posted by: federalist | Mar 17, 2018 7:17:23 PM

What makes him “scum” in your view, federalist? Is it just because he is a Democrat or because he is a former defense attorney or something else?

Posted by: Doug B. | Mar 18, 2018 6:48:33 AM

Prof. Berman. I hope my deleted post answered your question. If it did not, nothing will. The answer had nothing to do with partisan politics, nor even with disagreement over sentencing. It had to do with his character and association. Krasner was also endorsed by Black Lives Matter. He got $2 million from his sponsor to defeat a seasoned, female prosecutor.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 18, 2018 3:54:03 PM

Prof. Berman. This is addressed to all Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and atheists with a law license. How can you stay silent when the central doctrine of the common law has been plagiarized from the Medieval Catholic Church catechism? How can you stay silent when your client gets totally different sentencing based on this horse shit? You morons, you traitors to the constitution, and to our secular nation.

I urge all law student with similar beliefs listed above to pound their books on their desks when the cult indoctrinator tries to promote supernatural beliefs from the Catholic Church, such as mind reading, future forecasting, and standards of conduct based on those of a fictitious character. If the professor will not stop, beat his ass, put a tall dunce hat on him, and kick him out of class. He is your servant, you are not his. Kick the idiot to the street.

To the credit of the Medieval Church, they attributed these supernatural powers to God after a soul arrived to be judged by God. That is their faith, and it should be accepted. Only the lawyer profession believed men could use them to judge other men. These cause vastly different sentencing outcomes for the same act with the same damage to another.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 18, 2018 7:21:18 PM

"This is addressed to all Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and atheists with a law license. How can you stay silent when the central doctrine of the common law has been plagiarized from the Medieval Catholic Church catechism?"

"Cultural assimilation" or if one prefers "social conditioning" or if one prefers "brainwashing".

Take your pick, Behar.

Posted by: Selfie Man | Mar 18, 2018 8:59:21 PM

Selfie. Problem. The Establishment Clause.

I have read the Sharia. I liked 90% of it. It has a lot of softness. It has less procedure. It has a lot of rehabilitative ethos. It is effective, and saves many lives of crime victims. All Muslim nations, no matter how poor, have low crime rates. Why is enforcing the Catechism in state law any less offensive, any more acceptable than enforcing the superior Sharia?

If I proposed it replace the catechism as the basis of the common law, what would Berman say?

How is it he can indoctrinate modern, intelligent students into the false and delusional crap he does? He is the one that studied Medieval Philosophy in college, not me. He was taught the technical meaning of reason. He suppresses it. He is a cult member in total denial.

We can argue philosophy. He is in such denial, he cannot even mention the 15 million identity thefts as a sign of exploding crime numbers, never mind the billions of violations of criminal felony federal laws on social media.

He is obsessed with the insane Decarceration policy of the Democratic Party platform. He repeatedly posts false statistics, and wicked, dangerous, insane proposals to open the prison doors. We had a natural experiment in history. Castro streeted his prisoners to the USA in the Marielito Boat Lift in 1980. Only 20,000 of the refugees were criminals. They caused a massive crime wave everywhere they were placed. The federal government had to spend $millions on imprisoning them in federal facilities.

Now, the lawyer profession wants a million predators loosed. I do not call that madness. I call it, evil.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 18, 2018 9:49:37 PM

David, a few responses:

1. I asked for federalist's view on Krasner, not yours.

2. The Code of Hammurabi arguably articulated many criminal law doctrines you are eager to lament 2000 years before the Catholic Church existed. So your regular rants about criminal law being Church law are poorly conceived, in addition to being repetitive and intemperate.

3. My job is to teach students about current laws while encouraging them to think critically about their meaning and application. We discuss internet crimes like child porn offenses, but those crimes are not in the current FBI accounting of crimes rates. Same is true for lots and lots and lots of other crimes like DUIs and speeding and the massive amount of gambling and drug crimes that go unreported and/or unprosecuted. I am not in "denial" about any of this, and the "cult" you lament is the reality of modern US criminal law. We know from so many of your comments that you dislike this reality. But my student will practice in the real world, not a Behar-o world.

4. I deleted a few posts of yours which had more vitriol than I wanted to see and that triggered some comment backlash that your rants can sometimes engender. I may soon set a daily quota on posts for you and delete others in the hope it may get you to ration rants and pollute this space less, as you seem unable to understand how your repetitive comments and off-putting rhetoric spoils the atmosphere for others.

Posted by: Doug B. | Mar 18, 2018 11:22:14 PM

For reasonsI have discussed here---firing a prosecutor who just started a murder trial--thereby delaying justice for a family. Such studied indifference to the suffering of a family is appalling and should remove him from polite company.

Posted by: federalist | Mar 19, 2018 7:45:31 AM

We are not in your dining room. I am invitee to this blog, as I am to your privately owned sidewalk. You own it perhaps to the deed line in the middle of the street. However, you may not exclude me from the sidewalk, nor from the pavement, based on the protected classes nor based on viewpoint. That is the argument yet to be made against Facebook/Twitter/Microsoft/Google. Those are the largest sidewalks in the world with billions of invitees. They may not exclude anyone.

We are using the Notebook of Henry of Bratton, a monk. Worse than a monk, a French guy (Bratton = Brittany). In that day, getting to substance would be a humiliation for a lawyer. This is the origin of your ridiculous, fraudulent proceduralism, France. He worked for Edward I. He invented forcing Jews to wear yellow Stars of David. He killed all the Jews, and excluded them from England for 400 years. Worse, he killed a million Scot, Welsh, and Irish. Nice origin for a profession. Our laws are filled with Latin, not with Babylonian. How would like them filled with the stilted Arabic of the Koran? You have taken the argument to an extreme. The law against murder is in the 10 Commandments, so let's make murder legal. That is not the point. You are evading the super-natural nature of these doctrines, attributed to God, even by the Church. You are not allowed to have super-natural doctrines in a secular nation. They and your class are silly, ridiculous, a joke.

Thank you for making the point, by adding crimes I did not mention. You decarceration advocates need to address them. The FBI Index covers 8 crimes, 3 being violent. Your claim is based on police reports, which are political tools of Democratic administrations to increase crime, and the necessity for funding of big government, with crazy cost of treatment of dubious value. The structure of prison is the treatment for anti-social personality disorder. They can do very well there.

The gold standard of crime measurement, the household Crime Victimization Survey was "fixed" by the Obama administration, and now real rates of the 8 common law crimes should be called, unknown.

I use the word, cult. Find a better word for people who hold supernatural beliefs. They bully and indoctrinate modern, intelligent students. Dissenters are expelled and shunned if they question these fundamental beliefs. The hierarchy has crushed lawyers who were the smartest, richest, and most powerful for the slightest deviation from this fundamental orthodoxy. The Supreme Court has ruled, there is no recourse. These beliefs are to generate jobs and income. So you take our $trillion and deliver no value. Indeed, every year an average lawyer lives, he destroys $million in economic value. Your real purpose is actually a good one. The Rule of Law adds tremendous value and is well worth $trillion. People can focus on what they want to do, and not worry about survival all day. You have yet to deliver it.

The Behar-o world is called empiricism. Your remedies are physical, incarceration, and fines, where money is a measurement of labor. Your procedures have to be empirical, and not supernatural.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 19, 2018 11:07:26 AM

Behar, your spout incoherent drivel: utter cant and nonsense, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing.

Posted by: Hanna | Mar 19, 2018 2:56:09 PM

Hanna. You spout personal insults and silly ipse dixits.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 19, 2018 4:44:02 PM

David, your own complaints about the FBI Index highlights how empiricism is always infused with normativity. Should we "count" the crime of underage drinking on college campuses? Would you say our incoherent patchwork of criminal laws dealing with alcohol and other intoxicants have a "super-natural nature"? Arguably, alcohol and drug prohibitions draw from the Koran more than from the Bible.

Your rants remind me a bit of the 20-somethings who get enamored with Ayn Rand and objectivism and resist acknowledging that the world is a lot more complicated than a simplistic philosophy can address. Your mantra of empiricism and rants against the lawyers does not engage enough of reality to get one very far.

Posted by: Doug B | Mar 19, 2018 8:11:47 PM

I do not understand how drinking alcohol is super natural. Alcohol in the body can be measured. You may argue the validity of these measurements, and make $10,000 a case, twice a day.

In Muslim countries, and among Methodists in the US, there is no alcohol addiction, nor any health consequence of alcohol, killing 100,000 in the US. Prohibition resulted in only a 50% drop in consumption, and induced tremendous benefits to crime control, to the economy, and to the well being of the population. Death by cirrhosis happens to 10% of alcoholics, but is a reliable indicator of the addiction rate. It dropped during Prohibition. The legislature may take these facts and decide what it values. That is solid empiricism. It is also the ultimate, real world outcome, re-election, for the legislator that represents popular consensus. Where is there anything supernatural in any of those alcohol matters?

The supernatural doctrines are mind reading (mens rea), including the mind reading of half the criminals who are drunk, and may have no recall of a crime, future forecasting in torts, and standards of conduct to be set by a fictitious character, in all subjects of the law where the word, reasonable, is uttered. The latter is said to be from a fictitious character because the standards must be objective. The real reason is that your profession is covering up his identity, which is Jesus. That was an open fact in 1275 AD.

Read St. Thomas Aquinas. Everything you do is from the Cathedral University of Paris of 1275 AD. Henry took classes with St. Thomas. The IRAC, the disputation, renamed the adversarial system, the format of the brief, of the motion, all are unchanged from that era and from the work of monks. Disputation (the adversarial system) is claimed to be the best way to discover the truth. That is strictly 1275 AD horse manure. It is the best way to generate double fees for many hours for both lawyers. It cuts off the smartest and most experienced guy in the court, the judge. If he so much as drives by the intersection of the accident or crime, he will be impeached and disbarred.

The court looks like a church. The robes are those of a Catholic priest. The gavel, the bench is an altar. The standing, the sitting, the oaths. The non-business like, the religious hushed tones for the peasants. All is from the 13th Century church. What are you, blind and deaf? Did you not notice any of that? It is all cult intimidation to impose bullshit doctrines by force.

You can email me if you do not wish to breach your privacy. Did you take a course in Medieval philosophy in college? Or, if not, did you take Western Civ 101, the first fall term? Or, if not, did you take high school World History, where this subject was well covered?

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 19, 2018 11:56:18 PM

I am the best friend of the lawyer profession. The Rule of Law is an essential utility product, and should be regulated like a utility. Your number should be half or a third what it is. The 20,000 lawyers for 100 million Japanese is too few. The 1.5 million for 350 million in the US is too many. Your salary should be 4 times what it is, because of the high value of your product, once safe and effective. Your public esteem should be 10 times what it is. You will have an empirical practice, testing any rule in small, then larger jurisdiction. You will stop lawless regulation and deference to the executive branch regulatory decisions. All regulations will be enacted by the accountable and capable legislature, down to the sink heights for the handicapped. If the voters do not want that bullshit, they will throw the elected officials out at the next election.

In cult deprogramming, one must take a hold of the body. That is why I have proposed the arrest, one hour fair trial, and the execution of the 25,000 members of the lawyer hierarchy. It can be done in one day. No one here here is in it, and everyone here will greatly benefit from this proposal. The crime is insurrection against the constitution. The execution must be immediate, and not reviewable. The sole evidence in the one hour fair trial will a recording of a legal utterance violating the constitution.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 20, 2018 12:27:44 AM

David, I did not ask if you thought "drinking alcohol is super natural," I asked if you thought criminal laws dealing with alcohol and other intoxicants have a "super-natural nature" (using your term). I asked because those laws, which you now seem to claim are "solid empiricism," generate much more work for (criminal) lawyers than many others and incorporate a host of mens rea and reasonableness doctrines (e.g., "possession with the intent to distribute"). Do you know the history of alcohol Prohibition in the US? Do you know the name George Remus, to give one notable example of a notable lawyer who exploited these laws? Do you know how folks quoted scripture to support these laws AND how the laws had "reasonable" religious exceptions? My point is to highlight how simplistic and facile your analysis is when asserting some laws are religious and bad, while others are empirical and good.

To that end, since you dislike reasonableness doctrines thinking them "supernatural," what of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures? Are you eager to execute or defend lawyers who litigate this provision of the Constitution? Are rules created by police forces to guide police actors based on this provision (e.g., do not shoot fleeing suspects) an example of "lawless regulation"? Again, my point is to highlight how simplistic and facile your rants here are, and others get annoyed in the way one gets annoyed hearing a child constantly whine about wanting ice cream for dinner every night (and then claiming we should execute members of the vegetable hierarchy).

I allow you to keep commenting in this space because even simplistic and facile criticisms of modern laws and lawyers can be valuable. But I will continue to urge you to keep the simplistic and facile rants limited and civil.

Posted by: Doug B | Mar 20, 2018 9:06:08 AM

I am simple because the constitution is simple. It is written at the high school English level, and is quite plain in its meaning.

It has an Establishment Clause. It makes our nation a secular, and empirically based nation. The law may not impose religious doctrines on others. These prohibited doctrines include anonymous, but clearly Catholic doctrines of intent, foreseeability, and reasonableness. Even the Church gave up on Scholasticism 100 years ago. To be behind the times more than the Catholic Church is a really extreme achievement. Not even the Church of the 13th Century believed man could exercise these powers. Indeed, it is blasphemy to believe man has the powers the Church properly attributed to God, after the soul reached God for judgment. That is their faith, and I respect. Not only is the lawyer crazy, but he is a blasphemer of the Church he is copying. Had I been an prelate, I would have hauled your boy Henry before the papal inquisition, and roasted his heinie over an open fire. The hubris of that lawyer zane is unbelievable.

It has Article I Section 1, giving "all" lawmaking powers to the Congress. The police policy of not shooting a fleeing suspect is mandatory, coming from a lawless Supreme Court decision, based on the feelings of the Justices, eliminating centuries of police tradition, implying only the guilty will flee.

If you want to describe what searches are allowed, have Congress pass a law. Do the same to stop the shooting of fleeing suspects. They have the capacity to do so more quickly than executive agencies. People who can put out legislation with 1000's of pages, in a few weeks, can do so for regulatory purposes. They can outpage the 10,000 page Register of Federal Regulation. That way voters who do not like the regulation can primary the legislator responsible, or vote for the other party. There is no way to get accountability from a federal bureaucrat. They do not give their names. One may not threaten any without breaking a law. Aside from the lawlessness of all executive regulations, they smack of executive tyranny for which an English king was beheaded.

If you want judicial review, if you want executive branch regulation, if you want to use the word, reason, which is the ability to perceive God, in contrast to intellect, which is subject the temptation of sin, ratify an amendment to the constitution. Until you do, all these lawyer acts are in insurrection against the constitution, a capital offense.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 20, 2018 10:19:29 PM

David, you have avoided confronting the fact that reasonableness appears in the text of the Fourth Amendment. It make no sense to assert the First Amendment bars laws concerned with reasonableness when the Fourth Amendment makes that the touchstone for defining the limits of police powers. And Thomas Jefferson, a legendary proponent of the separation of church and state, spoke of intent in the commission of various crimes in his famous 1778 Bill for the new state of Virginia: http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendVIIIs10.html. So, again, your contentions about these doctrines and the Constitution are neither simple nor sound. And to call for execution of those who pass/support laws using intent or reasonableness is just plain silly.

What is not sill is complaining about considerable and excessive law-making by executive and judicial branch authorities. But Congress and state legislatures often delegate, formally and informally, this law-making power. Staying on point of this blog, consider the Sentencing Reform Act, which created a judicial branch agency to write binding sentencing guidelines. You are on solid ground contending legislatures should author all sentencing rules rather than an agency (as happens in Ohio and other states), but you are not on solid ground when saying the relevant conduct rules referencing what is "reasonably foreseeable" violates the Establishment Clause.

Posted by: Doug B | Mar 21, 2018 12:33:48 AM

Delegation is prohibited. It began after a mind reading decision, calling delegation "implied" if the parameters you mentioned were "intelligible." This is more mind reading of the dead, and ridiculous, insultingly fraudulent, like a séance with the departed. (Your dead relative wants you to give me your money. I would be arrested for a laughable attempt to defraud.) It is an evasion of the need to amend the constitution.

The Fourth Amendment has the word "unreasonable." However, it also defines it in empirical terms, by use of the word "probable", meaning more than 50% likely to be true. The "reasonableness" can be measured, and the standards can be changed if there is a failure to comply with the need for 51% rate of success. If anyone knows of such a study, I could not find one. That is not a constitutional problem, however.

Reason is the ability to perceive God, in the technical jargon of Scholasticism, from where the common law came. The best guide is the New Testament, according to St. Thomas, the mentor of Henry. That book was about Jesus. Unless otherwise specified, as in the Fourth Amendment, all use of the word "reason" refers to Jesus and to his standards of conduct. That word, in any legal utterance should be presumed to violate the Establishment Clause. All Latin also violates it, since only one kind of people speak it.

Again, I do not bash the Church. I bash the lawyer profession. The Church would even say the lawyer is blaspheming by attributing the powers of God to man.

Foreseeability is also a power of God, and Thomas discusses His power to prevent accidents. Outside of negligence claim in the criminal law, this is a problem in tort liability. It is at the core of duty. Problem: it is a supernatural power. Only God had it according to the Church, even in the 13th Century. This has led to the worthlessness of torts to safety, when they could be useful. Only technology has improved safety. However, tort lawyers using this fraudulent scheme have taken out $trillions from the economy. They deterred countless $trillions in new developments. That should have gone to research to enhance safety.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 21, 2018 11:04:26 AM

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