Professor John Pfaff was quoted in a Yahoo! News article discussing the policies of Larry Krasner, Philadelphia’s progressive prosecutor.
The reasons behind the spike in violence across the US are complex. In conservative media, though, one villain is obvious and comfortably partisan: the progressive prosecutor. And in Pennsylvania, that means Larry Krasner.
Krasner is an outsider. The former criminal-defense attorney did not come up through the city’s Democratic machine, having held no previous elected office, unlike his predecessors over the past several decades. He’s also a committed reformer. Since taking office as district attorney in 2018, he’s slashed probation sentences, ended the prosecution of sex work and cannabis offenses, and aggressively pursued cases against police officers accused of misconduct. His Conviction Integrity Unit has exonerated about two dozen people his predecessors convicted.
John Pfaff, a professor at Fordham Law School, believes Krasner is on to something. While some who are arrested on a charge of illegal gun possession intend to use that weapon in a violent crime, the strategy of focusing on illegal possession will pull many who have no such intention into the criminal-justice system, derailing lives and perpetuating distrust in police, he argued in a recent article for Slate.
“Ultimately, these flawed models encourage police to cast broad nets that will end up locking up thousands of people just to prevent dozens of future shootings, imposing significant human and social — and moral — costs that could overwhelm the benefits of such detention,” Pfaff wrote.