Feb 12, 2021 – Criminal Justice Reform, Press Release, Prison Reform. Thirteen clemency applicants sentenced to life in prison will soon be freed… because Governor Tom Wolf signed their commutations yesterday. Each of the 13 was recommended by Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, led by Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.
In another shift in the Keystone State, Pennsylvania Democrat Senate nominee John Fetterman walked back his apparent call to release all second-degree murderers with life sentences from Pennsylvania’s prisons. Fetterman’s about-face was part of a broader move among Democrats running for office in high-profile races nationwide walking back many of the progressive positions they once embraced in an effort to make their candidacies palatable to more moderate general election voters.
With crime on the rise, Republicans are hammering their opponents as Democrats fear “defund the police” policies will turn off voters.
In Pennsylvania, Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner, a poster boy of the so-called progressive prosecutor movement, has come under the microscope for his soft-on-crime policies.
The state Legislature formed a bipartisan committee to investigate a crime spree in Philadelphia. The committee will be allowed to subpoena witnesses and documents from Krasner’s office and can make evidence-based recommendations up to the impeachment of Krasner.
Pennsylvania doesn’t have recall elections.
The committee issued a subpoena for Krasner, who refused to comply, calling it “illegal,” “antidemocratic,” and “wholly illegitimate.” State legislators voted to hold him in contempt for not complying.
Krasner has also dismissed the effort as partisan, although numerous Democrats have joined Republicans in supporting it. Indeed, Democrats are increasingly keeping their distance from Krasner as Republican candidates target him as the face of Democrats’ crime policies.
Violent crime has skyrocketed since Krasner took office, in part because he made it a priority to prosecute fewer illegal gun charges, cut the future years of incarceration by half, and slash the length of parole in probation supervision by nearly two-thirds compared to the previous DA.