HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) has named the five members of the Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order to investigate rising crime in Philadelphia and, potentially, move towards the impeachment of District Attorney Larry Krasner.
Republican lawmakers announced in June they would begin moving toward potentially impeaching Krasner amid rising crime and homicides in Philadelphia.
Cutler says the select committee will examine whether “local prosecutors are appropriately performing their duties in prosecuting violent crime and offenses such as illegal possession of firearms.”
Cutler named the following members to the Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order:
- Rep. John Lawrence (R-Chester/Lancaster), chair
- Rep. Wendi Thomas (R-Bucks)
- Rep. Torren Ecker (R-Adams/Cumberland)
- Rep. Amen Brown (D-Philadelphia)
- Rep. Danilo Burgos (D-Philadelphia)
“This bipartisan group of lawmakers understands that what residents and visitors of Philadelphia are currently experiencing must change,” Cutler said. “I am confident these members will work together to find solutions and hold those in power accountable for allowing crime in Philadelphia to reach the levels they have today.”
House Resolution 216, adopted by the House with bipartisan support, calls on the committee to investigate rising crime rates, enforcement and prosecution practices in the city, and the use of public funds to prosecute and benefit victims of crime.
The committee will produce a report with findings and recommendations, which will be made available to the public.
Krasner spokesperson Jane Roh said in June the resolution to form the select committee showed “House Republicans’ support for the NRA’s agenda and complicity in gun violence due to their enabling of unrestricted flooding of firearms into every county in Pennsylvania.”
Rep. Martina White, the only Republican House member from Philadelphia, said shootings and killings have increased steeply during Krasner’s tenure in office. She said Krasner’s job performance is “not just about charges that are brought, it’s about the cases that are being withdrawn, cases that are tossed aside, victims that haven’t seen justice for a family member.”
If the committee recommends impeachment against Krasner, the full House would then take it up. Impeachment, a very rare event in the Legislature — requiring a vote by the House and then trial in the Senate — was most recently deployed successfully against Supreme Court Justice Rolf Larsen nearly three decades ago.
The House voted to impeach, and the Senate convicted Larsen, a Pittsburgh Democrat, of one impeachment article in 1994, for having an improper discussion with a lawyer about court matters. He was permanently removed from the court and barred from holding public office in the state.
A different mechanism, direct removal in the Senate, failed when attempted against Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane six years ago, although she subsequently was convicted of perjury and other offenses and resigned.