In a move that had been telegraphed for months by Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers but still produced fiery speeches when it hit the state's House floor, the Republican-led chamber impeached Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner for his alleged role in failing to stem the city's violence, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The 107-85 vote, almost exclusively along party lines, sets the stage for a Senate trial, the timing of which remains uncertain as the end of the legislative session looms. If the trial occurs in 2023, Republican votes will slip further beneath the two-thirds vote needed for a conviction.
Democrats complained that Republicans from outside Philadelphia were substituting their judgment for that of the city's voters, who resoundingly reelected the famously progressive prosecutor. Krasner and his supporters argued there is no data supporting the claim that Krasner's policies have fueled the city's violence, and pointed out Krasner is not accused of the kind of malfeasance that typically warrants impeachment. "Unfortunately, when you do not like what occurred in the outcome of an election, there has been a decision in the grand ol’ party to subvert the will of the voters,” said Rep. Joanna McClinton of Philadelphia, the Democratic minority leader in the House. House Speaker Bryan Cutler criticized the performance of Krasner’s office, saying it was not legal for Krasner to enact policies seeking to decriminalize or deemphasize crimes like petty theft, drug possession, and prostitution. ”We don’t get to ignore laws,” Cutler said. “If we want to change them, we should amend and legislate them differently, not allow one rogue county … to go off the rails and jeopardize the citizens who live there.” The impeachment resolution outlined seven alleged offenses, including blame for the city's surge in homicides and mishandling specific criminal cases, including a now-dismissed murder prosecution of a former Philadelphia police officer.