Report: Larry Krasner Dismisses More than 30 Prosecutors
It's only been three days since the progressive firebrand was sworn into office.
It’s been only three days since District Attorney Larry Krasner officially stepped in to his role, but his campaign promise to radically overhaul the prosecutors’ office already appears to be in motion.
Workers who are being dismissed will reportedly be informed by the end of the day on Friday. In a statement obtained by City and State PA, Krasner’s spokesman, Ben Waxman, said the DA “has confidence in the ability of our employees to adapt to these changes … That includes appropriately handling cases or other matters that are scheduled for the coming weeks.”
Philly.com reports that one of the ADAs being let go is homicide prosector Andrew Notaristefano, who has been an employee in the office for more than a decade. Notaristefano told Philly.com that he was given “no explanation” for his dismissal on Friday and that he was preparing for an upcoming homicide trial when he was informed.
Notaristefano, who received 32 murder convictions by trial in the last four years, was awarded for his work in the courtroom by the office in 2016. Philly.com reported in October that Notaristefano recently sought the death penalty—a punishment that Krasner strongly opposes—in a 40-year-old murder case. (H/T Max Marin of Philadelphia Weekly.)
Krasner has fired ADA Andrew Notaristefano, one of 20 staffers to be let go in first major shakeup since taking office Tuesday. Two months ago, Notaristefano was seeking the death penalty in a 40-year-old murder case. https://t.co/jPY5IfHIr9
— Max M. Marin (@MaxMMarin) January 5, 2018
Philly.com reports that pretrial division deputy Michael Barry, a former homicide prosecutor, was also asked to resign on Friday.
Michael Meehan, chairman of Philadelphia’s Republican Party, criticized the move: “It is unconscionable that within three days of assuming office, and in the midst of a significant increase in murders, that Krasner would begin his tenure by firing homicide prosecutors. … No consideration was given to upcoming trials and the resulting effect on victims and survivors.”
The DA’s office employs about 600 people.
This article originally stated that Notaristefano was involved in a 2002 mix-up of DNA evidence that lead to a death sentence that was later invalidated. That is incorrect. Notaristefano was assigned to handle the retrial of that case, which was ordered by a Philadelphia judge in 2015.