On Thursday, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner asked a four-judge Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court panel to stop impeachment proceedings launched against him on November 16 after a vote from the state's House of Representatives.
According to the Associated Press, one of the four judges, Ellen Ceisler, a Democrat, said, "It seems to me that these impeachment proceedings are based on disagreement with public policy and an elected official’s discretion. I think that this proceeding could set terrible precedent in the future."
The judicial quartet's makeup is half Republican and half Democrat, with Ceisler counting as one of the latter.
The impeachment stated that Krasner engaged in "misbehavior in office in nature of violation of victims rights," and "misbehavior in office in the nature of violence of the constitution of Pennsylvania by usurpation of the legislative function."
Thursday, Krasner argued that there was no merit behind such claims and also said that the GOP-controlled state general assembly does not have the constitutional power to remove him from office.
Krasner, a Democrat who was re-elected in 2021, is known for progressive policies such as no cash bail and not prosecuting non-violent gun and drug possession crimes. Shootings are up 54 percent in Philadelphia since 2020 and homicides have climbed by 50 percent since Krasner took office. In the wake of the increase in crime, Krasner has called for more gun control. There were a total of seven articles of impeachment alleging Krasner's misconduct, which included his bail policies and lack of prosecuting.
One of the Republican judges on the panel, Judge Patricia McCullough, said, "The problem is you’re asking the court to intervene and that is going to set another huge precedent for the people of this commonwealth if the court can usurp its separation of powers principle and stick its hand into a process that the Supreme Court says belongs to the General Assembly. And that’s really the issue."
A trial is set for January 18 in the Pennsylvania Senate. The judges did not say when they would announce a ruling.
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