Pennsylvania House holds Philadelphia DA in contempt for refusing state subpoena

The Pennsylvania House held Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner in contempt after he ignored a subpoena request from a committee investigating rising crime in the state's largest city.

The action is another step in a growing divide between the Republican-controlled General Assembly and the Democratic DA in Philadelphia since the creation in June of the Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order.

The committee, as The Center Square previously reported, was created to investigate the rising rate of crime in Philadelphia and how funds are spent to enforce the law and prosecute crime. When it issued a subpoena to Krasner’s office in August, the district attorney did not respond and called it “anti-democratic.”

In September, Krasner filed a lawsuit to nullify the subpoena and end the committee’s investigation.

The district attorney’s office did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

In a meeting Tuesday morning, committee chairman Rep. John Lawrence, R-West Grove, laid out the timeline of events. This past Friday, Krasner requested an extension of time to respond to the subpoena. The committee offered an extension until this Friday, Sept. 16, on condition that the district attorney’s office acknowledge the authority of the committee.

Krasner rejected the offer Monday.

“His refusal is in willful, clear, and indisputable violation of House Rule 51,” Lawrence said, referring to the rule on House investigations. “I believe the committee now finds itself under duty to report this matter to the House.”

The House then voted 162-38 in favor of House Resolution 227, holding Krasner in contempt. The resolution noted that any action to enforce the contempt will require another vote of the House of Representatives. The Pennsylvania code notes that being held in contempt of the General Assembly is a third-degree misdemeanor.

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