Among other head-turning changes, Philadelphia’s district attorney has stopped prosecuting marijuana possession, instructed his 300 assistant district attorneys to stop seeking bail on low-level charges, and had his office begin plea negotiations below the low end of the state’s sentencing guidelines.
…Krasner has challenged the idea that every person convicted of killing should be sent away for the rest of their lives, which is the mandatory minimum sentence for first- or second- degree murder in Pennsylvania. He has mandated that he personally sign off on any deal offered that exceeds 15 to 30 years in prison. According to a recent Philadelphia Inquirer analysis, in six cases that were initially filed as “murder generally” Krasner sought third-degree or involuntary manslaughter charges rather than the first- or second-degree murder charges that would have been the norm under his predecessors. While comprehensive national comparisons are hard to come by, criminal justice experts view this willingness to lower murder charges as a first of its kind effort among prosecutors in major municipalities.