Thursday, February 11, 2021

Ralph Cipriano: Philly DA Krasner's Head Of Homicide Has A History Of Courtroom Blunders

 Ralph Cipriano at offers a piece on Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner’s homicide prosecutor.

If you're looking for a good measure of how far the District Attorney's Office has fallen under Larry Krasner, look no further than the homicide unit. 

On Nov. 17, District Attorney Larry Krasner appointed Assistant District Attorney Chesley Lightsey as interim supervisor of the D.A.'s Homicide and Non-Fatal Shooting Unit, replacing Assistant District Attorney Anthony Voci. As Lightsey's top assistant, Krasner appointed Assistant District Attorney Sherrell Dandy.  

Once, the homicide unit was the province of legendary prosecutors such as Charles "Joey" Grant, who tried and won hundreds of cases, many of them at high profile murder trials against defendants that included mob boss Nicky Scarfo.  

Carlos Vega, who's running against Krasner in the May 18th primary for the Democratic nomination for D.A., prosecuted more than 450 murder cases during a 30-year career in the D.A.'s homicide unit. Vega recalled that before he got promoted to homicide, he prosecuted 40 jury trials over a five-year apprenticeship before his bosses would trust him to try a murder case.   

But under Krasner, the homicide unit is now led by Lightsey and Dandy, a couple of lightweights who, according to knowledgeable sources, have tried a total of approximately 18 homicide jury trials between them.  

In addition, the two ADAs who head the homicide unit have an embarrassing history of courtroom blunders behind them that are well-known in Philadelphia's tight-knit legal community. Blunders that include mixing up key evidence like the murder weapon at trial, calling the wrong witnesses, and misidentifying robbery and kidnapping suspects. Those gaffes resulted in dangerous defendants walking, defendants who subsequently went on to commit more crimes.  

As far as the current homicide unit in the D.A.'s office under Larry Krasner, it's strictly amateur hour. But because Krasner's a cop-hating, prosecutor-hating former criminal defense lawyer, the demise of the homicide unit under Krasner may be happening by design. Like the coach of a tanking sports team, you have to wonder if Krasner wants to deliberately lose every game. 

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Krasner's Head Of Homicide Has A History Of Courtroom Blunders | Big Trial | Philadelphia Trial Blog

You can also read my Philadelphia Weekly Crime Beat column on former homicide prosecutor and candidate for DA Carlos Vega via the below link:  

Paul Davis On Crime: My Philadelphia Weekly 'Crime Beat' Column: A Conversation With Carlos Vega, The Former Homicide Prosecutor Challenging Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner 

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