He will do it not for himself, but for the victims, he says.
He is Carlos Vega, 64, who prosecuted almost 450 accused murderers during a 35-year career in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office and who was fired shortly after Larry Krasner took office in 2018.
He lost only 14 jury trials and here’s why he remembers that number: “In each case I failed a family. I did not get them the justice they deserved.”
On Wednesday, Vega will become the champion many Philadelphians have hoped for when he announces he will challenge Krasner in the Democratic primary next year.
Along with several other veteran attorneys, Vega is suing Krasner for age discrimination. He told me, had nothing else changed, he would have retired in 2021. But something had changed — Krasner’s victory, in a low turnout, off-year election. He became part of a “new breed” of prosecutor backed by left-wing billionaire George Soros, who is out to remake the face of criminal justice by turning prosecutors into public defenders.This column is an indictment of Krasner, who seems to have adopted the criminals’ cause. This is not the proper role of the D.A.
“I am here to represent the victims,” Vega told me in a telephone interview. The accused has the right to remain silent, the accused has the right to an attorney, the accused has the right to discover evidence against them, to a speedy trial and to face their accusers.
“The victims have no rights,” says Vega. They have one protector, the district attorney, and this one has a history of turning his back on victims. This is not just political talk by Vega, it is backed up by reporting in the mainstream media that generally has played patty cake with Krasner, who spent a lifetime as a defense attorney attacking and suing police.
Of course, the left-wing Mother Jones cheered him on, taking a hefty swipe at four-term D.A. Lynne Abraham, as a symbol of former “law and order” D.A.s, which would include Ron Castille and Ed Rendell in Philadelphia. That was the norm until Soros put his financial thumb on the scale.
What has happened is not a reform of the criminal justice system, but a repudiation of it.
While the Left has been applauding Krasner, victims of crime have been crying.
This was the case of Michael White, in which I concluded that Krasner had engineered a strategy to thwart the jury from convicting the accused killer of Sean Schellenger. I suspected Krasner “had an occupational flashback and was reliving his decades as a defense attorney who hated cops — and prosecutors.”
There are other cases of Krasner’s weird idea of “restorative justice” leading to outcomes that are dangerous to innocent people, such as detailed by reporter Ralph Cipriano in his BigTrial.net, which acts as a reliable prosecutor against “Let ‘em Loose Larry.”
An example was Krasner’s desire — on his own authority — to reduce jail terms, which is a function of the courts and legislature. His arrogance knows no bounds.
There is little question whose side Larry is on.
And it’s not yours.
Or Carlos Vega’s.
Vega’s age discrimination suit is still in the courts, so I won’t comment, other to say Krasner bragged about bringing in a large group of new employees, and we were to swoon because of their youth and diversity.
“The only problem was that in order to become full-fledged prosecutors, this incredibly diverse group of new ADAs had to pass the bar exam. And while 42 passed, 18 of the 60 new ADAs have apparently failed that test,” reported Cipriano.
I guess “diversity” includes the not-so-skilled.
To be fair, some of Krasner’s reforms are reasonable, such as ending cash bail for nonviolent crimes, ceasing illegal use of stop and frisk, ending civil-asset forfeiture, and rebuilding the conviction review unit, which seeks to reverse injustice. Justice should always be just, to both sides. Krasner sees mostly one side, that occupational hazard again.
Naturally, he won’t employ the death penalty, even as an incentive to a plea bargain to avoid costly trials that ravage the victims. He won’t prosecute retail theft of less than $500. I am sure shop owners are thrilled by his lack of concern for their welfare. Have you noticed how many items suddenly are in locked shelves at CVS? Why? Shoplifting, which Krasner seems to think is a victimless crime.
Vega knows better. His parents ran a bodega in Manhattan, and they feared for their lives and for being cleaned out by thieves.
I find it alarming that someone caught drunk driving — without a driver’s license — will be steered to a diversionary program rather than jail.
The most bedazzling new Krasner rule requires prosecutors to state at sentencing the cost of imprisoning the convict. Tell me exactly what that has to do with justice. Will prosecutors next be asked to produce defendants’ bank accounts?
Vega can’t answer that because he’s not there. Now a South Philly resident, Vega is a native New Yorker, who was hired out of Boston College Law School by D.A. Ed Rendell
“I am running because too many victims have been ignored and too many children are dying in our streets without any response from the District Attorney,” says Vega.
Next time, learn how Vega’s parents shaped his beliefs.