The Court of Common Pleas has issued an opinion in support of its August 21, 2019 ruling rejecting claims by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 that the District Attorney’s Office (DAO) violated FOP members’ constitutional rights by disclosing relevant and material information about police misconduct to defendants.
The FOP appealed after the Court dismissed with prejudice its lawsuit against District Attorney Larry Krasner and the City of Philadelphia. Among the Court’s findings in its opinion:
· The District Attorney’s actions fall “well within D.A. Krasner’s official capacities in carrying out his duties as Philadelphia District Attorney.”
· “D.A. Krasner has the inherent discretion to determine if, as in this case, police officer misconduct should be noted as potentially exculpatory impeachment evidence.”
· The FOP’s complaint “is hypothetical and speculative in nature.”
· “D.A. Krasner has a proactive obligation to provide the misconduct information at issue because it is exculpatory in nature and could affect the credibility of key police officer witnesses in future prosecutions, thereby striking at the heart of impeachment.”
· The Court affirmed that the DAO Police Misconduct Disclosure Database and other actions taken to ensure the DAO is in compliance with its constitutional obligations are “fully within the discretion of D.A. Krasner as he is tasked with carrying out his responsibilities to fairly prosecute crimes and maintain the integrity of the criminal justice system.”
District Attorney Krasner chided FOP Lodge President John McNesby for continuing to waste members’ dues on frivolous, costly, and politically motivated litigation.
“Part of the benefit of running an integrous and accountable organization is that doing so discourages wrongdoing that can lead to criminal charges and expensive lawsuits,” District Attorney Krasner said.
“John McNesby and the FOP leadership should stop engaging in publicity stunts and baseless smears of citizens they purport to serve, and start focusing on helping the Philadelphia Police Department become the modern, trusted, and effective organization the majority of good officers and staff want it to be.”