Skip to main content
Back to news

DA Krasner Files Application to Quash Improper & Unlawful Subpoena of PA House Select Committee

PHILADELPHIA (October 6, 2022) – The District Attorney’s Office on Thursday filed a motion seeking to quash a subpoena demanding files related to a pending murder trial, which were improperly subpoenaed by the Pennsylvania House Select Committee leading a politically motivated effort to impeach DA Larry Krasner.

The Application to Quash Subpoena Duces Tecum and for a Protective Order was filed in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, where the DA’s Office had previously filed a Petition for Review challenging the validity of the Select Committee’s subpoena of privileged case files in a pending murder trial against a former police officer as well as Grand Jury materials, which are protected under state law. That petition was filed on September 2nd.

Rather than respect the court’s authority to settle legal disputes, the Republican-controlled Select Committee on September 13th called for a snap vote of the Pennsylvania House to hold DA Krasner in contempt for his legally proper response to the committee’s improper subpoena. The Select Committee’s contempt request was based on the false contention that the DAO’s actions in proceeding to court amounted to a “willful failure” to comply with the subpoena.

“District Attorney Larry Krasner was held in contempt of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the office’s alleged non-compliance with the Select Committee’s subpoena, despite the fact that we had properly challenged the validity of the subpoena in Commonwealth Court by filing a Petition for Review,” said Michael J. Satin of Miller & Chevalier, which is representing DA Krasner and the District Attorney’s Office. “The Select Committee’s subpoena improperly demands Grand Jury materials and prosecution case files in a pending homicide trial.  We have informed the Select Committee on multiple occasions that the DA, as Philadelphia County’s chief prosecutor, cannot lawfully comply with its improper subpoena. We have asked the Select Committee on multiple occasions to withdraw or modify its subpoena so that the DA may lawfully comply. The Select Committee has refused our requests and continues to maintain that we must comply with its improper subpoena.”

The Select Committee and Speaker of the House additionally ignored requests from DA Krasner’s legal counsel to allow him to appear before the House to present evidence and to explain why his office did not and could not under state law – which is written and authorized by the legislative body targeting his office – produce the requested materials. The Select Committee and the Speaker of the House ignored that request, in clear violation of DA Krasner’s rights to due process, and members of the Republican-controlled body held the DA in contempt of the House.

Since then, the Select Committee has refused the DA’s request to withdraw its improper subpoena and issue a new one that does not demand privileged and protected materials related to a Grand Jury investigation and pending murder trial of a former police officer for shooting a Black man. Instead, the Select Committee continues to demand that the DAO withdraw its properly filed lawsuit against the Select Committee, even though members of the Select Committee have improperly stated that their intention is to impeach DA Krasner, who is accused of no official misconduct or crime.

The motion filed today, which is available to view here, presents the following arguments against the House Select Committee’s improper subpoena for Grand Jury materials and prosecutor files in an active murder case scheduled to go to trial on November 7, 2022:

  • Grand jury materials in a pending case may not be subpoenaed, as clearly stated by the Investigating Grand Jury Act of Pennsylvania.

  • The “complete case file and all documents” demanded by the Select Committee subpoena are protected by the executive privilege, the deliberative process privilege, and the work product doctrine.

  • The Criminal History Records Information Act (“CHRIA”) prohibits the DAO from disseminating “investigative,” “intelligence,” or “treatment” information to non-criminal justice agencies. Under CHRIA, “investigative” information and “treatment” information may be disseminated only to a criminal justice agency in connection with the agency’s duties. The DAO cannot therefore lawfully disseminate the “complete case file,” as demanded by the Select Committee subpoena, of an active prosecution.

  • The Select Committee lacks the authority to subpoena “case file” records of a pending murder trial or any other criminal investigation or prosecution. It would be widely problematic for a legislative body to attempt to interfere with a pending criminal case, particularly a high-profile case involving a police officer’s shooting of a Black man.

The DAO’s lawsuit and other non-privileged responses to the Select Committee are available online: https://linktr.ee/phillydalarrykrasner.

CONTACT:Jane Roh, 215-686-8711, [email protected]

###

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is the largest prosecutor’s office in Pennsylvania, and one of the largest in the nation. It serves the more than 1.5 million residents of the City and County of Philadelphia, employing 600 lawyers, detectives, and support staff. The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for the prosecution of approximately 40,000 criminal cases annually. Learn more about the DAO by visiting PhillyDA.org.