Philadelphia prosecutor Krasner withdraws arrest warrant for embattled state Rep. Kevin Boyle

by Peter Hall, The star of Pennsylvania’s capital
April 22, 2024

Arrest warrant for Pennsylvania Representative Kevin Boyle (D-Philadelphia) was withdrawn after authorities obtained previously unavailable information, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and police commissioner Kevin Bethel said Monday.

Police said last week that Boyle faces arrest on suspicion of violating a protection-from-abuse order obtained by his ex-wife.

The announcement came overdue Monday afternoon about 15 hours before polls opened for the primary election in which Boyle is voting for the Democratic nominee for re-election in his Northeast Philadelphia district.

It also follows a partisan standoff in the House in which GOP leaders objected to Boyle’s vote being cast in his absence by the Democratic whip as he faces arrest.

Krasner said at Monday’s news conference that the arrest warrant was supported by information provided by a Philadelphia police detective in a probable cause affidavit.

“While everything indicates that this was truthful and in good faith, it was missing a key piece of information that our office could only confirm today,” Krasner said. “The actual Protection from Abuse Order was no longer in force on the relevant dates on which Mr Boyle was alleged to have breached the Order.”

Krasner added that withdrawing the warrant would not clear Boyle of wrongdoing and that a decision would be made later. Krasner declined to provide additional information about the charges against Boyle.

“I see no ill will on the part of the Philadelphia Police Department or on the part of our office,” Krasner said, adding that there are lessons to be learned from the situation.

“Simply put, this is a situation where newly confirmed information has changed our analysis and at this point we do not see probable cause and therefore must withdraw this order,” Krasner said.

Boyle, whose whereabouts have been unknown since police confirmed the warrant last Tuesday, is on the ballot for re-election to an eighth term, although his campaign has been inactive for most of the year.

Sean Doughertynephew of a former Philadelphia labor leader John Dougherty (currently on trial on charges of conspiracy and extortion) was recruited to challenge Boyle when the incumbent’s problems came to lithe in February.

A video that has circulated on social media shows Boyle, who appeared to be intoxicated, threatening to shut down a Montgomery County tavern after being asked to leave. Police were called to the Rockledge bar and an investigation was launched, but no charges were filed in connection with the incident.

In 2021, Boyle was arrested for violating a restraining order placed on him by his then-wife.

Following his earlier arrest, Boyle has opened up about his struggles with mental illness and his brother, U.S. Representative Brendan Boyle (D-2nd District), said last week that the family is focused on helping him recover.

Majority Leader of the House of Representatives Matt Bradford (D-Montgomery) said Democratic leaders remain deeply concerned about Boyle.

“Kevin is our dear friend, and it has been heartbreaking to watch his mental health deteriorate over the last few months,” Bradford said in a statement Monday. “I continue to urge Kevin to get the help he clearly needs.

“Today’s developments and the spectacle of the last few months should not overshadow what is at stake – the life of a sick person. This is not political theater,” Bradford added.

On the House floor Wednesday afternoon, the minority leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) unsuccessfully took up the challenge Speaker Joanna McClinton (Philadelphia), stating that Boyle’s absent vote would still be counted.

Under House rules, lawmakers who are absent from the chamber can appoint their party’s whip to vote on their behalf. Cutler said McClinton’s ruling that a nomination stands when a lawmaker is out of touch with party leaders or “may be dead” is an “absurd interpretation of the rules.”

Democrats in the House of Representatives, who control the lower house with a one-vote majority, introduced a resolution on Friday that would change the law that allows for the suspension or expulsion of an incapacitated legislator.

The star of Pennsylvania’s capital is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. If you have any questions, please contact editor Kim Lyons: Follow the Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook AND Twitter.

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