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NEWS
February 15, 2012 | BY STEPHANIE FARR, farrs@phillynews.com 215-854-4225
IN THE EIGHT months since armed robbers first burst into the TriStar Market, in Yeadon, store owner Patel Bharat has turned his counter and sandwich station into a $15,000 bulletproof glass cage. Yet the State Police's Bureau of Forensic Services still hasn't processed three pieces of evidence - a gun, clothing and gloves - that were left behind at the scene and may hold the DNA clues to solving the case. In the meantime, Bharat's store has been robbed twice more at gunpoint, including less than a month after the first robbery - and by the same two men, he believes.
NEWS
February 15, 2012 | BY STEPHANIE FARR, farrs@phillynews.com 215-854-4225
THE PHILADELPHIA Police Department's Forensic Sciences Bureau has grappled with its own backlog for years, but with renewed efforts and a new leader, the bureau was able to reduce it by a third within the past year. Michael Garvey Jr., who has worked for the FBI and CIA, is the first civilian head of the bureau and the only one to also be given the title of deputy managing director. Before him, high-level police officials were in charge. "It's a trend throughout forensic science to bring in folks that not only deal with running the administration portion of a forensic science entity, but can also understand and deal with all of the technical issues," he said.
NEWS
January 17, 2012 | By Don Sapatkin, Inquirer Staff Writer
Since the day she was born, 19 months ago, Anabelle Linzey of Ridley Township has been on a category of state Medical Assistance that covers severely disabled children. Profound brain malformations limit her functions to those of a newborn, and she requires round-the-clock care. During one of his daughter's frequent hospital visits, Brian Linzey was told that Anabelle no longer had health insurance. Terrified - "One day without coverage would be like life or death," he said - he repeatedly called the state welfare office in Delaware County, but no one answered.
NEWS
August 2, 2011 | BY DAVID GAMBACORTA, gambacd@phillynews.com 215-854-5994
THE NUMBERS needed to go down - way down. The Police Department's Firearms Identification Unit was sitting on an enormous backlog of more than 6,000 cases in 2007, and it was up to Lt. Vincent Testa, the unit's commander, to figure out a way to cut the backlog down to size. As of last week, police officials said, the FIU had a backlog of just 941 cases. The progress was impressive. Maybe a little too impressive. Numerous police sources have told the Daily News that Testa routinely ordered his examiners to violate the FIU's protocols and ship handguns and other weapons directly to a City Hall evidence-storage room without examining them, a move intended to make the backlog appear smaller.
NEWS
May 30, 2011
Mediation will lessen courts' backlog Former Sen. Arlen Specter is right ("Way out of courts' gridlock," May 23): We need to make greater use of mediation and arbitration. Although there is some use of both now, we should do what a number of jurisdictions have done: make mediation mandatory in all cases before you have the right to a jury trial. In my former practice in Missoula, Mont., this was a requirement, and 85 percent of all cases were settled. Imagine what that would do for our backlog.
NEWS
March 19, 2011 | By Vernon Clark, Inquirer Staff Writer
Members of the Pennsylvania state Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony Friday from experts on solutions to easing the backlog of DNA test results on criminal suspects. Such a delay allowed the man accused of being the Kensington strangler to continue killing and raping women in Philadelphia. The hearing, called by Sen. Lawrence M. Farnese Jr. (D., Phila.) at the Independence Visitors Center, included legal experts and members of law enforcement. The panel included Sen. Stewart J. Greenleaf (R., Montgomery)
NEWS
January 19, 2011 | By DAVID GAMBACORTA & STEPHANIE FARR, gambacd@phillynews.com 215-854-5994
The Pennsylvania State Police isn't shying away from the truth: It has a massive backlog of criminal DNA evidence that could solve an untold number of crimes. It's a problem with far-reaching ramifications, as evidenced by the case of Antonio Rodriguez, who police sources said confessed yesterday to being the murderous Kensington Strangler. A sample of Rodriguez's DNA was provided to the State Police on Oct. 25 - a week before the first of the Strangler's victims was found - but was not uploaded into the national CODIS database until Jan. 10, said Jack Lewis, a State Police spokesman.
NEWS
January 18, 2011 | By Nathan Gorenstein, Inquirer Staff Writer
The DNA evidence used to identify the suspect in the Kensington strangulations was in the hands of Pennsylvania state police three weeks before the third victim was killed, but a backlog of cases prevented a match, according to a timeline released Monday night. DNA from Antonio Rodriguez, 22, was provided to state police Oct. 25 under a program that requires all felons to submit genetic samples. Rodriguez faced an unrelated drug charge. On Nov. 23, Philadelphia police submitted a DNA sample taken from one of the victims of the strangler.
NEWS
December 29, 2010 | By James Osborne, Inquirer Staff Writer
Emergency medical crews from New Jersey, including Burlington and Camden Counties, continued to arrive in New York on Tuesday to help with the large backlog of 911 calls that developed during Sunday's blizzard. As two feet of snow fell in New York, many vehicles became stuck, blocking streets and hampering emergency efforts. With help from outside agencies, the backlog of calls for medical assistance, which grew to 1,300 on Monday, was less than 200 by Tuesday afternoon, a Fire Department spokesman said.
NEWS
November 22, 2010
When Philadelphia authorities slashed the city's backlog of 47,000 fugitives by more than 40 percent, they never intended to send the message that crime pays. That's the harsh reality, though, of their decision to drop criminal charges against more than 19,000 defendants whose cases have been dormant for as long as four decades. That bookkeeping step made sense. As an Inquirer investigation revealed last year, the overburdened city court system is plagued by low conviction rates, with thousands of cases dismissed.
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