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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.
BUSINESS
September 19, 2010 | By Alan J. Heavens, Inquirer Real Estate Writer
The IRS continues to have trouble handling claims for home buyer tax credits, a Treasury Department audit shows. The audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, completed Aug. 16, said some taxpayers not entitled to the credit received it and others who were supposed to get it did not. A previous audit completed in June found that thousands of taxpayers - including prison inmates serving life sentences - fraudulently claimed a...
NEWS
December 21, 2009
Police departments across the nation are allowing rapists to get away with their crimes, while ignoring evidence that could solve these cases. Congress heard testimony last week indicating that many big-city police departments are failing to test thousands of sets of evidence called "rape kits," which contain DNA collected from victims of sexual assault. Each year, more than 100,000 people nationwide report being the victims of rape. Nearly all of them are asked to submit to invasive procedures to collect DNA samples from their bodies, samples that could provide the genetic fingerprints of their attacker's identity.
NEWS
December 17, 2008 | By KITTY CAPARELLA, caparek@phillynews.com 215-854-5880
So where is the Christmas mail? Where are the packages? Where are the letters? Where are the Christmas cards? On what is normally one of the biggest mail days of the year, the mail wasn't moving during yesterday's day shift at the U.S. Postal Service's processing plant on Lindbergh Boulevard near Island Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia. "There was no mail in there," said a day-shift postal worker, who asked to remain anonymous. "The trucks are not coming in. We're supposed to be busy, and we're not running the machines.
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