March 22, 2012
Town-watch volunteer George Zimmerman told Florida police he felt so threatened by a 17-year-old high schooler toting only a soft drink and a bag of Skittles that he had to gun him down. As preposterous as that sounds, the self-defense claim carried enough weight with police in the Seminole County town of Sanford that Zimmerman, 28, has yet to be charged in the death of Trayvon Martin, a well-liked Miami teen with no criminal record. That's because Florida - like Pennsylvania, among nearly two-dozen other states - in recent years enacted a reckless law that gives citizens the right to use lethal force if they feel threatened.
October 15, 2010 |
HARRISBURG - In a burst of last-minute activity, the Pennsylvania Senate wrapped up its final scheduled work day of the 2009-10 legislative session by approving dozens of bills on an array of topics, from the controversy-plagued Delaware River Port Authority to pension funds, gun owners' rights, and overcrowded prisons. The chamber took no action, however, on the 800-pound gorilla in the room: the proposed imposition of a tax on natural gas extracted from the Marcellus Shale. Senate leaders say that if an agreement is reached with the House and Gov. Rendell on a natural-gas tax in coming days, they may yet schedule days next week to vote on the proposal.
November 17, 2010
OF COURSE Gov. Rendell will veto the Legislature's efforts to expand gunplay in the city and state by expanding the Castle Doctrine to allow more use of deadly force. As a former district attorney and mayor in a city with sections where the sound of gunfire is as common as the sound of traffic, for Rendell to do otherwise would be nuts. As a governor who sought measures to reduce gun violence, such as requiring the reporting of lost or stolen guns or limiting gun sales to one a month, doing otherwise would be counterintuitive.
March 28, 2012
NOT TO SHOCK anyone, but is Gov. Corbett, despite falling poll numbers, doing a balanced job of governing at a time of extreme divisiveness? I raise the question after a close look at a recent poll of Corbett's performance in office, and after noting complaints about him from both the left and the right. First, the complaints. The left, if you haven't noticed, rails about what it calls Corbett's draconian cuts in social services and education, especially higher education, and his support of legislation requiring women seeking abortions to undergo ultrasounds.
June 1, 2012 |
A PHILADELPHIA JUDGE said Wednesday he was convinced that a disabled, retired Marine was being attacked in the moments before he fatally stabbed a man last October, but he concluded that the stabbing was still a criminal act rather than self-defense. Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner then convicted Jonathan Lowe, 57, of voluntary manslaughter and possession of an instrument of crime. The judge found him not guilty of the more-serious charges of first- and third-degree murder.
June 20, 2011 |
HARRISBURG - In Pennsylvania, as in most states, your home is your castle and you have a right to defend it. Soon, you will be able to add your car. Or the sidewalk. Or anywhere you "have the legal right to be. " The state Senate, in a 45-5 vote, gave final approval Monday to the so-called castle doctrine bill to expand the right of people to use deadly force against attackers in places outside their homes. A spokesman for Gov. Corbett said the governor would sign the bill but was not sure when.
March 27, 2012 |
HARRISBURG - Could a shooting like the controversial one that left a Florida teenager dead happen here and no one be prosecuted? Does Pennsylvania's recently expanded "castle doctrine" law, affording gun owners greater leeway to open fire if they feel threatened away from home, set the stage for a tragedy like the one that cost 17-year-old Trayvon Martin his life? Doubtful, says Ed Marsico, president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. The group opposed the original bill on grounds it would lead to criminals getting away with murder.
September 8, 2011 |
When Gov. Corbett signed a law June 28 expanding the right to use deadly force outside the home, gun-control proponents predicted every thug would have a new defense to pulling the trigger. It didn't take long. Just eight days after the new "castle doctrine" law took effect, it has been raised in the defense of a North Philadelphia man charged with killing a neighbor over $100 owed in the purchase of a pit bull puppy. To be sure, there are questions about whether Lydell Johnson, 23, would qualify to use the defense in the shooting of Shane McCreery Jr., 32. First, there is the Aug. 3 date - after Corbett signed the law but before it took effect at the end of August.
December 20, 2011 |
A MAN AND his son who were shot Saturday night in a rural, hilly corner of Montgomery County had come looking for a fight, authorities said yesterday. Joshua Levin, 34, and his adopted son, Zachary Levin, 19, of Barto, Berks County, had brought baseball bats to a split-level house on Snyder Road, in Upper Frederick Township, and didn't back down when faced with a loaded handgun. Zachary Levin, a student at Boyertown Area Senior High School, was fatally shot, and Joshua Levin was shot in the arm, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said in a news release.
December 19, 2011 |
A man and his son who were shot Saturday night in a rural, hilly corner of Montgomery County had come looking for a fight, authorities said Monday. Joshua Levin, 34, and his adopted son, Zachary Levin, 19, of Barto, Berks County, had brought baseball bats to a split-level house on Snyder Road in Upper Frederick Township, and didn't back down when faced with a loaded handgun. Zachary Levin, a student at Boyertown Area Senior High School, was fatally shot, and Joshua Levin was wounded in the arm, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said in a news release.