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NEWS
July 26, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
The former "hanging judge" of Philadelphia Traffic Court - a man so known for meting out tough justice to scofflaws that colleagues nicknamed him "the Terminator" - caught a break Friday when it came time for him to face up to his own crimes. Fortunato N. Perri Sr., 78, was sentenced to two years of federal probation for using his influence to have dozens of traffic tickets tossed in exchange for bribes of shrimp, crab cakes, and pornographic videos. The sentence was nothing less than an act of mercy for a man who once sentenced a driver to two years in jail for racking up $20,000 in traffic fines, but told him he would rather "give [him]
NEWS
July 23, 2015 | By Ben Finley, Inquirer Staff Writer
Gov. Wolf on Tuesday asked the state Supreme Court to ignore Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane's challenge to his death-penalty moratorium, arguing that the justices had already decided to consider a similar petition brought by the Philadelphia district attorney. In a court filing that responds to Kane's petition, Wolf also repeated the claim he has made since February: That he has the right under the state constitution to temporarily stay executions as he awaits a Senate report on capital punishment.
NEWS
July 20, 2015 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
A MAN WHO voiced displeasure outside a Criminal Justice Center courtroom in April - after which cops confronted him and a female public defender came to his aid - pleaded guilty yesterday to a summary offense of disorderly conduct. Under a negotiated plea deal between the prosecution and the defense, Anthony C. Jones, 23, was then sentenced by Municipal Judge Charles Hayden to "no further penalty. " Jones' case made news because the public defender who came to his aid, Paula Sen, reportedly was punched in the head by a cop who was trying to tackle Jones.
NEWS
July 20, 2015 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
JEAN-MAURICE Casseus, a former Philadelphia court employee, poured out his anger at his sentencing hearing yesterday. "I lost my job. I've been vilified in the press," he said. "They lie about a lot of things about me. " Casseus, 51, of Mayfair, a Haitian immigrant and a naturalized U.S. citizen, asked Common Pleas Judge Sandy Byrd to allow him to remain in his community and with his church so he could share his experiences with young people. His attorney, Ronald A. Smith, also asked the judge not to impose a prison sentence on Casseus.
NEWS
July 19, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
He lost his courthouse job, his marriage was strained, and he was publicly vilified and humiliated. All in all, Jean Maurice Casseus' sentence of six to 12 months of house arrest and four years' probation Friday for patronizing a prostitute he later learned was 15 years old was anticlimactic. Even Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Sandy L.V. Byrd noted that "some might say he has paid quite a heavy price" for the June 7, 2012, rendezvous at the Days Inn on Roosevelt Boulevard near Adams Avenue in Crescentville.
NEWS
July 18, 2015 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
Gov. Christie called Thursday for broad changes to the criminal justice system, using his record in New Jersey - and Camden in particular - as a platform for his presidential campaign. Speaking at a community center in North Camden, Christie advocated expanding drug courts; proposed ideas to help ex-convicts succeed when they get out of jail; and, echoing a speech President Obama delivered in the city in May, held up Camden's community policing strategy as a national model. "Peace on our streets is more than just the absence of violence," Christie said in a 38-minute campaign speech before about a hundred people, including some living in a nearby halfway house and involved with the nonprofit Volunteers of America.
NEWS
July 14, 2015 | By Chris Brennan, Inquirer Columnist
The Nov. 3 general election for three open seats on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was already shaping up as a doozy. A Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge appears ready to turn that race even more on its ear. Paul Panepinto, a judge for 24 years, left the Republican Party on March 26, registering to vote as an independent. That makes him eligible to run for the state's highest court without a party label. The race already includes three Democrats and three Republicans.
SPORTS
July 13, 2015 | By Mike Sielski, Inquirer Columnist
Once the news came down like a hammer early Saturday afternoon - a second surgery, a second lost season, and maybe a lost career for 76ers center Joel Embiid - the only thing to do was to start making phone calls. The phone calls were not about the Sixers' future or the wisdom of their decision to take Embiid with the No. 3 selection in last year's NBA draft. The former is unknowable, and the latter is immaterial. People have dug in on the Embiid pick. Either you recognize that the Sixers took a calculated risk in drafting Embiid - that the potential reward of his talent was worth the chance that a 7-foot, 250-pound man who already had broken the navicular bone in his right foot might have additional foot problems - or you believe that general manager Sam Hinkie should have been more conservative, that he should have drafted a lesser, healthier player or traded out of the No. 3 slot altogether.
NEWS
July 12, 2015 | By Maria Panaritis, Inquirer Staff Writer
The owner of a pop-up beer garden in Point Breeze won a court order against the city Friday when a judge ruled that he could reopen while fighting a zoning dispute that shut down the venue the day before. John Longacre said he would reopen his nascent beer garden on Saturday. "I couldn't believe it," Longacre said minutes after emerging from a 31/2-hour hearing before Municipal Court Judge Nina Wright Padilla that began at 3 p.m. "It's a big, big deal. " Longacre said Padilla heard testimony before lifting a cease-and-desist order issued by the Department of Licenses and Inspections against the beer garden, which debuted in May on a long-vacant lot on Point Breeze Avenue near 22d and Tasker Streets.
NEWS
July 11, 2015 | By Maria Panaritis, Inquirer Staff Writer
A pop-up beer garden in Philadelphia's Point Breeze neighborhood was shut down Thursday after city inspectors said it violated the zoning code. The cease-and-desist order from the Department of Licenses and Inspections enraged property owner John Longacre and left Councilman Kenyatta Johnson wondering what could be done to reopen what one aide said was a well-received newcomer on a long-vacant lot at 22d and Tasker Streets. The lot is zoned residential. L&I said a seasonal outpost for serving beer, an increasingly popular concept across the city, was prohibited under such zoning.
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