December 6, 1995 |
In other courtrooms, witnesses testified about murder, drugs and theft. But it was Phillies centerfielder Lenny Dykstra in Courtroom 2 who grabbed everyone's attention in the Chester County Courthouse yesterday. No, Dykstra has not run afoul of the law. The Devon resident's visit to West Chester concerned a civil appeal of his plans to build a Dykstra's Car Wash in Tredyffrin. The zoning board there had rejected his car wash plans, saying that the proposed 33,000-square-foot facility - complete with automated car wash, vacuum cleaners and, of course, baseball memorabilia - was too big for the plot he has purchased at the busy intersection of East Swedesford and Valley Forge Roads.
October 31, 1987 |
Legal proceedings gave way to monkey business in Mount Holly yesterday as the spirit of Halloween came to Superior Court. The first inkling came when Judge Cornelius P. Sullivan was asked to preside over the unplanned arraignment and bail hearing of G. O. Rilla. Rilla was charged with illegally importing more than 500 pounds of bananas, Assistant Prosecutor Lewis Jackson said amid stifled giggles from the audience. The defendant and object of the giggles was a brown, furry gorilla.
February 19, 2009 |
John Pawlowski's portrait was back on a table by a Municipal Court bench in the 35th Police District yesterday, a day after a judge set off a firestorm of protests from police when he turned the picture of the slain officer facedown. As officers continued to simmer over Judge Craig M. Washington's action, another judge - William A. Meehan - took Washington's place in the dual courtroom/police roll-call room. Before conducting the court's business of the day, Meehan asked those in the room to stand for a moment of silence for Pawlowski, who was shot dead Friday when he intervened in an argument.
December 8, 1989 |
Billie Sol Estes strode up to the prosecutor who has been investigating him for two years, smiled broadly and extended his hand. "Good morning," Estes said. "Good morning," a surprised Ron Sutton replied, returning the handshake. With that greeting, the man who some call the shrewdest con man in Texas history returned to court yesterday. This time, the convicted swindler and former confidant of President Lyndon B. Johnson faces felony charges of conspiring to steal vital blueprints from a local firm.
December 17, 2002
I AM OUTRAGED over the mistreatment suffered by myself and numerous other Philadelphians in Judge Peter Rogers' courtroom on Dec. 5, the date of this winter's first snowstorm. A friend had a criminal case listed before Judge Rogers. Concerned about the impact of the storm, my friend's family and I diligently listened to the radio and placed calls to the court, and were informed that the courts and city offices were open. So we left the house early, trudged through the snow and ice, and boarded public transportation to get to the Criminal Justice Center.
June 6, 2003 |
Eight-year-old kidnap victim Erica Pratt took the witness stand with a big smile yesterday in a crowded courtroom in the Criminal Justice Center, but soon the engaging little girl in the pink pants suit turned shy and then glum. Despite a prosecutor's gentle efforts to ask her about the ordeal in which she was snatched off the street July 22 and held for $150,000 ransom, Erica was unable to identify James Burns, the man on trial in Common Pleas Court charged with her abduction.
January 14, 1990 |
Assistant District Attorney Vincent W. Furlong yesterday applauded the sentencing of a reputed Junior Black Mafia enforcer who had carried a loaded pistol into a Philadelphia courtroom to intimidate a witness. Ronald "Rock" Mason, 19, was sentenced Friday by Municipal Court Judge Louis G.F. Retacco to 2 1/2 to five years in prison for carrying a 9mm semiautomatic handgun into a June court hearing. Mason's presence allegedly frightened a witness into recanting testimony given earlier to police.
March 6, 2013 |
WITNESS intimidation reared its head in a Philadelphia courtroom once again Tuesday, prompting a judge to smack the intimidator with the long arm of the law. "The message needs to get out - this isn't the street; it's a courtroom. Giving a statement is not a badge of dishonor," Common Pleas Judge Charles Ehrlich said before revoking bail for Gerald Andrews, 35, who is charged with buying a gun for a felon. Just before Ehrlich entered for Andrews' pretrial hearing, the defendant called a case witness in the courtroom a "snitch.
January 19, 1988 |
Alvis E. Mapp Jr., drug dealer and car wash owner, was a happy man on Oct. 7, 1986, when he learned his cocaine-possession case had been assigned to Courtroom 313 in City Hall. "I jumped for joy," Mapp testified yesterday in federal court. Room 313 was the courtroom of Common Pleas Judge Kenneth S. Harris. Mapp, a government witness in the racketeering case against Harris and two others, testified that he and a partner paid Harris associate Thomas Henshaw $500 to fix Mapp's drug case.
July 9, 1997 |
Courtrooms are not sports arenas. When courtroom adversaries are out to win, both sides lose. The purpose of litigation, in theory, is to arrive at the truth. But in practice, courtrooms have been used to set might against right, with survival of the fittest taking precedence over justice. If this country should have learned anything from recent courtroom antics, it would be how life and justice have little in common. People who cannot afford lawyers rarely get their legitimate complaints into an arena where right and law can be upheld.