June 25, 2016 |
He is past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and during a career of more than 40 years has represented accused killers Ira Einhorn, Amanda Knox, and Robert Durst. But on Thursday, Center City lawyer Theodore Simon, 65, was in a Philadelphia courtroom as the accuser. The case was Commonwealth v. Rico Clark - the defendant being a 27-year-old Norristown man accused of picking a rubber-banded wad of cash from the pocket of Simon's suit jacket and leading him on a foot chase that ended with Clark's arrest several blocks away.
February 5, 2016 |
Veteran prosecutors, using such words as extraordinary and unusual, said they were puzzled by the promise by former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. never to prosecute comedian Bill Cosby. Such deals rarely happen, the prosecutors said, simply because it is impossible to know what new information might emerge. And when the deals do emerge, they said, it is critical to get the agreement in writing. Castor testified Tuesday at a hearing on the aggravated indecent-assault charge against Cosby that his 2005 announcement not to file criminal charges amounted to a pledge that his office, and his successors, had dropped the case forever.
September 26, 2015 |
TRENTON - The New Jersey Supreme Court on Thursday relaxed the standard by which police may search an automobile without obtaining a warrant, ruling that the current test "does not provide greater liberty or security" to the state's residents "and has placed on law enforcement unrealistic and impracticable burdens. " With the 5-2 decision, the high court reversed precedent, finding that its previous standard had resulted in unintended consequences such as a surge in consent searches and prolonged roadside stops.
August 7, 2015 |
IT SEEMED as if Richard Johnson was always looking after society's underdogs. As a criminal-defense lawyer, his concern for his clients extended well beyond the courtroom. "He wanted to encourage his clients to turn their lives around," said his daughter, Diahnne. "He tried to show them there was a better way to live. " And when Richard worked for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, one of his jobs was to make sure minority workers got a fair shake. Richard Ernest Johnson, who opened his own law office in Center City in the mid-'70s, a history and news junkie who devoured newspapers and magazines and kept up with TV news shows, and a devoted family patriarch, died of heart failure July 31. He was 89 and lived in Center City.
May 13, 2015 |
Before DNA testing became the gold standard in forensic science, hair analysis was often a prosecutor's trump card. Developed by the FBI's vaunted crime lab, microscopic hair analysis - comparing a hair found at a crime scene with one from a criminal defendant - as described in polished, confident testimony by an FBI hair analyst, could seal a guilty verdict. Now, an ongoing FBI hair-analysis review - preliminary results were announced April 20 - recommends a wholesale look at cases in which testimony about microscopic hair analysis contributed to a guilty verdict.
November 26, 2014 |
One veteran Philadelphia civil rights lawyer found the evidence exonerating Officer Darren Wilson murky. There were no accounts of Michael Brown's appearing to reach for a gun, no flash of something silver, the lawyer said. Another defense lawyer said he was both bemused and surprised to see all the attention paid by the grand jury to exculpatory evidence. "Did that happen because it was [about] a police officer?" the lawyer asked. "I think the answer is probably yes. " But a former prosecutor who won convictions against Philadelphia police for brutality was won over.
October 27, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - Taking a hard line, Democratic leaders in the state House have decided not to pay legal bills for four Philadelphia legislators alleged to have pocketed cash in a sting investigation. In the past, both Republican and Democratic legislative leaders have often chosen to pay for criminal defense lawyers for lawmakers and staff caught up in corruption investigations up until they were formally charged. State Rep. Frank Dermody, a veteran lawmaker from north of Pittsburgh who leads the Democrats in the GOP-controlled House, declined to comment, but the decision seems to reflect stark facts: Sources and investigative documents say the four Democrats were caught on video or audio accepting a total of $18,500, and did not report the gifts on their financial-disclosure forms.
October 19, 2014 |
Services for William H. Buckman, 61, of Cherry Hill, a prominent civil rights lawyer, were set for 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19, at Platt Memorial Chapels, 2001 Berlin Rd., Cherry Hill. A visitation was set there from 12:15 p.m. Sunday, with interment in Roosevelt Memorial Park, Trevose. Mr. Buckman was found dead in a Mount Laurel motel room on Tuesday, Oct. 14. Mount Laurel police said Thursday that he had committed suicide, but did not state the circumstances. Surviving are his wife, Shellie; son Ethan; daughter Emilee; two brothers; a sister; and a nephew.
August 21, 2014 |
Two years ago, a veteran police narcotics officer was labeled a liar by a Philadelphia judge who tossed evidence seized from an alleged drug dealer, destroying the prosecution's case. The Philadelphia Police Department has removed Christopher Hulmes from street duty pending the outcome of an Internal Affairs investigation; the city has paid $150,000 to settle a civil-rights lawsuit against him, and another is pending in federal court. But Hulmes told another Philadelphia judge on Tuesday that he was telling the truth about the June 14 arrest of alleged Kensington drug buyer Richard Hill.
June 20, 2014 |
Gov. Corbett on Wednesday signed legislation that targets youth coaches who have sex with players, closing a loophole that allowed coaches unaffiliated with a school to escape felony charges if victims were 16 or older. The new law is the latest in a string of acts passed to better protect children since the scandal involving serial child molester Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach at Pennsylvania State University Since that controversy broke in 2009, 11 coaches in the Philadelphia region have been charged with having or attempting to have sex with players.