FEATURED ARTICLES
NEWS
March 19, 2009
THE COMMITTEE of Seventy (run by the former editor of the Daily News) is a great source for voting information and a voice on ethics, but its report on the city row offices asserts their role as the kind of growling watchdog this city sorely needs. In bracing language, "Needless Jobs: Why Six Elected City Positions Should Die" makes a compelling case for eliminating the clerk of quarter sessions, the three city commissioners, the sheriff and the register of wills as independently elected offices.
BUSINESS
October 8, 2012 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
John Thompson spent 14 years on death row in Louisiana's notorious Angola state prison before he was sprung by two Philadelphia lawyers acting on a hunch. Only hours after a Louisiana state judge issued a writ of execution for Thompson, a private investigator sent by his lawyers to search the files of the New Orleans district attorney found blood evidence showing that Thompson was not guilty of one of the charges. The murder conviction was overturned and Thompson won a $14 million jury award in a lawsuit alleging prosecutorial misconduct.
NEWS
January 10, 2008 | By STEPHANIE FARR & WILLIAM BENDER, farrs@phillynews.com 215-854-4225
NICHOLAS Yarris spent 22 years on Pennsylvania's death row, convicted in 1982 of raping and murdering a Delaware County woman then dumping her body in a church parking lot. For those lost years, he has now earned $500 a day. Yesterday, Yarris, 46, received the last installment of a recent $4 million cash settlement in a malicious-prosecution lawsuit against Delaware County. The civil suit was first filed in U.S. District Court in 2004, eight months after Yarris was released from prison, having spent 8,057 days there - the first man exonerated by DNA evidence from Pennsylvania's death row. Now, Yarris must learn how to live a life not entwined with prisons, courts and that now-ambiguous word - justice.
NEWS
April 26, 1991 | by Kathy Brennan, Daily News Staff Writer
A small-time hood who spent four years on death row for a mob hit he didn't commit was sentenced yesterday to 25 months in jail on a drug rap. Neil Ferber, bracing for the worst, gripped a courtroom lectern as U.S. District Judge Thomas O'Neill imposed a sentence far below federal sentencing guidelines. He gave Ferber credit for the 45 months spent on death row. O'Neill said he did not believe the federal commission ever considered a case as "rare" as Ferber's when it drafted sentencing guidelines.
NEWS
June 4, 1998
In 1996, 3,219 people were living on death row in the United States. How many of them were there simply because they were black? It's a long-recognized fact that the death penalty has been used more often against blacks than against whites convicted of similar crimes. New state laws were supposed to change that. But research, some conducted in Philadelphia, shows that it hasn't happened. The American judicial system continues to be jury-rigged to discriminate on the basis of race.
NEWS
October 26, 1994 | by Dave Racher, Daily News Staff Writer
Ronald "Bootsy" Collins, 29, won't have to visit his brother on death row anymore. He'll soon be within shouting distance. Yesterday, after a jury ordered Collins, of Wyalusing Avenue near 55th Street, to die for two murders on April 6, 1992, Common Pleas Judge Eugene H. Clarke Jr. imposed the sentence on the emotionless defendant. His brother, Rodney Collins, 27, is awaiting execution for a separate 1992 murder. Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron said Ronald Collins shot and killed Dawn Anderson, 26, and David "Dickie" Sisco, 41, while they slept in separate bedrooms in a drug house on 60th Street near Haverford Avenue.
NEWS
January 27, 2000 | by Timothy Noah
Stuffed inside the shrink wrap alongside my subscriber copy of February's Talk magazine is a glossy new Benetton catalog titled "We, on Death Row. " This elegant advertorial product intersperses color photographs of death-row inmates with somber quotations about the evils of capital punishment from Pope John Paul II, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King Jr. and other giants of the fashion industry. The mostly one-piece garments worn by the inmates, which come in bright hues, are not, I presume, actually available at Benetton outlets.
SPORTS
February 6, 2012 | BY BOB COONEY, cooneyb@phillynews.com
BEFORE LAST WEEK, the main question posed to 76ers coach Doug Collins and his team was about the next 2 weeks, which included seven games against some of the top teams in the league. Wins against Orlando and Chicago were impressive, before Friday night's 20-point loss to the Miami Heat. In that game, the Sixers stayed close before a 15-0 run by Miami in the final quarter allowed it to pull away. After the game, forward Andre Iguodala put it best: "You have to give [Miami]
NEWS
May 7, 2006 | By Emilie Lounsberry INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
She was just 17, a tall, slender teen who loved long fingernails and gold jewelry and dreamed of one day owning a hair salon. He was 21, an aspiring singer known as "Shorty" who sang in the church choir, led his own Temptations-style band, and hoped to make it big in R&B. Chedell Williams' hopes ended in a pool of blood outside the Fern Rock train station when she was gunned down on a sunny October afternoon in 1991 - killed for her gold...
NEWS
November 26, 1986
In reference to the Nov. 8 article written about Pennsylvania death-row conditions, I agree with what Deputy Attorney General Maria Parisi Vickers said, and I am sure many more agree with her arguments. Prisoners are provided the necessities. We tend to worry too much about the comfort and conditions of prisoners on death row. What about the condition of decent, tax-paying citizens who live in worse situations? Save that money and spend it on streets, housing, health, etc. for people who try to build and support our state, not the ones who bring this state down.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
July 2, 2016
By Marc Bookman Forty years ago, on July 2, 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court put its imprimatur on capital punishment in the case of Gregg v. Georgia . This was a surprising development. Only four years earlier, the court had struck down death-penalty laws across the country, declaring the death penalty "cruel and unusual in the same way as being struck by lightning is cruel and unusual. " In other words, the laws did not target those most deserving of the maximum punishment, instead making death sentences a random occurrence.
NEWS
June 11, 2016 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Staff Writer
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that former Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille was wrong to participate in an appeal from a death-row inmate whose prosecution he oversaw nearly three decades before. In a 5-3 split, the justices ordered a new hearing for Terrance Williams, finding that Castille's involvement in hearing the case when it came before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2014 violated Williams' constitutional rights. The decision served as a sharp rebuke to Castille, one of the Pennsylvania legal system's most towering figures in recent years.
NEWS
April 12, 2016 | By Michaelle Bond, Staff Writer
The crime was horrific: LaQuanta Chapman fatally shot his teenage neighbor, then dismembered him with a chainsaw. The Chester County District Attorney's Office promised it would seek the death penalty - and it delivered. Chapman was sent to death row in December 2012. But he remains very much alive, and two weeks ago the state Supreme Court reversed his death sentence, citing prosecutorial error. Chapman is just the latest example of a death-row inmate spared execution. In fact, no one has been executed in Pennsylvania since Philadelphia torturer-murderer Gary Heidnik in 1999.
NEWS
October 3, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia death-row inmate who has become an unlikely poster child in the state's ongoing fight over the morality of capital punishment has received one more chance to potentially fend off his execution, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court. That court agreed Thursday to scrutinize the role played in the case by a major figure in the recent history of Pennsylvania courts and Philadelphia politics: Ronald D. Castille. The high court announced it would take up the appeal by Terrance Williams, convicted in the 1984 beating death of a Germantown church deacon, who argues that Pennsylvania's former chief justice should not have taken part in a decision to uphold his punishment last year.
NEWS
August 25, 2015 | By Claudia Vargas, Inquirer Staff Writer
When Kareem Johnson killed Walter Smith outside a North Philadelphia nightclub, prosecutors said, he shot him at such close range that Smith's blood splashed onto Johnson's red Air Jordan baseball cap. That cap helped convict him. "That hat that was left at the scene in the middle of the street has Kareem Johnson's sweat on it and has Walter Smith's blood on it," Assistant District Attorney Michael Barry told jurors. "DNA is a witness. It is a silent, unflappable witness. " But he was wrong.
NEWS
July 10, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - Calling Gov. Wolf's moratorium on the death penalty "an egregious violation" of the state constitution, Pennsylvania's top prosecutor is asking its Supreme Court to clear the path for the state's first execution in more than a decade. In a filing Wednesday, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane asked the court to allow the execution of Hubert L. Michael Jr., who confessed to murdering a York County teenager two decades ago. Kane argued that it is "blatantly unconstitutional" for Wolf to stay all death sentences, and that allowing Wolf's moratorium to stand would effectively grant him the authority to ignore any laws with which he does not agree.
NEWS
April 10, 2015
WOULD YOU step on a cockroach in the kitchen? Would you step on a cockroach who built a bomb in a kitchen and used it to injure 260 Americans and kill three, one an 8-year-old boy who was cut in half? Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, is a cockroach. That's how I will refer to him from here on. A jury found the cockroach guilty on all 30 counts, thanks mostly to security cameras in public places that recorded his every move, along with his brother, another cockroach, two years ago. The seven-woman, five-man jury has the weekend off and next week is expected to embark on the punishment phase, meaning they can impose the death penalty.
NEWS
March 5, 2015 | By Jason Laughlin, Inquirer Staff Writer
A man on death row will not be executed Wednesday, after the state's highest court denied the Philadelphia district attorney's request to an expedited decision on a petition seeking to overturn Gov. Wolf's temporary reprieve. Terry Williams, 48, was sentenced to die in 1984 for the killing of Amos Norwood, a 56-year-old Germantown church volunteer. In February, Wolf issued a temporary reprieve on all executions, saying he wanted to see the results of a long-delayed report on the state's death penalty first.
NEWS
February 20, 2015 | By Robert Moran, Inquirer Staff Writer
Suggesting that Gov. Wolf is acting like a despot rejecting the rule of law based on his personal disapproval, District Attorney Seth Williams on Wednesday petitioned the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to overturn the governor's moratorium on the death penalty. "Our constitution does not allow the governor to satisfy his own personal opinions by halting a capital murderer's sentence that was authorized by state statute, imposed by a unanimous Philadelphia jury, and upheld by state and federal courts," Williams said in announcing his petition.
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