February 20, 2016 |
Mayor Kenney has named veteran Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner as deputy managing director for criminal justice. Announcing the appointment Thursday, Kenney cited Lerner's decades of work in the criminal justice system, which includes 16 years as the judge who supervises pretrial matters in every homicide case in the city. "I am confident his passion and expertise will give him the ability to build on our current momentum surrounding the MacArthur grant proposal," the mayor said in a statement.
August 11, 2015 |
The allegations were startling: Prosecutors said parents had starved their 6-year-old to the point that he looked like a child from a Third World country. But something didn't seem right to Keir Bradford-Grey, who was the new Montgomery County chief public defender when the case began in 2012. She dug into the case and learned that the boy had not been neglected, but had a medical condition that kept him from absorbing nutrients. After taking her findings to prosecutors, both sides agreed to a pre-trial diversion program so the family could stay together while officials monitored the boy's treatment.
April 21, 2015 |
Jerold G. Klevit, 77, an administrative law judge who handled workers compensation cases for 30 years for the state of Pennsylvania, died Friday, April 17, of kidney failure at Abington Hospital. He lived at Rydal Park in Jenkintown. Born in Washington, Mr. Klevit moved when he was 8 to West Oak Lane. He graduated from Central High School, then Lehigh University in 1959, and the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1962. After serving as a law clerk for a federal judge in Wilmington, Mr. Klevit joined the Philadelphia firm Lipschultz & Chalfin in 1963.
December 11, 2014 |
Ellen Greenlee, the longtime head of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, who began her professional life as a high school language teacher and went on to develop and expand one of the nation's most prominent public-interest law agencies, on Tuesday announced her retirement effective March 1, 2015. Greenlee has served for 40 years with the association, which provides legal representation to thousands of low-income people in Philadelphia each year. For about 25 years, she has been chief defender.
July 9, 2014 |
Mandatory minimum sentences for gun- and drug-related offenses are in limbo across Pennsylvania, delaying trials and causing confusion in hundreds of cases as courts grapple with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued last year. Despite the frustrations, some in the legal community are hoping the turbulence will draw fresh attention to a hotly disputed practice and stimulate further debate. The issue bubbled up in Bucks County in June, when five county judges signed an opinion siding with an alleged heroin dealer whose attorney had argued that the mandatory minimum sentences she was facing were unconstitutional.
January 8, 2014 |
THE MORNING OF FEB. 7, Rasheed Kellam had a full schedule. He picked up his tax-refund check, visited his doctor, cashed the check, checked in with his parole officer, grabbed his blood-pressure medication from Rite Aid and got a hot dog at 7-Eleven. Then, steps outside his Feltonville home, he got arrested. For nearly a year, he sat in a city jail, unsure why exactly. In that time, a secret grand jury investigated and eventually indicted him in a home-invasion robbery targeting a couple who lived a half-mile away from him. An easy alibi Two months before his trial, prosecutors sent Kellam's lawyer the evidence they had against him - which became the key to his exoneration.
October 10, 2013 |
The Nutter administration plans to pay $9.5 million annually to a law firm that would represent the poor in cases where the Defender Association of Philadelphia has a conflict. It would replace the current network of more than 300 outside lawyers at multiple firms. This is a profound mistake, because the firm would replace a broken model with a cheaper one and expect better results. Outside counsel is assigned when there are multiple defendants or the client is a witness in an existing case.
October 8, 2013 |
The Nutter administration is poised to pay $9.5 million to hire a private law firm to represent the poor in cases where the public defender has a conflict, despite the protests of the Philadelphia Bar Association, City Council members, and many of the private attorneys who now handle indigent clients. In recent years, court-appointed attorneys have taken as many as 27,000 cases that the Defender Association of Philadelphia could not. Typically, less than a fourth of those cases are criminal matters.
July 11, 2013 |
It took Michelle Dargan, 52, two decades to find a second chance. She ran with the wrong crowd in high school, she said. She did speed and drank Thunderbird. Sexual abuse and a son soon followed. Her reliance on drugs and alcohol increased and led her to a life on Kensington Avenue - and quite an arrest record. Starting in 1989, she was arrested for prostitution 17 times and convicted seven. She hadn't been off probation since, she said, until now. She's on a new path, thanks to the public defender who referred her last year to Project Dawn Court, an alternative justice and rehabilitation program that aims to address the problems that lead women to and trap them in prostitution.
March 21, 2013 |
James Cheatham is a forgiving man, but after getting robbed of $60 on his birthday while trying to perform an act of kindness, he had little reservation about testifying in court. Plus, the 45-year-old father of three from Queen Village had a subpoena to show up in court about the September incident, and he knew he couldn't ignore it. Which is why Cheatham was confused when, he says, a public defender called him twice before a scheduled February trial to tell him he didn't have to worry about court - that there was nothing a judge would do if he didn't show.