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Gun Court

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NEWS
January 11, 2005 | By Jacqueline Soteropoulos INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The city launched its new "gun court" program yesterday with 44 cases on Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart's docket. The first defendant was a 48-year-old man who had never before been in trouble with the law. Defense attorney Jeremy Gelb called Joseph Washington's October actions "a very stupid error, and it's unfortunate. " Washington was a passenger in a car on his way to work when his friend ignored a stop sign near 40th and Spruce Streets. The car had stolen license plates.
NEWS
September 29, 2011
WE ALL should be disturbed at the news that a special gun court is shutting down because of budget cuts, especially coming, as it does, during a week in which four people were shot in one night, including a 2-year-old. Created in 2005 to try to reduce violence from illegal gun possessions, the gun court, within Common Pleas Court, was designed to provide more heavily supervised probation and education for offenders. The creation of the court followed the shooting death of 10-year-old Faheem Thomas-Childs, and was jointly announced by then-District Attorney Lynne Abraham, the U.S. Attorney's Office, then-Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson, and state Rep. Dwight Evans.
NEWS
February 3, 1995 | By Michael Matza, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Inside the wood-paneled courtroom where Judge John P. Bourcier does business, the scales of justice weigh heavy. Boucier's domain is called "gun court," and those who enter it in handcuffs often end up behind bars for years. It's not unusual for the judge to add 45 years on top of a mandatory life sentence for those who commit crimes with gun in hand. That way, says the man nicknamed "Maximum John," when the convict becomes eligible for parole after serving 15 years of a "life" sentence, he'll have to serve at least an additional 22 years.
NEWS
January 5, 2005 | By Vernon Clark INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Aiming to reduce gun violence in Philadelphia, a coalition of city, state and federal officials will announce plans today to open a "gun court. " Beginning Monday, the special court will be in a single courtroom at the Criminal Justice Center, 1301 Filbert St. It will be presided over by a Common Pleas Court judge. Under the plan issued in September, $525,000 in state money will be used to establish the gun court. State Reps. Dwight Evans, a Democrat, and John M. Perzel, a Republican, and District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham are set to present details at a 10 a.m. news conference in Courtroom 653, City Hall.
NEWS
January 20, 2011 | By Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writer
In 2009, Philadelphia police arrested Edwardo Pedraza, a convicted drug dealer, yet again. This time, they said, they ran him down and caught him on a Kensington street after he tossed away two 9mm handguns. But a Common Pleas Court judge, Paula A. Patrick, ruled that police had lacked reasonable suspicion to pursue Pedraza, and that the guns could not be used as evidence against him. On Wednesday, a three-judge Superior Court panel reversed Patrick and pumped new life into the prosecution of Pedraza.
NEWS
April 20, 1998 | By Craig R. McCoy and Clea Benson, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
In a city where most residents are eligible to get a concealed weapons permit, Henry Reese Jr. was one of the few unlucky ones: Philadelphia police had turned him down for a license to carry a gun. Reese really wanted one. And he wouldn't take no for an answer. And so, the other day, he waited his turn in a hearing room 15 floors above Arch Street to appeal his case to a panel of civilian appointees in what could be called Gun Court. "I never did a robbery with any weapons at all," implored Reese, a 36-year-old with a bushy beard, a rhinestone stud in his left ear and a well-ironed blue mechanic's uniform.
NEWS
January 24, 1995 | By Edward Colimore and Larry Lewis, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
Reacting to the increasing number of killings here - 12 so far this year - Camden City and County officials yesterday urged the establishment of a "gun court" to speed the prosecution of crimes involving firearms, and called on the state to help rebuild the city's dormant Violent Crimes Task Force. They also proposed a new work schedule that would make better use of Camden police manpower and asked the governor to restore a $1 million state grant that was set aside to rehire sheriff's officers but lost because of a bureaucratic lapse.
NEWS
January 6, 2005 | By Vernon Clark INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Noting other states' success in prosecuting armed suspects, city, state and federal officials yesterday announced the creation of a "gun court" in Philadelphia to help reduce violence from illegal possession of firearms. Hailing the new court, which will begin hearing cases on Monday at Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, State Rep. Dwight Evans, Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham, U.S. Attorney Patrick L. Meehan, and others said the gun court is one part of an overall strategy against gun violence in Philadelphia.
NEWS
May 2, 2011
Philadelphia primary voters will face a bewildering number of candidates vying for one of 11 seats on the city courts, while two low-profile contests for the Pennsylvania appellate courts play out at the polls statewide on May 17. The Inquirer Editorial Board offers the following recommendations: As the workhorse of the appellate bench, handling all criminal and civil appeals apart from those pertaining to government issues, Superior Court would...
NEWS
July 9, 2004
Here are four more reasons why an impressive group of city, state and federal officials - along with civic activists - must persist in stemming violence against children: The 8-year-old Kensington girl who was shot in the neck and leg Monday as she sat on her front steps; Malik Upchurch, 15, who was shot dead while riding his bicycle in Grays Ferry last week. His was the 29th killing of a school-age child in Philadelphia since the school year began last September. Twelve-year-old Brian Pressley, wounded by gunfire from a passing SUV last week in East Frankford; Dante Formosa, a 12-year-old who was watching fireworks at the Art Museum when a bullet grazed his foot.
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NEWS
September 30, 2011
PHILADELPHIA'S Gun Court - a seven-year "experiment" - will be closing at the end of the year due to funding issues. Court officials reportedly have "no data" on whether the court succeeded in preventing future gun crimes by the defendants. Seriously? No data after being in existence for seven long years? In other words, Gun Court was just another tax-funded government program that ultimately proved to be a complete failure! Rob Boyden Drexel Hill Term limits for bozos Term limits for all elected offices.
NEWS
September 29, 2011
WE ALL should be disturbed at the news that a special gun court is shutting down because of budget cuts, especially coming, as it does, during a week in which four people were shot in one night, including a 2-year-old. Created in 2005 to try to reduce violence from illegal gun possessions, the gun court, within Common Pleas Court, was designed to provide more heavily supervised probation and education for offenders. The creation of the court followed the shooting death of 10-year-old Faheem Thomas-Childs, and was jointly announced by then-District Attorney Lynne Abraham, the U.S. Attorney's Office, then-Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson, and state Rep. Dwight Evans.
NEWS
September 28, 2011 | By Nathan Gorenstein, Inquirer Staff Writer
A seven-year experiment with a specialized court for illegal gun possession in Philadelphia is going to end, a victim of shrinking resources. Whether "Gun Court" successfully prevented more serious crimes is unknown. Established in 2005 in reaction to the high number of firearms violations and the 2004 death of 10-year-old Faheem Thomas-Childs in a cross fire outside his school in North Philadelphia, no comprehensive study has been done to measure the court's long-term effectiveness.
NEWS
May 2, 2011
Philadelphia primary voters will face a bewildering number of candidates vying for one of 11 seats on the city courts, while two low-profile contests for the Pennsylvania appellate courts play out at the polls statewide on May 17. The Inquirer Editorial Board offers the following recommendations: As the workhorse of the appellate bench, handling all criminal and civil appeals apart from those pertaining to government issues, Superior Court would...
NEWS
January 20, 2011 | By Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writer
In 2009, Philadelphia police arrested Edwardo Pedraza, a convicted drug dealer, yet again. This time, they said, they ran him down and caught him on a Kensington street after he tossed away two 9mm handguns. But a Common Pleas Court judge, Paula A. Patrick, ruled that police had lacked reasonable suspicion to pursue Pedraza, and that the guns could not be used as evidence against him. On Wednesday, a three-judge Superior Court panel reversed Patrick and pumped new life into the prosecution of Pedraza.
NEWS
December 19, 2010 | By Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writer
To police and prosecutors, they were all good gun pinches. In one case, police spotted two men in a car prowling a West Philadelphia neighborhood - both wearing bandannas masking their faces up to their noses. After officers got the men out of their Pontiac, they found two handguns under the front seat. In another, officers in Kensington tackled a man who pulled a handgun after they moved in to break up a suspected drug-sales operation. Police recovered a .45-caliber handgun. In a third, a North Philadelphia man dumped two guns as he ran from police.
NEWS
March 4, 2010
A gun-rights decision by the Supreme Court two years ago threatened to make it more dangerous to walk the streets of Washington. Now the top court's conservative voting bloc seems intent upon expanding the risk to other U.S. cities by dismantling strong gun-violence safeguards. Chicago's long-standing handgun ban came into the crosshairs of the National Rifle Association this week, as the group sought to extend the reach of the court's earlier ruling that the Second Amendment protects individual gun rights.
NEWS
October 29, 2009 | By Michael Matza INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Fittingly, Michael Untermeyer plans to watch Tuesday's election returns at a Society Hill pub called the Dark Horse, near his office at Second and Pine Streets. In a city dominated by diehard Democrats, the Republican candidate for Philadelphia district attorney faces daunting odds: Just 13 percent of the electorate shares his party affiliation. On the campaign trail and in his advertising, Untermeyer pitches hard for crossover voters, using frustration with "revolving-door justice" as his rallying cry. "Enough is enough," he repeats above the wail of a siren in TV ads peppered with squad cars, ambulances, a sheet-covered body, and flashing blue lights.
NEWS
February 8, 2006 | By MICHAEL P. TREMOGLIE
THERE WAS an average of about one murder a day in Philadelphia last year, the most homicides in about seven years. One of the reasons, according to the mayor and police commissioner, is that guns are too easy to obtain in Philadelphia. If easy access to guns were responsible for homicides, then gun clubs would be the most dangerous places on the planet. But it isn't - and they aren't. In 1998, the city was also trying to solve the homicide problem. The city brain trust created a Youth Violence Task Force that included such liberal luminaries as Temple law school professor David Kairys, whose solution to the spate of murders was to sue gun manufacturers.
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