January 11, 2005 |
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.
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.
February 3, 1995 |
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.
January 20, 2011 |
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.
January 5, 2005 |
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.
April 20, 1998 |
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.
January 24, 1995 |
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.
January 6, 2005 |
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.
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.
February 11, 2005
One year ago this morning, 10-year-old Faheem Thomas-Childs was like any other child who might have seen his shadow and his breath while walking to school in sunshine and 34-degree weather. What he did not see - what no child should see coming around a corner - were the monsters whose fingers curled around the triggers of as many as seven weapons. A bullet shot from a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun entered Faheem's skull. Scores of casings and bullet fragments lay scattered around the two-block crime scene in North Philadelphia.