August 9, 2014 |
Judges have twice posed the same question to federal prosecutors seeking to detain six former Philadelphia narcotics officers as they await trial on corruption charges: Is there any evidence to suggest that the ex-members of the Narcotics Field Unit have attempted to harass or threaten those who speak out against them? Prosecutors have offered little to suggest as much in court - most recently Thursday, as U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno affirmed a lower court's order releasing four of the former officers on house arrest.
June 29, 2014 |
Demolition contractor Griffin Campbell will remain in prison pending trial in last June's disastrous Center City building collapse, a Philadelphia judge ruled Friday. Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner said the Pennsylvania constitution did not give him discretion to grant the bail motion filed by Campbell's attorney, William D. Hobson. The constitution permits bail for all crimes except where the possible penalty is death or life in prison. Although Campbell, 50, is charged with six counts of third-degree murder, state sentencing law includes a provision for mandatory life in prison without parole for someone convicted of two or more counts of third-degree murder.
April 17, 2014 |
WEST CHESTER A West Chester woman convicted of Medicaid fraud and stealing money meant for her 22-year-old autistic daughter was sentenced to 12 years on probation Tuesday and must pay back about $180,000. Michelle Cohen, 52, will have to pay more than $160,000 to the state Department of Public Welfare and $19,400 to the West Chester Area School District, as well as more than $20,000 to the state for the cost of prosecuting her, Judge Jacqueline C. Cody said. Cohen will serve the first six months of her sentence under house arrest and do 250 hours of community service after that.
March 29, 2014 |
The judge said he couldn't believe the sentence he was imposing. A "gift," he called it - three months' house arrest and six years' probation for a former Philadelphia police officer who took $5,000 and skipped court so a man he arrested on gun charges could skate free. "It was an honest mistake, but the worst decision I ever made," Jonathan Lazarde said Thursday before his sentencing by Common Pleas Court Judge Robert P. Coleman. The judge seemed surprised by the statement and, before sentencing Lazarde, seemed to be reconsidering.
March 28, 2014 |
"AN HONEST mistake" is how disgraced ex-cop Jonathan Lazarde yesterday described the extortion scheme he undertook last year that ended his career and resulted in his pleading guilty in January. "It was the worst decision I ever made," Lazarde, 28, added during his sentencing hearing in Common Pleas Court. "I'm still stuck on 'an honest mis-take,' " Judge Robert P. Coleman said after Lazarde spoke. The judge told Lazarde misconduct like his leads to distrust of police and makes it harder for prosecutors to win convictions.
February 1, 2014 |
COLLINGDALE A former Collingdale councilman accused of stealing almost $3 million from his former employer to feed a gambling habit has been placed under house arrest. James Bryan, 45, was arraigned Wednesday night on charges of theft and forgery. Over several years, he frequented Harrah's Philadelphia in Chester two or three times a week and spent up to $2,000 per visit, according to the Delaware County District Attorney's Office. In addition to Bryan's gambling addiction, medical and family issues also were motives in the thefts, said Michael Diamondstein, his attorney.
December 21, 2013 |
Eugene Gilyard was a street-corner drug dealer when he and Lance Felder were sent to prison 15 years ago for killing North Philadelphia businessman Thomas Keal, 52, during a robbery. Last month, when a judge ruled that both men had been wrongly convicted of murder and ordered that they be placed under house arrest, the 34-year-old Gilyard, by now married to a woman he had never lived with, entered - with restrictions - a world that had left him long behind. Last Friday, Common Pleas Court Judge Rose Marie DeFino-Nastasi ended their house arrest.
December 15, 2013 |
TWO PHILADELPHIA men who were granted a new trial in October after spending 15 years in prison for a murder they claim they did not commit received an early Christmas present yesterday: A judge freed them from house arrest. The ruling by Common Pleas Judge Rose Marie DeFino-Nastasi allows Eugene Gilyard and Lance Felder the opportunity to seek employment while awaiting retrial for the 1995 slaying of North Philly businessman Thomas Keal, 52. DeFino-Nastasi ordered the retrial after finding that the evidence used to convict both men at their 1998 trial was "extremely weak" while new evidence had surfaced implicating others in the robbery-turned-murder.
November 10, 2013 |
TWO PHILADELPHIA men who've spent the last 15 years in state prison serving life sentences for a murder have moved a step closer to getting the chance to prove their innocence. Eugene Gilyard and Lance Felder, both 34, whose request for a new trial was granted Oct. 8, yesterday were each given $20,000 bail bonds and house arrest with electronic monitoring. Common Pleas Judge Rose Marie DeFino-Nastasi's decision to set the men free while they await retrial is unusual given that bail is rarely granted in Pennsylvania for those charged with first-degree murder.
November 8, 2013 |
The judge who sentenced former Magisterial District Judge Rita Arnold to 16 to 32 months in prison for concealing a citation filed against her son has agreed to weigh at a hearing next month whether the punishment was appropriate. Arnold was sentenced by Senior Judge John Braxton on Oct. 15. Her attorney, Heidi Eakin, had requested house arrest in part because Arnold is undergoing treatment for a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. "This sentence was way over the top of the guidelines," Eakin said.