April 22, 2016
By Jonathan Blanks Police play a unique role in the community. They possess the awesome power to use violence against an individual to maintain public peace and safety. How police use that power - and how some officers sometimes abuse it - is in the public interest to know. But the Pennsylvania legislature might make it harder to track incidents of potential abuse by officers and, in doing so, may undermine the public's trust in the police who serve it. In November, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved House Bill 1538, which would prevent government officials from releasing the names of officers under investigation for on-duty shootings or uses of force that do not result in criminal charges against the officers.
April 14, 2016 |
Some of those who claimed to have seen the shooter described him as being heavier and taller than James Dennis, the man who was convicted. While legal battles raged, Dennis spent more than 20 years on death row. Then, in 2013, a federal judge overturned his conviction in the 1991 slaying of a high school student for her earrings at a Philadelphia subway station. In issuing the ruling, Judge Anita B. Brody described the eyewitness identifications of Dennis as "shaky. " Historically, false identifications have been a bane of criminal investigations.
April 13, 2016 |
In 2014, Kareem Alleyne was acquitted of killing an off-duty Philadelphia police officer by hitting him with his car. On Monday, Alleyne's lawyers told a jury that he never should have been charged with vehicular homicide in the first place. They said police investigators overlooked or downplayed damning evidence against their deceased colleague, including that the officer, Marc Brady, had been stalking and harassing Alleyne for dating his ex-girlfriend. "They had made up their minds," said lawyer Lori Mach.
April 7, 2016 |
Investigators are searching for leads in the murder of a couple who were found dead in their East Camden home this week, making them the city's third and fourth fatal shooting victims since Friday. The bodies of John Valerio, 23, and Aleshia Schmincke Hill, 25, were found just before 1:45 p.m. Monday by their landlord, who went to the property to make a repair and called 911. Police who responded to the house on North 26th Street found a gruesome scene: Valerio's body was downstairs, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the investigation, while Hill was found in an upstairs bedroom.
April 6, 2016 |
Authorities investigating how a backhoe ended up in the path of an Amtrak train traveling at more than 100 mph Sunday morning are looking into whether a communications breakdown may have been responsible for a crash that killed two veteran railwaymen. The two workers were identified Monday as Joseph Carter Jr., 61, of Wilmington, and Peter John Adamovich, 59, of Lincoln University, Pa. Both were killed when Amtrak Train 89, traveling from New York to Savannah, Ga., crashed into their backhoe just before 8 a.m. Both died at the scene.
March 25, 2016
Authorities in South Jersey are trying to determine how a human skull ended up in a wooded area by a road in Ocean County. Two men driving along Arizona Drive, near Old Toms River Road, in Brick Township on Tuesday found "the remains of a decomposed skull," Al Della Fave, a spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office said Wednesday. "The passenger noticed it, jumped out and notified the local police department," he said. Della Fave said roads in the area were closed Wednesday as authorities searched for more evidence.
March 24, 2016
ISSUE | SUPREME COURTS Conduct board best suited to investigate To clarify my comments quoted in the Inquirer Sunday ("Judicial board: Tough enough?"): In reviewing the emails that Attorney General Kathleen Kane provided to the Supreme Court in late 2014, the court directed me to focus on three areas of immediate concern: pornography; improper communications about cases; and relationships that could require recusal. However, while these were my main focus, the court also asked me to report any other violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
March 17, 2016 |
Philadelphia police are looking into several apparently unrelated allegations of sexual assault or attempted assaults, including one in which an 11-year-old said she was raped. The girl told police that about 8:30 p.m. Friday, she was walking on the 5100 block of Woodland Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia when a stranger forced her into an alley and raped her at knifepoint, police said Tuesday. She described her attacker as black, about 30 to 40 years old, 6-foot-5, and wearing a black hoodie and dark jeans.
March 12, 2016 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Ryan Howard has not appeared in a game since March 4 because of an illness, but his absence Thursday was not related to that at all. Howard, according to a source, met with investigators from Major League Baseball who are looking into an Al Jazeera report that the Phillies first baseman used performance-enhancing drugs. The Phillies said Howard was excused for personal reasons. He is expected back Friday; Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Howard will be the designated hitter in a road game against the Braves.
March 8, 2016 |
The dots and lines on the printout resemble a family tree. But this one signifies a gang, with detectives trying to weave the connections among its members. Typically, it could take months, even years, to capture the full picture of a criminal organization. Even just examining one person's connections can take hours. Now, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office is trying to speed up that process. Through training provided by the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., the prosecutor's office is learning new ways to more quickly identify relationships, pulling information from multiple databases and records systems.