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NEWS
January 17, 2016 | By Rita Giordano, Staff Writer
A federal judge ruled Friday that an incarcerated drug suspect will be allowed to attend Monday's funeral of his 13-year-old son, the first person killed in Camden in 2016. "Thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus," murmured Taisha Mercado, the weeping mother of Nathaniel Plummer Jr., on hearing the ruling by U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Williams. Williams did not reveal the conditions of the temporary release of Nathaniel Plummer Sr., 31. But she challenged him to abide by her sealed terms, even though, she said, some people will hope he fails.
NEWS
January 15, 2016 | BY MARI A. SCHAEFER, Staff Writer
THE BUCKS COUNTY district attorney has recommended that Neshaminy High School basketball coach Jerry Devine be charged with harassment - a summary offense - for knocking a referee to the floor during a game last week. The offense carries a maximum jail sentence of 90 days and a fine of $300. Efforts to reach Devine were unsuccessful. "There was aggressive physical contact," District Attorney David Heckler said at a news conference yesterday. A widely circulated video from the incident appeared to show Devine head-butting the referee after a charging call against a Neshaminy player in the final seconds of his team's 49-42 loss to visiting Pennsbury High School.
NEWS
January 9, 2016 | By Julia Terruso, Staff Writer
Philadelphia has a plan to cut its prison population by one-third, or about 2,500 inmates, over three years. It just needs some help with the cost. So said the city in a proposal submitted Wednesday to the MacArthur Foundation, seeking $2 million in grants and pledging $2 million in new and existing city money to drive its prison number down by 34 percent. That number currently is about 7,500 inmates, in six facilities and a handful of satellite sites. Faced with soaring jail populations nationwide, particularly for men and women awaiting trial, the foundation issued a "Safety and Justice" challenge to municipalities around the country.
NEWS
December 9, 2015 | By Susan Snyder, Inquirer Staff Writer
People charged with first-time nonviolent felonies will get an opportunity to go to college rather than jail under a program launched Monday by Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams and Community College of Philadelphia. The "Future Forward" pilot, scheduled to begin in the spring with 10 to 15 students, is one of a growing number of alternative programs introduced by Williams to help those accused of lesser crimes turn their lives around. The program is for defendants facing trials for nonviolent felonies, such as drug sales, forgery, car theft, and commercial burglary.
NEWS
November 23, 2015 | By Michael Boren, Inquirer Staff Writer
After inmates at the Camden County Jail complained that corrections officers had stomped on or torn apart personal photos during routine cell searches in November 2014, the internal affairs unit launched an investigation. One of the officers involved in the shakedown then pointed to an even larger problem: Other officers, he said, were smuggling cellphones into the jail for personal use. What investigators discovered next was shocking. A group of white officers, for months, had exchanged racial, homophobic, and anti-Semitic slurs in group text messages.
NEWS
November 21, 2015 | By Michaelle Bond, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Pennsylvania Superior Court has denied the appeal of a former Chester County district judge who hoped for a shorter sentence than the 16 to 32 months in state prison she received for hiding a citation against her son. Lawyers for Rita Arnold, 59, of Downingtown, said they planned to ask the court to reconsider the decision. "We continue to feel that sentencing a first-time offender who pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors and is suffering from an aggressive form of cancer constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, and we hope other Superior Court judges will agree," said Nicholas D. Ressetar, Arnold's attorney.
NEWS
November 10, 2015 | By Mari A. Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writer
Vanessa Berhe, 19, is on a mission. It is personal and it is international, involving a country that most Americans know little about. Berhe, a freshman at Villanova University, has been campaigning for years to draw attention to the plight of her uncle, Seyoum Tsehaye, an Eritrean journalist. At age 5, she tried collecting money on his behalf. She knows he was jailed 14 years ago, but isn't even sure that he's still alive. She has produced an online video; founded an organization, One Day Seyoum, seeking Tsehaye's freedom; started a petition drive and website; put the word out on social media; contacted lawyers; filed a writ of habeas corpus with an Eritrean court; demonstrated at the U.N. She has appealed even to the Vatican, and said she received a personal assurance from Pope Francis.
SPORTS
November 8, 2015 | By Bob Brookover, Inquirer Columnist
Former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was sentenced to an 18-day jail term Friday morning in Gilbert, Ariz., according to the website TMZ sports. A court clerk confirmed via telephone that McNabb pleaded guilty to driving under the influence charges stemming from a June 28 traffic accident in Gilbert, Ariz. A police report said McNabb hit a car that was stopped at a traffic light and a police report later said that McNabb's blood-alcohol content was 0.17, more than twice the Arizona legal limit of 0.08.
NEWS
November 4, 2015 | BY DANA DiFILIPPO, Daily News Staff Writer difilid@phillynews.com, 215-854-5934
JAMELLA PARKS had been hooked on drugs for nearly three decades before she tried to sneak $68.52 worth of toiletries out of a Logan Rite Aid in January. It was far from her first arrest: Her record is riddled with crimes, mostly misdemeanors like prostitution and shoplifting, she committed to feed an addiction she couldn't shake. This time, though, the arrest would be her death sentence. Although she could have been freed on just $300 cash bail, the 43-year-old North Philly woman instead spent nearly six months behind bars before dying, in custody, of cancer.
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