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NEWS
March 18, 2014 | By Michael Boren, Inquirer Staff Writer
MOUNT HOLLY The elderly man with the salt-and-pepper beard lay on the concrete floor of his jail cell naked and covered in his own feces. In another cell, a father with cardiac problems feared for his health, repeatedly telling his fiancée no one had taken him to hospital appointments to check his pacemaker. Both men, incarcerated at the same time, eventually died in the Burlington County Jail. "Natural causes," the medical examiner ruled in the Dec. 30 death of Robert Taylor, 75, and the Feb. 25 death of Jerome Iozzia, 50. "Unfortunate," the county Prosecutor's Office called Taylor's death in response to a query from Amnesty International.
NEWS
March 17, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
  PHILADELPHIA Last year, nearly 600,000 Philadelphians were summoned for jury duty. More than a third never responded. Beginning this spring, those who dodge jury duty could get a new kind of summons: to Scofflaw Court, where they could be held in contempt of court, fined as much as $500, and sentenced to up to 10 days in jail. "It's just not fair," said Philadelphia jury commissioner Daniel A. Rendine. "One of our goals is to provide a fair cross-section of jurors. If 37 percent are ignoring us, that means that 63 percent of the people are doing 100 percent of the work.
NEWS
March 8, 2014 | By Carolyn Davis, Inquirer Staff Writer
    Montgomery County lawyer Gregory Noonan, arrested in December on drug charges, has been disbarred and will be seeking treatment for an addiction problem, his attorney said. Acting on a request by Noonan and the board reponsibile for disciplining lawyers, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court signed an order last week accepting Noonan's resignation from the bar. Samuel C. Stretton, Noonan's attorney in this proceeding, said his client was trying to address problems in his life, beginning by seeking his own removal from the bar. "That was the right thing to do," Stretton said.
NEWS
March 1, 2014 | By Barbara Boyer and Julia Terruso, Inquirer Staff Writers
CAMDEN An inmate who died at the Camden County Jail last year had suffered toxic effects from a combination of prescription drugs, authorities said. Evelina Heredia, 23, of the Stockton section of Camden, was found dead in October. This week, authorities said toxicology tests confirmed the cause of death. The woman suffered adverse effects from taking a combination of Tramadol, Doxepin and Cyclobenzaprine, said Jason Laughlin, spokesman for the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.
NEWS
February 23, 2014 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
LYNN NICHOLS, who spent 22 years with the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office and became assistant chief of the Homicide Unit, yesterday pleaded guilty to criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, in connection with a plot to get revenge against a former boyfriend. Under a negotiated guilty plea, Municipal Judge James DeLeon sentenced Nichols, 47, to a year of nonreporting probation and ordered her to pay $884 in restitution to a woman she victimized. Nichols was fired in October and charged with obstruction of justice, filing a false report and criminal mischief after police uncovered her plot.
NEWS
February 20, 2014 | By Ben Finley, Inquirer Staff Writer
Don Tollefson made his name - and his living - talking to people, anchoring the sports segment of the most-watched local newscast in a sports-crazed town. But on Tuesday, as he finally showed up to answer fraud charges that had been building publicly for months, the former sportscaster was silent. Handcuffed and lacking his trademark smile, Tollefson looked tired and gaunt as he walked into a Warminster courtroom for his arraignment, the TV cameras that created his career swarming around him. Prosecutors say Tollefson, 61, of Glenside, fleeced at least 100 people out of more than $100,000.
NEWS
February 12, 2014
DESPITE persistent polarization in Washington, a bipartisan consensus is emerging around the proposition that too many Americans are incarcerated for too long. Democrats tend to emphasize the injustice of excessive sentences that disproportionately affect racial minorities. Republicans are more likely to stress the cost of over-incarceration. But the common ground is real and significant. Last week, by a vote of 13 to 5, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Smarter Sentencing Act, sponsored by Sens.
NEWS
February 3, 2014 | By Angelo Fichera, Inquirer Staff Writer
Etched into the chipping paint on the cinder-block walls in the Gloucester County Jail are the thoughts and drawings and expletives of prisoners who have come and gone. Words like Freedom. As it stands, the recently closed jail in Woodbury - used now for storage and office space - doesn't have much of an afterlife. But some think its former occupants might. A Salem County paranormal research group spent the weekend testing that theory with 13 night-vision cameras, audio recorders, and a slew of other specialized equipment familiar to viewers of shows like Ghost Hunters.
NEWS
January 27, 2014 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
HARRY GAINES, the West Philadelphia man arrested last January for slashing the tires of 56 parked cars in the neighborhood, was sentenced to 11 1/2 to 23 months in jail yesterday. The sentence, handed down by Common Pleas Judge Rayford Means, will allow Gaines to be released during the day to work and return to jail at night. Work release, the judge said, will give Gaines, 28, the ability to find a job to pay restitution - estimated at $5,000 - to his victims. Means also sentenced Gaines to serve 30 years of probation and ordered him to cooperate with the District Attorney's Office in the prosecution of his codefendant and stepsister, Aleze Lewis, 37. Her trial is scheduled for March.
NEWS
January 21, 2014 | BY DAN GERINGER, Daily News Staff Writer geringd@phillynews.com, 215-854-5961
ONLY FOUR months before delivering his "I Have A Dream" speech at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sat in an Alabama prison cell and wrote his grim, despairing "Letter from Birmingham Jail. " Eastern State Penitentiary, on Fairmount Avenue near 22nd Street, commemorates King's life today, as it did all weekend, by reading and discussing that gut-wrenching letter at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. All sessions are free and open to the public.
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