September 11, 2012 |
A Lawncrest woman who said she believed coworkers had sprayed her with toxic chemicals was found guilty of murder Monday in the 2010 shootings at the Kraft-Nabisco Foods plant in Northeast Philadelphia. Yvonne Hiller was found guilty by Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner of two counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder, and reckless endangerment involving three other coworkers and a police officer she shot at but missed during the night-shift rampage Sept. 9, 2010.
October 11, 2014 |
Invoking a rarely used provision of criminal law, a Philadelphia judge dismissed murder charges Thursday against three men in a 2002 execution-style slaying, ruling that prosecutorial misconduct in their 2006 trial was so egregious that they should not be retried. "It's a horrible case," Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner called the charges against Aquil Bond, Jawayne K. Brown, and Richard Brown. He said he was not suggesting they were innocent. "Our system was designed to protect the rights not only of the innocent," Lerner said, "but the guilty, when they are denied the elements of a fair trial.
June 21, 2013 |
A Philadelphia judge refused to release Herbert Schaible - the father whose belief in prayer over medicine ended in the deaths of two young sons - after he was described Thursday as "domineering and overbearing" in a letter by his pastor. The letter by Nelson A. Clark, pastor of First Century Gospel Church in Juniata Park, was disclosed by Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore in a detention hearing for the 44-year-old father of seven. Schaible and his wife, Catherine, 43, of Rhawnhurst, have been held on $250,000 bail each since being charged with third-degree murder in the April 18 death of their 8-month-old son, Brandon, who had pneumonia.
March 20, 2001 |
All week, Christopher Smith lay awake in his cell, asking God to soften the judge's heart. Smith, 29, was back in jail. He had violated terms of his probation by leaving his house without authorization. He had also tested positive for marijuana on repeated urine tests. He knew that the judge could revoke his probation and send him away for months, if not years, just as he was getting his life together. Smith was still praying as he walked into Courtroom 1108 and sat down next to his public defender.
July 31, 1997 |
Neal Jackson wound up in jail in 1995 after going bonkers over a judge. Jackson, 41, fell in love with Common Pleas Judge Genece E. Brinkley from afar and would not let her alone, according to court records. After being harassed with love letters and telephone calls, Brinkley, who did not know Jackson, finally had him arrested. On Aug. 23, 1995, Jackson, of Ingersoll Street near 25th, was sentenced to six months to a year in prison for harassment and stalking. But prison did not stop Jackson.
October 16, 2014 |
A lawyer for the contractor charged with causing the Center City building collapse that killed seven people last year was found in contempt of court Tuesday for speaking to reporters despite a judge's gag order in the case. Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner found William Hobson in "indirect civil contempt" of court for remarks he made to Philly.com and the Philadelphia Daily News, which are owned by the same company as The Inquirer. Hobson is the lawyer for Griffin T. Campbell, 50, the contractor, who, with excavator operator Sean Benschop, 43, is charged in the deaths of the seven victims.
August 9, 2013 |
A Philadelphia judge refused Wednesday to dismiss murder and manslaughter charges against Herbert and Catherine Schaible, the Rhawnhurst couple who allegedly prayed over their infant son as he died of bacterial pneumonia. "We've been here before, they've been here before under strikingly similar circumstances," Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner told Herbert Schaible's defense attorney, Bobby Hoof, referring to the 2009 death of another child. Later, in a separate hearing, Lerner made the same ruling in Catherine Schaible's case.
July 4, 2012 |
Two men charged in the Jan. 14 beating death of Temple University graduate Kevin Kless during an early morning fight in Old City were granted reduced bail Monday by a Philadelphia judge. When they will be released, however, is an open question. Demand for electronic ankle bracelets that ensure that people on house arrest stay inside the house has sometimes outstripped supply, resulting in waits of weeks to months. Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner approved the reduction of the bail for Steven Ferguson, 21, from $500,000 to the $150,000 agreed upon by Assistant District Attorney Brendan O'Malley and defense attorney Stephen P. Patrizio.
April 13, 2011 |
Trying to limit public sparring and pretrial publicity, a Philadelphia judge Wednesday imposed a gag order on prosecution and defense lawyers in the case of accused abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner's order came during what was to have been a routine scheduling hearing and was followed by a dispute about why prosecutors searched the prison cell of Gosnell's wife, Pearl, shortly after Lerner allowed her to be freed on bail. "What happens in open court is one thing, but I don't want the case tried outside the courtroom," Lerner told the lawyers for Gosnell, 70, his wife, 50, and eight former employees of his West Philadelphia abortion clinic.
September 18, 2014 |
THE TWO MEN charged with six counts of murder in the Market Street building collapse in June 2013 will be tried together, a judge ruled yesterday. State law "generally favors joint trials of defendants charged with crimes stemming from the same incident," Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner said in rejecting a motion to sever the trials filed by defense attorney William Hobson, who represents building contractor Griffin Campbell. Lerner agreed with Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Selber that separate trials for Campbell and his co-defendant, Sean Benschop, would also burden victims, their relatives and other witnesses who would have to testify twice.