July 18, 2010 |
The United States leads the world in incarcerating juveniles for life without the possibility of parole. And Pennsylvania leads all states, by far, in a practice most nations condemn as inhumane. "Pennsylvania is at the top, and not in a good way," says the Juvenile Law Center's Marsha Levick. The state has at least 450 inmates charged with homicide committed when they were juveniles, some as young as 14. "International standards recognize that children, a particularly vulnerable group, are entitled to special care and protection because they are still developing physically, mentally, and emotionally," argues a 2005 Human Rights Watch report.
November 2, 2010
YOUR RECENT article about parole for juvenile lifers was of great interest. The story about Dale Gardner and his 11-year-old victim, "Billy," was heartbreaking. I really empathize with Billy's mother, and all the other victims of violent crime. But something about the story of Joseph Ligon, sentenced to life in 1953 at 15 and still in prison today - 57 years later, was unsettling. Through researching deeper into the issue, a far greater question came to light than the juvenile lifer issue raised: It begged that we ask if it's time the state provided parole for all lifers.
June 19, 1995
Parole is another word for trouble to many Americans these days. Horror stories about released inmates committing murders have sunk candidates for president (Michael Dukakis) and governor of Pennsylvania (Mark Singel). The latest high-profile tragedy was Pennsylvania's early release of convicted killer and Warlock Robert "Mudman" Simon, who allegedly killed a New Jersey police officer. The Simon case revealed gaffes and gaps in policy in the parole systems of both states, and led to more public muttering about why any criminal is ever paroled.
November 14, 2012 |
THE FAMILY OF Philadelphia Police Officer Moses Walker Jr., who was killed in a botched robbery in August, has sued the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, its chairman and three parole agents, claiming they missed multiple chances before Walker's murder to jail the confessed killer for violating parole. The board violated Walker's civil rights by "permitting a systemic breakdown" that placed Walker in the path of parole violator and serial armed mugger Rafael Jones early Aug. 18, attorney Michael F. Barrett contends in the federal wrongful-death lawsuit.
February 2, 1995 |
The official whose agency was responsible for the supervision of convicted killer Reginald McFadden's parole in New York has been nominated by Gov. Ridge to be Pennsylvania corrections commissioner. Ridge yesterday named Martin F. Horn, executive director and chief operating officer of the New York State Division of Parole, to the cabinet post that oversees 21 prisons and 80,000 inmates. McFadden became a focal point of last year's gubernatorial race, because Lt. Gov. Mark S. Singel, chairman of the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons and Democratic candidate for governor, recommended that McFadden's life sentence be commuted.
December 21, 1986
The struggle to change Pennsylvania law and grant parole eligibility to individuals serving life prison sentences on a case-by-case basis is one whose time has come. Most people in our society have been given a mental image of life-sentenced prisoners that is false. This misrepresentation has been unwittingly provided by the news media, politicians and erroneous "facts. " This image of dangerous, unreformed murderers who serve only seven years and are anxious to be released upon society is not supported by the facts.
August 28, 2012
A Chester County man apologized in court Monday as he was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole in the stabbing death of his estranged wife in the parking lot of the convenience store where she worked. James Hvizda, 46, of Upper Uwchlan, read a statement from the defense table in Chester County Court saying he would not contest the first-degree murder conviction in the March slaying of his wife, Kimberly, the West Chester Daily Local News reported. President Judge James MacElree II last week denied Hvizda's bid to withdraw his guilty plea.
February 10, 1990 |
A Washington Township man imprisoned for most of the 1980s was sentenced yesterday to 30 years in prison without parole for selling methamphetamine to an undercover officer. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Zoubek, a federal prosecutor in Camden, said Pennel Amis's record of drug, theft and racketeering convictions made him a "career offender" with "criminal livelihood" status under federal sentencing policies. The guidelines, enacted in November 1987, call for stiffer penalties without parole for violent criminals or those convicted of drug charges.
November 22, 1997 |
The state Department of Probation and Parole has disciplined at least one agent in handling the case of paroled murderer Arthur Bomar. "An investigation was conducted and appropriate remedial action was taken," said Jennifer Hitz, a spokeswoman for the agency. Bomar, 38, is under investigation in the 1996 murder of 22-year-old Aimee Willard, of Brookhaven, Delaware County, and the disappearance and presumed murder of 25-year-old Maria Cabuenos of Philadelphia. Bomar moved to Pennsylvania in 1990 after serving 10 years of a life sentence for murdering a Nevada man. Shortly after his arrival, he was arrested on assault charges.
June 13, 1998 |
Was reputed mob boss Ralph Samuel Natale secretly meeting with his reputed underboss, Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino? Yesterday, Natale, 63, was arrested for meeting with convicted felons 10 times between 1995 and 1996, failing to report those meetings and leaving the New Jersey district without permission. At least one meeting is believed to have been with Merlino, whom he met with recently at the Palm Restaurant, according to a law enforcement source. Other meetings were believed to be with Merlino's henchmen, according to sources.