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NEWS
December 5, 2014 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
T O PARAPHRASE an old saying, a grand jury would have indicted a ham sandwich in the July 17 chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York's Staten Island. But a ham sandwich was not accused of grabbing Garner from behind, squeezing his neck and taking him to the ground as he used his last words to repeat, "I can't breathe. " New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo was accused of that act, and the fact that a grand jury yesterday declined to indict him came as no surprise to seasoned Philadelphia lawyers.
NEWS
December 5, 2014 | By Jan Hefler, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Burlington County Prosecutor's Office, which handles more than 5,000 cases a year, lost about one-sixth of its staff last year when its salary scale was the lowest in the state. But a new contract signed last month brought a "huge boost to morale" and hiring is now underway, according to First Assistant Prosecutor Raymond Milavsky. Last year, six of the 32 full-time assistant prosecutors left, mostly because they were offered better-paying jobs at other prosecutors' offices, or with the state or law firms, Milavsky said.
NEWS
December 4, 2014 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
IN THE early-morning hours of April 1, 2012, outside the Wheels of Soul motorcycle club in West Philly, a man shot another man in the chest, then stood over his victim, pumping eight more shots into him, a prosecutor told a jury yesterday. "Lying on the street, his body riddled with gunshot wounds," was Marcus Smith, 28, said Assistant District Attorney Guy D'Andrea. Smith was pronounced dead shortly afterward at a hospital. Authorities contend that a man named Cortez Pryor fired the shots, and that his cousin, Demetrious Young, helped.
NEWS
December 4, 2014 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
A FORMER homeless man was held for trial on murder and related charges yesterday in the September stabbing death of a popular cantor. William James, 33, a/k/a Jonathan Williams, is accused of killing Ronald Fischman, 54, about 11 p.m. Sept. 30, in Fischman's house on Phil Ellena Street near Musgrave, in East Mount Airy. Fischman was a cantor with the Mishkan Shalom Synagogue in Roxborough. James had previously lived in Fischman's house, but had been asked by Fischman to leave last year or earlier this year, Assistant District Attorney Joseph Whitehead said yesterday after James' preliminary hearing.
NEWS
December 4, 2014 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Eugene V. Alessandroni II, 77, of Chestnut Hill, a career prosecutor in the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, died Tuesday, Nov. 25, of cardiac arrest at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Alessandroni, known as "Gene," was the son of Walter E. and Ethel Alessandroni. His father, then state attorney general, had received the Republican Party's endorsement for lieutenant governor. He, his wife, and two others were headed to a campaign appearance on May 8, 1966, when their twin-engine plane crashed near Somerset, leaving no survivors.
NEWS
November 26, 2014 | By Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writer
One veteran Philadelphia civil rights lawyer found the evidence exonerating Officer Darren Wilson murky. There were no accounts of Michael Brown's appearing to reach for a gun, no flash of something silver, the lawyer said. Another defense lawyer said he was both bemused and surprised to see all the attention paid by the grand jury to exculpatory evidence. "Did that happen because it was [about] a police officer?" the lawyer asked. "I think the answer is probably yes. " But a former prosecutor who won convictions against Philadelphia police for brutality was won over.
NEWS
November 21, 2014 | By Jessica Parks, Inquirer Staff Writer
When Bruce L. Castor Jr., then the Montgomery County district attorney, decided not to file sexual-assault charges against the comedian Bill Cosby in 2005, it wasn't because he didn't believe the woman who said Cosby had drugged and groped her. "Now I can say I thought he did it," Castor said in an interview Wednesday. "But back then, I would have been accused of tainting the jury that was going to hear the civil case. " Castor's revelation was not entirely new. Since leaving the District Attorney's Office, he has said that he believed a crime occurred but that there was not enough evidence to win a conviction.
NEWS
November 20, 2014 | By Amy Worden, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - A Philadelphia prosecutor asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday to reinstate the historic child-endangerment conviction against Msgr. William J. Lynn, former secretary for clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. "He had a duty to protect children from priests, and he protected priests," said Hugh Burns, chief of the District Attorney's Office appellate unit. But Lynn's attorney, Thomas Bergstrom, said the monsignor could not be held responsible for a priest's sexual abuse of a child because the law at the time did not recognize him as a supervisor.
NEWS
November 12, 2014 | By Michael Boren, Inquirer Staff Writer
Seven Sayreville (N.J.) High School football players embroiled in a hazing scandal that prompted the cancellation of the team's season will not be tried in court as adults, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office said Monday. "The appropriate forum for the resolution of these cases is Middlesex County Family Court," Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey said in a statement. "Asking the court to waive these seven juvenile cases to adult court would not best serve the interests of the victims, the community, or the defendants.
NEWS
October 19, 2014 | By Melanie Burney, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Somerset County, N.J., prosecutor said Friday that the four children of Cooper Hospital chief executive John P. Sheridan Jr. and his wife had no involvement in their deaths. Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, in a statement released to The Inquirer, said, "At this point in our investigation, we are very confident that the four sons of John and Joyce Sheridan played no role in the death of their mother and father. " John Sheridan, 72, was pronounced dead at the scene of a Sept. 28 fire at the couple's home in Montgomery Township.
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