November 13, 2015 |
Six days after a jury convicted Chaka "Chip" Fattah Jr. on federal bank- and tax-fraud charges, he has asked the U.S. Justice Department to launch a formal investigation into the possibility that prosecutorial misconduct may have tainted his case. Fattah, in a letter Wednesday to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, said his constitutional rights were violated when the lead investigator in the case tipped off an Inquirer reporter in 2012 to FBI raids at Fattah's Ritz-Carlton condo and offices at Logan Square.
April 4, 2015 |
Pennsylvania's self-destructing attorney general, Kathleen Kane, should resign. This week alone, The Inquirer has reported that she disrupted a second political corruption case, while the Supreme Court upheld a probe into her dissemination of grand jury information that could yield criminal charges. It's now clear that since her early days in office, Kane's attempts to protect legitimate law enforcement targets and smear rivals have been at odds with the public interest. The latest revelation is that Kane undermined a 2013 investigation of a former state gambling regulator with ties to Louis DeNaples, a politically connected Scranton millionaire accused of dealings with mob figures, The Inquirer's Craig R. McCoy and Angela Couloumbis reported.
January 17, 2015 |
They say, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Ask Chaka Fattah Jr., currently defending himself against charges of bank fraud, tax evasion, and stealing government funds, and he just might tell you there's truth in that adage. Prosecutors may beg to differ. Since a judge approved his request to represent himself last month, Fattah - the 32-year-old son of Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.) - has flooded the court with dozens of motions that he hopes will defang the case against him. Call it defense by a thousand pinpricks.
January 11, 2015 |
In the end, prosecutors were content to hear Clarence Davis admit his guilt. The plea deal for a 1970 murder case was reached Thursday before a judge even heard the appeal, and Davis' life sentence concluded late Friday night when he was released from Graterford Prison after 43 years of incarceration. "It was a legitimate admission of guilt," said Robin Godfrey, an assistant district attorney. "It avoids putting the victims through another trial, where there is a possibility of a 'not guilty' verdict because of the age of the case.
January 10, 2015 |
A Philadelphia man serving life in prison for the 1970 murder of a bar owner was granted parole Thursday after a legal battle over what he alleged was prosecutorial misconduct. Clarence R. Davis, 64, had been sentenced to life without parole for the shooting death of Arthur Gilliard during a shotgun robbery of the Polka Dot Bar near 15th and Clearfield Streets. On Thursday, Davis pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of third-degree murder, as well as robbery and two firearms offenses, in a deal with the District Attorney's Office approved by Common Pleas Court Judge Lillian Harris Ransom.
November 18, 2014 |
A former Catholic priest convicted of sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy at a Northeast Philadelphia parish from 1998 to 1999 died Sunday, just weeks after an appeal of his conviction was heard before the state Supreme Court. The Rev. Charles Engelhardt, 67, of Wynnewood, was in the second year of a six- to 12-year sentence at the Coal Township Prison in Northumberland County, stemming from his 2013 conviction. Engelhardt died at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, the Associated Press reported.
October 31, 2014
ISSUE | PHYS-ED Get moving, kids After reading W. Douglas Tynan's column in the Health section, I was struck by how much news is really not news ("Exercise is good for children's brains, too," Oct. 26). In 2008, John J. Ratey, an internationally known psychiatrist, wrote Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain . He discusses the value of exercise in various populations, particularly the effect on cognitive functioning in students. The data is overwhelming.
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.
October 10, 2014 |
WHILE THE JUDGE said yesterday that it was "a horrible case" and that the three defendants were not "Boy Scouts," he barred the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office from retrying the men for the 2002 torture murder and robbery of a drug dealer. It was a stunning legal victory for a trio of defendants who - according to trial testimony - wrapped their victim's limbs and mouth in duct tape, beat him, placed a heated kitchen knife on his penis and other body parts, and shot him in the head.
July 9, 2013 |
ALMOST EXACTLY 20 years ago, I became the first death-row prisoner in the United States to clear my name through DNA evidence. The crime for which I was convicted was the brutal rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl named Dawn Hamilton. My community in Maryland was devastated and needed someone to blame, so the district attorney's office built a capital case against me based on a few flimsy pieces of so-called evidence. My arrest followed my neighbor's call to the police, in which she claimed that I resembled the sketch shown on TV - a sketch that had been crafted through the eyewitness accounts of two young boys.