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Prosecutorial Misconduct

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NEWS
October 11, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
June 19, 1992 | by Kitty Caparella, Daily News Staff Writer
The Mafia beat a murder rap yesterday. But don't look for the Lucky Eight to hit the streets soon. A Superior Court panel said that the trial that landed eight Mafiosi, including former boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo, in jail for life was filled with errors. But they don't get to walk away from the charges. They get a new trial. A three-judge panel voted 2-1 to overturn the convictions of Scarfo and seven others in the 1985 shooting death of Frank "Frankie Flowers" D'Alfonso.
NEWS
September 20, 2011 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
They've been identified in sworn testimony as taking part in the 2009 beating that ended in the death of Phillies fan David W. Sale Jr. But after a mistrial was declared Tuesday in the murder trial of Francis Kirchner, Charles Bowers, and James Groves, the question confronting a Philadelphia judge is whether the trio should go free because of what one defense attorney called prosecutorial misconduct. Common Pleas Court Judge Shelley Robins New declared the mistrial after four days of testimony, when a friend of the victim unexpectedly identified Kirchner, 30, as the man who made the fatal kick to Sale's head in the July 25, 2009, melee.
NEWS
December 7, 2012 | By Sari Horwitz, Washington Post
WASHINGTON - The top federal prosecutor in New Orleans, the longest-serving U.S. attorney in the country, resigned Thursday amid an investigation into possible prosecutorial misconduct by two of his top deputies. Jim Letten, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, announced his resignation at a news conference. In an emotional speech, he praised the office and said he would stay on briefly to help with the transition to new leadership. The resignation comes eight months into a scandal that led to a Justice Department investigation of Letten's top deputy and a second veteran prosecutor in connection with anonymous online criticism of the target of a federal inquiry.
NEWS
April 22, 1997 | By Dianna Marder, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A young Lancaster County mother who served five years of a life prison term for murder saw her conviction overturned and was set free yesterday by a federal judge who said her trial "was corrupted from start to finish. " U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell in Philadelphia said Lancaster County officials had engaged in "such gross prosecutorial misconduct" that the 1992 conviction of Lisa Michelle Lambert could not stand. Dalzell said prosecutors had so tainted the evidence that a retrial was impossible.
NEWS
May 10, 1997 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Lawyers for the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office say they may challenge the conduct and temperament of a federal judge who cited "prosecutorial misconduct" in freeing a young woman serving a life term for murder. The gambit of refocusing the Lisa Lambert case from prosecutorial to alleged judicial misconduct was aired in a motion filed Wednesday by noted defense attorney Richard A. Sprague, who is representing Lancaster County District Attorney Joseph Madenspacher in the case.
NEWS
December 19, 2012 | Associated Press
HARRISBURG - Former State Rep. Bill DeWeese appealed his corruption conviction Tuesday, alleging judicial errors and prosecutorial misconduct. In the appeal, filed in Superior Court, DeWeese (D., Greene) contended that the trial judge erred by limiting the number of defense witnesses who testified and refusing to let his lawyer challenge a prosecution witness' credibility. He also said prosecutors committed misconduct at his preliminary hearing by selectively reading parts of his grand jury testimony.
NEWS
March 5, 2001 | by Kitty Caparella and Jim Nicholson Daily News Staff Writers
Raymond Walter Martorano wanted to get a jump on spring when he got his blue Yamaha motorcycle out of the repair shop last Friday afternoon. The short, brown haired son of George Martorano, a jailed drug trafficker-turned-novelist, stopped at the Saloon in South Philadelphia, where he worked as an expediter in the kitchen. Then, he visited his grandmother on Fitzwater Street before leaving for his Voorhees, N.J., home. When he returned to pick up his helmet, his grandmother, Evelyn Martorano, warned: "Be careful.
NEWS
December 30, 1997 | By Dianna Marder and Barbara Boyer, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
Lisa Michelle Lambert, the young Lancaster County woman whose life sentence for first-degree murder was overturned in April, now faces a return to prison after a federal appeals court ruling reinstated her conviction yesterday. In a case that has come to captivate - and infuriate - Lancaster County residents and has attracted the attention of Hollywood, Lambert and two others were convicted in Lancaster County of the December 1991 killing of Laurie Show, 16. Lambert, who was six months pregnant at the time of the slaying, appealed to the federal courts, saying her state trial was marred by extensive prosecutorial misconduct.
NEWS
June 20, 1992 | by Kitty Caparella, Daily News Staff Writer
The district attorney's office isn't giving up, despite Thursday's Superior Court opinion overturning the convictions of eight Mafiosi in the murder of Frank "Frankie Flowers" d'Alfonso. A panel of three Superior Court judges voted 2-1 to overturn the convictions and order a new trial for former mob boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo and seven others accused of the 1985 murder of d'Alfonso, who was inaccurately reported by the media to be mob boss when Scarfo was. The DA's office plans to ask the full Superior Court to reconsider the panel's opinion.
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NEWS
August 25, 2016 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Staff Writer
BELLEFONTE, Pa. - Knowing the criminal case it was building against Jerry Sandusky was likely to shake Pennsylvania State University to its core, the Attorney General's Office in 2011 went to extraordinary lengths to keep the investigation secret, case prosecutors said Tuesday. They drafted a fake subpoena - one listing a prominent person's name - to see if anyone in the office might try to leak it to the press. No one took the bait. And later, when details of the sex-abuse case were posted on a state-run court website days before prosecutors had planned to announce the charges, they dispatched investigators to determine if a Centre County district judge purposefully filed them early in public view.
NEWS
May 29, 2016
Love, Murder, and Corruption in Lancaster County: My Story By Lisa Michelle Lambert Camino Books. 416 pp. $17.95 Reviewed by Joseph A. Slobodzian Memoirs are, of course, subjective, and readers shouldn't expect history when someone gives her perspective on the events of her life. Still, readers have the right to expect some introspection and information not found in a biography - not new questions that are never answered. That's a problem with Lisa Michelle Lambert's Love, Murder, and Corruption in Lancaster County: My Story , and it starts early in her book about her conviction for the Dec. 19, 1991, murder of Laurie Show.
NEWS
November 13, 2015 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
April 4, 2015 | Inquirer Editorial Board
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.
NEWS
January 17, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
January 11, 2015 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
January 10, 2015 | By Robert Moran, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
November 18, 2014 | By Joe Dolinsky, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
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.
NEWS
October 11, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
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