April 5, 2016 |
It hasn't even been two years since the Philadelphia Courts reinstituted a crackdown on jury no-shows and it's already back to the drawing board. Juror Scofflaw Court - designed to make an example of people who ignored their summons to jury duty by bringing them into court anyway - is no longer being used because it's just too costly to run and there aren't enough resources, said Jury Commissioner Daniel Rendine. "It was unfortunate, but we gave it a shot, but it didn't bode well for the long run," he said.
February 13, 2016 |
A member of City Council on Thursday proposed an amnesty program for parking ticket scofflaws, while another said the city should raise the penalties for business owners whose properties attract loitering, drug use and other nuisances. Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell said amnesty would increase collections by allowing Philadelphians with long-standing debts to pay those from the last three years and have the rest cleared. "If you've got 10 or 20 years [of debt], people won't pay. They just can't afford it," she said.
June 6, 2014 |
They're from different parts of the city and had nothing in common - except for their predawn Wednesday wake-up call: court warrant officers arresting them for failing to appear for jury duty. Actually, it was more than that. Not only did they ignore at least two calls for jury duty, they ignored a summons telling them to appear in court May 21 or be held in contempt. Yes, we're talking about scofflaws in Philadelphia's new Juror Scofflaw Court. Two of the three - Timothy Shissler, 42, of Frankford, and John Sparks, 56, of Brewerytown - pleaded guilty before unsmiling Common Pleas Court Judges John W. Herron and Jeffrey P. Minehart.
May 23, 2014 |
In criminal justice jargon, they were recidivists: People who have dodged jury duty two, three, four times. On Wednesday, 60 of them packed Courtroom 505 of the city's Criminal Justice Center after Common Pleas Court Administrative Judge John W. Herron made them an offer they couldn't refuse: Show up or be arrested. Welcome to Philadelphia's Juror Scofflaw Court, Herron's revival of a program he launched in 2000, when only one in five people summoned for jury duty ever showed. Herron might be happier today with that earlier level of participation.
September 27, 2013 |
IT'S NEVER a good idea to hang out in a police department's parking lot if you have outstanding arrest warrants. Or, say, half a joint sitting on your car's dashboard. Three people learned that lesson the hard way Wednesday, when Cherry Hill officers, checking on suspicious vehicles in their own lot on Mercer Street, found two wanted people in one car and the marijuana in another car. Just before noon, officers checking out a suspicious car parked in the Police Administration Building's lot discovered that two of the four occupants had outstanding arrest warrants.
July 10, 2012 |
WE ALL KNOW the problems of the city's schools: the thousands of kids who drop out, or the thousands who are failing, or those who do graduate but with a subpar education that prepares them neither for college nor the workplace. Why don't we hold those responsible for this situation more accountable? We're not talking about teachers or administrators, unions or management, or even students and parents. We're talking about the 100,000 people who own properties but aren't paying their property taxes, and thus robbing the schools of the money they need.
July 4, 2012 |
Red-light scofflaws, you just caught a break. Philadelphia's red-light cameras were illegal over the weekend, and no tickets generated during that time will be sent to motorists. The law that authorized the red-light cameras now in use at 20 intersections expired at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. Gov. Corbett did not sign the bill re-authorizing the cameras (and extending their use to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia suburban communities) until Monday evening. So, if you ran a light in Philadelphia during that period and saw the ominous flash of the camera strobe, relax.
May 23, 2011 |
Stepped-up enforcement of seatbelt laws begins today across the country, with Pennsylvania offering free child-seat checks at dozens of locations. The campaign, dubbed "Click It or Ticket," runs until June 5 in most states, with even multistate agencies like the Delaware River Port Authority taking part. A second crackdown period happens every fall. Requirements and penalties vary from state to state. In Pennsylvania, drivers and front seat passengers 18 and over, as well as children ages 8 to 17 in any seat, must wear a seatbelt.
March 31, 2011
DEMOCRACY is a beautiful thing. We think that pretty much every day, but especially around election time. For the purposes of making endorsements, this board meets one-on-one with candidates. We are always impressed with how wildly varied the candidates are - ranging from sophisticated attorneys to rowhouse laborers - most of whom share a commitment to the city that, at the risk of getting mushy, is inspiring. Running for office, especially here, is not for the faint of heart. But generally, the more people who try, the better we are. Still, it's not unreasonable to suggest there should be some basic standards for fitness to serve.
March 29, 2011
Court officers fanned out through the city Monday night, rounding up 32 traffic scofflaws who together owe an estimated $120,000 in fines and penalties. Lt. Sam Turner, of the First Judicial District Warrant Unit, said officers at some locations arrested a second person who was wanted for past traffic violations, but who had not been the subject of the original warrant. "We went looking for one person, and, lo and behold," he said, "there was someone else. " Those arrested had missed court dates and failed to pay fines.