January 21, 2016
HARRISBURG - The Wolf administration said Tuesday that Pennsylvania's prison population decreased by 842 inmates last year, continuing a decline stemming from criminal justice reforms enacted in 2012, but a union leader said the numbers mask other problems. At a news conference at the Harrisburg Community Corrections Center, Gov. Wolf and Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said the reforms are reducing the number of offenders in prison and diverting parole violators to the less-expensive local centers also known as halfway houses.
December 17, 2015 |
After hard time at state prison, after months of nothing but prison-yard worms, after two bumpy buses and a train trek to Philadelphia while stashed away in a peanut butter jar, freedom was near for the Frog. His unlikely captor, Eric Miskovitch, stood in the grass on the Schuylkill River Trail on Dec. 7, holding his palm-size jailhouse pet, until recently the pride of C Block. And if freedom was imminent for the Frog, it was a newfound pleasure for Miskovitch. Only two hours earlier, Miskovitch, 39, of Allegheny County, had been paroled from Graterford Prison, where he had spent twelve years for a robbery and a string of car thefts - and for the very bad habit of leading police on high-speed chases through the streets and suburbs of Pittsburgh.
November 21, 2015 |
The Pennsylvania Superior Court has denied the appeal of a former Chester County district judge who hoped for a shorter sentence than the 16 to 32 months in state prison she received for hiding a citation against her son. Lawyers for Rita Arnold, 59, of Downingtown, said they planned to ask the court to reconsider the decision. "We continue to feel that sentencing a first-time offender who pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors and is suffering from an aggressive form of cancer constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, and we hope other Superior Court judges will agree," said Nicholas D. Ressetar, Arnold's attorney.
October 23, 2015 |
THE ACLU OF Pennsylvania is suing the secretary of the state Department of Human Services and two other officials for what it calls a "consistent and continuing failure" to provide adequate mental-health care for people ruled incompetent to stand trial in criminal cases. In the suit, filed yesterday in U.S. District Court, the ACLU rails against the state for having "the longest delays in the country" for competency restoration treatment, which would allow the cases to proceed. It claims the lack of resources violates the patients' rights to due process, as well as the American Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act. "Our clients in this case are the forgotten among the forgotten," said Witold Walczak, the ACLU of Pennsylvania's legal director.
September 23, 2015 |
THE SENTENCING hearing for three men convicted in the shooting of a witness got off to a rocky start yesterday with one of the defendants refusing to obey a judge's order and getting booted out of the courtroom. At the start of the hearing, Common Pleas Judge Barbara McDermott asked the three to stand and state their names, but Shaheed Williams remained sitting and blurted out, "For what?" "Because I said so," the judge told him. "I'm not . . . " Williams began to say before the judge then ordered a deputy sheriff to "take him out" of the courtroom.
September 20, 2015 |
A Glenside man was sentenced to state prison Friday for beating his 12-year-old foster child with a broom to the point that the boy needed 18 stitches and multiple surgeries to fix the scar. Claybon Hawthorne, 50, locked two of his foster children in a room in 2013 and beat them. Prosecutors said he beat the 12-year-old boy with a belt and a broomstick, grabbing another broomstick after the first one broke. In arguing for prison time for Hawthorne, Montgomery County prosecutors displayed large posters of the children's wounds after the beatings.
August 31, 2015 |
LUIS SOTO, the Kensington man on trial for the fatal shooting of a bystander during a large street fight in April 2013, yesterday took the witness stand in his own defense and admitted to a lot of things. He was out there, near the corner of Lee and Somerset streets, when Amanda Martinez, 21, was gunned down, Soto, 27, testified. He had been a drug dealer who spent two and a half years in state prison and had gotten out on parole three months before the killing, he told the Common Pleas jury of 10 women and two men. Soto, who is also being tried for shooting three men during the incident, even told the jury that he had two cellphones - not for drug dealing - but for each of his girlfriends.
August 2, 2015 |
Two South Jersey men have been sentenced to state prison for their roles in an international drug ring that shipped cocaine from California to New Jersey, acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced Friday in Camden. The two were charged in January 2014 in connection with "Operation Next Day Air," which investigated the ring allegedly led by a Jamaican recording star, Andrew K. Davis, formerly of Swedesboro. More than $1.4 million in drugs, cash, and weapons were confiscated. Authorities alleged that the ring, which extended to Jamaica, used the U.S. mail and other parcel delivery services to send shipments of cocaine.
July 3, 2015 |
A 23-YEAR-OLD serial rapist, who strangled strangers he grabbed off the street and lured teens into homes, was sentenced yesterday to 55 to 178 years in state prison. Eric Rogers, a tall man dressed in a long-sleeved white thermal shirt and blue prison pants, showed no remorse. When asked by Assistant District Attorney Branwen McNabb if he understood that he was deemed a sexually violent predator and as such would be required to register with state police if he ever got out of prison, Rogers calmly said: "I don't consent.
May 28, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - Pay now, or pay more later. That was the message Gov. Wolf and law enforcement officials delivered Tuesday outside the state prison near Harrisburg to call for more money for early-childhood education, an investment they said has been shown to boost high school graduation rates and reduce the number of people in prisons. "If you want to make Pennsylvania a place where we have safe neighborhoods and people can grow up and have fulfilled lives - and not end up in places like this - then we need to invest in early-childhood education," said Wolf, surrounded by area district attorneys and other law enforcement officials outside the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill.