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BUSINESS
March 6, 2015 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
A witness testifying Wednesday for defense lawyer Nancy Raynor - hit with nearly $1 million in court-imposed sanctions last Oct. 31 because one of her experts offered banned testimony in a medical-malpractice trial - said Raynor had taken steps to ensure that the information was not heard by the jury. The witness, a trial technician who had been working for the defense team, said he heard Raynor tell the expert witness, Dr. John Kelly, that Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Paul Panepinto had banned any mention that a woman at the center of the trial was a smoker.
BUSINESS
February 20, 2015 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Pennsylvania appellate court has temporarily halted imposition of nearly $1 million in penalties against defense lawyer Nancy Raynor, who was sanctioned last year for breaching a court order barring her witnesses from testifying that a woman suing for medical malpractice had been a longtime smoker. The Superior Court order, issued Wednesday, gave Raynor access to business accounts that had been frozen and halted garnishment of fees from insurance-industry clients. It also ordered Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Paul Panepinto to hold a hearing on new evidence that Raynor's lawyers contend shows she took steps to ensure witnesses not offer precluded testimony.
NEWS
February 14, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Philadelphia homicide detective testified Thursday about a pivotal moment when, she says, accused child-killer Margarita Garabito admitted hitting her 10-year-old stepdaughter in the head with a metal broom handle. It was late afternoon on Oct. 21, 2009, Detective Norma Serrano told the Common Pleas Court jury hearing Garabito's murder trial, and she was talking with Garabito in a homicide interview room at police headquarters. Serrano was there, she told the jury, because she spoke fluent Spanish and Garabito did not speak English.
NEWS
February 7, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
The next-door neighbor of accused child-killer Margarita Garabito told a Philadelphia jury Thursday that she felt betrayed by a woman she considered a "close friend. " Wanda Torres spent an emotional two hours testifying about the year leading up to the Oct. 21, 2009, death of 10-year-old Charlenni Ferreira, Garabito's stepdaughter. Her testimony could help and hurt both the prosecution and the defense in Garabito's murder trial. Questioned by Assistant District Attorney Andrew Notaristefano, Torres recalled watching Garabito walking with Charlenni shortly before her death.
NEWS
February 7, 2015 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia judge who imposed sanctions of nearly $1 million on defense lawyer Nancy Raynor has defended his action in an opinion in which he accused Raynor of violating a court order as part of a trial strategy. Common Pleas Court Judge Paul Panepinto said Raynor intended to elicit testimony from a witness that was precluded at the start of the trial. In the opinion, his first official explanation of the underlying facts and legal rationale for the penalty, Panepinto also accused Raynor of repeatedly changing her story as she challenged efforts by opposing lawyers to have her sanctioned.
NEWS
February 6, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
In scientific testimony that undercut the defense of accused child-killer Margarita Garabito, a former Philadelphia medical examiner testified Wednesday that 10-year-old Charlenni Ferreira's five ribs were broken over one to four weeks - at a time when the girl's father was out of the country. Defense attorney J. Michael Farrell has told the jury that Garabito, 48, will testify that Charlenni was beaten and sexually abused by her father, Domingo Ferreira. But the testimony of Marlon Osbourne - now an associate medical examiner in Broward County, Fla. - if accurate, would make it impossible for the father to have inflicted the fatal injuries, because he was in the Dominican Republic visiting relatives from Sept.
NEWS
February 5, 2015 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
AS A PROSECUTOR showed a Common Pleas jury a photo of 10-year-old Charlenni Ferreira, her face battered and bruised, one juror held a wooden clipboard to his mouth, his face reddened. Another clasped her mouth with a hand. The girl in the photo was dead. Prosecutors contend that her stepmother, Margarita Garabito, 48, who is on trial for murder and related offenses, beat her to death. On the day of Charlenni's death, Oct. 21, 2009, her body was examined at the city Medical Examiner's Office.
NEWS
February 1, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
The question of whether charter school magnate Dorothy June Brown is competent to be retried on charges that she defrauded her schools of $6.3 million now lies with a federal judge. A three-day hearing, during which psychiatrists and psychologists expounded on Brown's mental state, concluded Friday with testimony from defense expert Barbara Malamut, who told the court that Brown had cognitive impairment that would prevent her from assisting her defense in her retrial. Malamut's testimony clashed with that of earlier government witnesses who offered rosier assessments of Brown, concluding she exhibited no sign of mental illness.
NEWS
February 1, 2015 | By Michael Matza, Inquirer Staff Writer
At a daylong briefing on immigration detention Friday, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in Washington heard testimony on a range of issues, including "institutional sexual assault" and the criminal charges filed recently against a guard at the Berks County Residential Center. The Leesport facility, under a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, houses immigrants and their children while they await deportation proceedings. The guard, Daniel W. Sharkey, 40, of West Reading, was charged Jan. 16 over his alleged involvement with a 19-year-old Honduran woman who was housed at the facility with her 3-year-old son. He was not identified before the commission.
NEWS
January 15, 2015 | By Mark Fazlollah, Inquirer Staff Writer
Four preteen boys gave graphic testimony Tuesday about their football coach repeatedly sexually assaulting them in his North Philadelphia home. The youths echoed testimony earlier in the week against Leon Watson, 25, who coached the Little Vicks and Rhawnhurst Raiders. One of the boys, an 11-year-old wide receiver for the Vicks, told the Common Pleas Court jury about when he was assaulted last year in Watson's home in the 2400 block of West Diamond Street. The boy said he had been suspended from school for fighting and had gone to Watson's home because his mother could not take care of him during the day. While he watched television with Watson, the coach began fondling him, the youth said.
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