May 16, 2013 |
Three Chester County men already charged with a Coatesville murder have been indicted by a grand jury in a strategy aimed at preventing witness intimidation, officials said Wednesday. Taking advantage of a recent change in state law, District Attorney Tom Hogan said he opted for a grand-jury proceeding rather than have witnesses appear at a preliminary hearing. Hogan said a "stop snitching" culture, particularly well-entrenched in Coatesville, sometimes discourages witnesses from taking the stand.
April 30, 2013 |
BEAVER, Pa. - A judge said a Western Pennsylvania sheriff should be tried on allegations that he threatened to cut off the hands of a political campaign worker and threatened to shoot an online news reporter. District Justice Michael L. Gerheim heard nearly five hours of testimony on Monday before agreeing that most of the 11 charges against Beaver County Sheriff George David, 65, should go to trial. David has denied the charges and remains in office because county officials are powerless to remove him and state legislators have not made an effort to do so. David was arrested last month on charges including terroristic threats, witness intimidation, and obstructing an investigation.
April 29, 2013 |
Saying witness intimidation is a national issue, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) urged Friday that threatening or harming witnesses be made a federal crime. He pledged to reintroduce legislation giving federal prosecutors the right to bring such cases, providing the wrongdoers had crossed state lines to commit the crime, plotted their attacks or threats using interstate communication, or transferred weapons from state to state. And, Casey said, his coming legislative package would newly provide more federal money to relocate local witnesses to places of safety.
April 28, 2013 |
NOTING THAT 13 people were killed in Philadelphia between 1999 and 2009 due to witness intimidation, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey yesterday announced plans to introduce a bill to make such intimidation a federal crime. "Witness intimidation is a cowardly crime that has a chilling effect on the work of our region's law enforcement," Casey said at a news conference at 30th Street Station. "This legislation will give law enforcement and prosecutors additional tools to combat witness intimidation.
March 20, 2013
THE "Don't Snitch" crowd is using a new tool to scare witnesses out of testifying against them in criminal cases. They use their cellphone cameras to secretly take pictures of witnesses on the stand or outside the courtroom. The pictures are then posted on Instagram, Facebook, sometimes even tacked up on telephone polls in the neighborhood, to label the witness or victim as a snitch. It's all part of an intimidation game played by the bad guys that has resulted in an epidemic of dismissals of criminal cases in Philadelphia.
March 6, 2013 |
WITNESS intimidation reared its head in a Philadelphia courtroom once again Tuesday, prompting a judge to smack the intimidator with the long arm of the law. "The message needs to get out - this isn't the street; it's a courtroom. Giving a statement is not a badge of dishonor," Common Pleas Judge Charles Ehrlich said before revoking bail for Gerald Andrews, 35, who is charged with buying a gun for a felon. Just before Ehrlich entered for Andrews' pretrial hearing, the defendant called a case witness in the courtroom a "snitch.
February 22, 2013 |
Eight months after Pennsylvania's Supreme Court revived the use of county indicting grand juries, in an effort to fight victim-witness intimidation, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office has opted to use one in the case of reputed mob soldier Anthony Nicodemo. Nicodemo, 41, was arrested Dec. 13 in the daytime slaying of 50-year-old Gino DePietro outside his South Philadelphia home. The killing occurred as a federal court jury was hearing evidence in the racketeering trial of seven alleged Philadelphia mobsters.
January 9, 2013 |
Pennsylvania should give extra money to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office to pay for a team of prosecutors and detectives with the sole mission of cracking down on witness intimidation, a state Senate advisory panel recommended Monday. In a 105-page final report, the committee, made up of judges, law professors, prosecutors, defense lawyers, and other experts, also urged that state law be rewritten to permit the Victim Assistance Program to also help relocate witnesses to crimes.