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Witness Protection

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NEWS
March 3, 2006 | By Mitch Lipka INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
With witness intimidation a growing problem, law enforcement officials yesterday challenged Gov. Rendell's rapidly changing plans for witness-protection funds as ill-conceived, inappropriate and even illegal. "Nobody in this office, indeed, nobody in law enforcement could understand what was on the governor's plate when he decided to zero out in the budget witness-relocation funding," Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham said at a news conference. "This is life and death," she said.
NEWS
February 27, 2004
Here's the offer: Help convict the killers of 10-year-old Faheem Thomas-Childs, fatally shot as he walked to school earlier this month. In return, police will guard you 24 hours a day until you and your family are moved to a safe place. You can change your identity, or get money and help for moving and finding a new job. You may get a $100,000-plus reward. While some are considering the offer, so far there have been no takers. In this case and others nationwide, witness protection programs are a tough sell: Washington, D.C., is still stunned over the murder last month of a 14-year-old girl who had witnessed another's killing.
NEWS
March 29, 2006 | By Robert Moran INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
With state funding uncertain for witness protection, Philadelphia's top prosecutor yesterday urged City Council to create its own $1 million witness-protection fund. District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham's plea followed the recent trial of two men found guilty in the shooting death of 10-year-old Faheem Thomas-Childs. In that case, six witnesses recanted their original incriminating statements to police. In one instance, a father advised his 18-year-old daughter, who was about to take the stand: "Just remember to say what I told you to say: 'I don't remember.
NEWS
October 12, 2004
YOUR COVERAGE by Kitty Caparella and Chris Brennan of the devastating rowhouse murder of six was superlative. This is a declaration of war on the community. That any suspects can walk away from a crime because witnesses in Philadelphia don't have a quality witness-protection program is underscored by this latest brutal mass murder that appears to have been directed from prison. And it's complemented by the light sentence by federal Judge Surrick on Beanie Sigel, whose music is the anthem of these drug thugs.
NEWS
March 31, 2010 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A Philadelphia judge yesterday upheld the legality of accused contract killer Laquaille Bryant's arrest and ruled that his statement to police might be used in his trial next month in the shooting deaths of a federally protected witness and her friend. Bryant, 28, faces the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in the Jan. 19, 2008, shootings of Chante Wright, 23, who was in the witness-protection program, and Octavia Green, also 23. Defense attorney Michael E. Wallace argued that police did not have a warrant on Feb. 7, 2008, when they entered the home of Bryant's wife, Aisha Kinney, in the 3100 block of Weymouth Street in Kensington and encountered Bryant coming down the stairs.
NEWS
January 22, 2008 | By John Shiffman and Dwight Ott INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
Chante Wright wanted to help her boyfriend, who faced 25 years in federal prison for dealing crack. In a deal to cut his sentence by two-thirds, she put her life on the line, agreeing to identify the triggerman in an unrelated murder case. Wright?s testimony was so crucial and so fraught with danger that she became the first state witness in Philadelphia to enter the federal witness-protection program. U.S. marshals gave her a new identity and moved her to Florida. "The system worked.
NEWS
April 20, 2010 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Jury selection began Monday in the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court murder trial of accused contract killer Laquaille Bryant, charged in the Jan. 19, 2008, shootings of a federally protected witness and her friend. Bryant, 28, faces the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of Chante Wright, 23, who was in the federal program, and Octavia Green, 23. Two jurors had been selected by late afternoon. The process could take several days because jurors must be questioned about their willingness to impose the death penalty.
NEWS
March 12, 2012 | BY JAN RANSOM, Daily News Staff Writer
A FEDERAL JUDGE recently ruled against the Police Advisory Commission's former chief investigator, who had sued the city after claiming he was pushed out in retaliation for referring a complainant to the Daily News. Wellington Stubbs referred police informant Ventura Martinez to reporter Wendy Ruderman after Martinez filed a complaint in December 2008 about police misconduct. Stubbs argued that his actions were protected by the First Amendment, but U.S. District Judge Jan E. DuBois ruled against him on Jan. 27, adding that "the speech was not protected because [Stubbs]
NEWS
July 23, 2009 | By DAVID GAMBACORTA, gambacd@phillynews.com 215-854-5994
Robert Nixon, another local man who claimed to have been shot last year by Marvin Harrison, was expected to file a civil lawsuit against the NFL star today. Wadud Ahmad, Nixon's attorney, said that the suit will seek "well over $100,000" for physical and psychological damage that was caused on April 29, 2008, when Nixon said that he was wounded in the back by a bullet fired from Harrison's gun in North Philadelphia. "That bullet is still in his back," Ahmad said. "He still experiences extreme discomfort.
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ENTERTAINMENT
December 21, 2013 | By Tirdad Derakhshani, Inquirer Staff Writer
Only the strangest of minds could have come up with the premise for Lilyhammer , a dramedy about a mobster who sets up shop in small-town Norway. The Sopranos ' Steven Van Zandt is a New York capo who goes into witness protection after ratting out his boss. Besotted by the city of Lillehammer ever since he watched the 1994 Winter Olympics, he moves there, expecting to find (a snowy) paradise. Before long, he is back to his old tricks in his new country, assembling a motley crew of petty crooks and opening a charmingly sleazy bar. Van Zandt is strange, surreal, funny, and touching as Johnny Henriksen.
NEWS
July 17, 2012 | Inquirer Editorial
It's a downright shame that hundreds of likely witnesses have kept quiet rather than help police nab the thug who fired a bullet into the stomach of a toddler during a neighborhood block party. But their silence has become common in Philadelphia. It's a commentary on people's lack of confidence in the police to protect them when they do come forward. Their silence is a symptom of the callousness affecting too many neighborhoods where residents have become so accustomed to lawlessness that they chalk up the occasional shooting of a child as just part of living in the city.
NEWS
March 12, 2012 | BY JAN RANSOM, Daily News Staff Writer
A FEDERAL JUDGE recently ruled against the Police Advisory Commission's former chief investigator, who had sued the city after claiming he was pushed out in retaliation for referring a complainant to the Daily News. Wellington Stubbs referred police informant Ventura Martinez to reporter Wendy Ruderman after Martinez filed a complaint in December 2008 about police misconduct. Stubbs argued that his actions were protected by the First Amendment, but U.S. District Judge Jan E. DuBois ruled against him on Jan. 27, adding that "the speech was not protected because [Stubbs]
SPORTS
August 20, 2010 | by Les Bowen
Who: Eagles at Bengals   When: Tonight, 8 o'clock   Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati   TV: FOX29   Radio: WYSP (94.1-FM) and WIP (610-AM)   5 THINGS TO WATCH 1. Red zone: Nobody would have made a big deal out of the Eagles' settling for a pair of field goals on the first-team offense's two complete drives of the preseason opener last week if this hadn't been a recurring theme of the past few seasons.
NEWS
April 22, 2010 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Philadelphia prosecutors began building a case for the death penalty Wednesday after accused contract killer Laquaille Bryant decided to plead guilty and leave his fate to a Common Pleas Court jury. Bryant's guilty pleas to two counts of first-degree murder in the 2008 shootings of federally protected witness Chante Wright and her friend came after two days of jury selection and on what was to have been the first day of his trial. After last-minute talks among Bryant, his family, and lawyers, the jury was sworn in at noon and heard him also plead guilty to two firearms counts and witness intimidation.
NEWS
April 20, 2010 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Jury selection began Monday in the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court murder trial of accused contract killer Laquaille Bryant, charged in the Jan. 19, 2008, shootings of a federally protected witness and her friend. Bryant, 28, faces the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of Chante Wright, 23, who was in the federal program, and Octavia Green, 23. Two jurors had been selected by late afternoon. The process could take several days because jurors must be questioned about their willingness to impose the death penalty.
NEWS
March 31, 2010 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A Philadelphia judge yesterday upheld the legality of accused contract killer Laquaille Bryant's arrest and ruled that his statement to police might be used in his trial next month in the shooting deaths of a federally protected witness and her friend. Bryant, 28, faces the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in the Jan. 19, 2008, shootings of Chante Wright, 23, who was in the witness-protection program, and Octavia Green, also 23. Defense attorney Michael E. Wallace argued that police did not have a warrant on Feb. 7, 2008, when they entered the home of Bryant's wife, Aisha Kinney, in the 3100 block of Weymouth Street in Kensington and encountered Bryant coming down the stairs.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 18, 2009 | By Carrie Rickey, Inquirer Movie Critic
Did you hear about Did You Hear About the Morgans? Really, you don't want to. Here is a movie with everything going for it and nothing working. After the preview, I felt an urgent need to enroll in a witless-protection program. This mirth-free comedy costars Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker as unhappily married Manhattanites who, after seeing a contract killing, are shipped off by the Feds to witness protection in Wyoming. They are remanded to the care of a folksy sheriff (Sam Elliot)
NEWS
July 23, 2009 | By DAVID GAMBACORTA, gambacd@phillynews.com 215-854-5994
Robert Nixon, another local man who claimed to have been shot last year by Marvin Harrison, was expected to file a civil lawsuit against the NFL star today. Wadud Ahmad, Nixon's attorney, said that the suit will seek "well over $100,000" for physical and psychological damage that was caused on April 29, 2008, when Nixon said that he was wounded in the back by a bullet fired from Harrison's gun in North Philadelphia. "That bullet is still in his back," Ahmad said. "He still experiences extreme discomfort.
NEWS
July 20, 2008 | By Karin Kasdin FOR THE INQUIRER
Gerald Shur has spent a lifetime trying to understand the criminal mind. The Bucks County resident has never been short on research subjects. Shur was the mastermind behind the creation of the federal witness-protection program, and throughout his 34 years with the Department of Justice, he thrust himself into the lives of the most vicious kingpins of organized crime in America. Now retired, Shur, 74, can finally talk about his past, the program he founded, and the veil of secrecy under which he lived most of his adult life.
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