Philadelphia Criminal Law News

August 2011 Archives

John Perzel to Plead Guilty in Bonusgate

Former Pennsylvania House Speaker John Perzel is set to plead guilty to political corruption for his role in the Bonusgate scandal. It’s not clear which charges Perzel will plead guilty, to or if Perzel will face prison time, but others caught up in the web of Bonusgate are currently in jail and Perzel may face a similar penalty.

In a wide-ranging scandal involving both Republicans and Democrats, state politicians were charged with illegally taking taxpayer money to benefit their own personal campaigns, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer. Prosecutors believe that Perzel and the other defendants took as much as $10 million for campaign activities in the Bonusgate scandal.

New Jersey Corruption: Ex-Senator Wayne Bryant Loses Appeal

More New Jersey corruption is in the news, former state senator Wayne Bryant lost his appeal to a federal circuit court and will serve his four-year sentence for attempting to parlay his senate position into a cush job at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

The Camden County democrat was convicted in 2008, for political corruption following allegations that he attempted to exchange favorable legislation to the university for a job at the school, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer. The job would have required very little work of Bryant, but would have paid a $35,000 salary. In exchange, Bryant was accused of directing nearly $10 million to the school.

William Mackey Faces Fraud Charges

William Mackey was charged by federal prosecutors in a wire-fraud scheme. The former executive director of City Wide Youth Leadership Agency is accused of cashing out checks made to others, passing bad checks, and other offenses.

As the executive director of City Wide, Mackey ran a summer job program for area youths at risk of dropping out of school, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. Mackey would set up at-risk youths with internships at law firms, hospitals, and other companies.

Sarah Palin Stalker Arrested

A father and son team was arrested by the FBI for stalking Sarah Palin. The Sarah Palin stalker family, Craig Christy and his son Shawn, are from Schuylkill County and they were arrested without incident in Allentown.

Sarah Palin and her family already had a temporary restraining order against Shawn Christy stemming from an incident last year, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. Palin said that Christy had threatened her by sending a receipt for a gun purchase and message saying that he had bought a one-way ticket to Alaska.

Facebook Murder for Hire Target Corey White Killed

Facebook murder-for-hire target Corey White was killed Monday in a bizarre set of circumstances that seemingly intertwines every Pennsylvania criminal law and every Pennsylvania criminal.

A lot of people wanted to kill Corey White, it appears. He was involved in a child custody dispute with his ex-girlfriend, 19-year old London Eley, and she had offered $1,000 to anyone on Facebook who would step up and murder him.

Timothy Bynum took up the challenge and said he would commit the murder for an upfront payment. But both were arrested at the time of White's killing, so they couldn't have been responsible.

On the first weekend of the Philadelphia curfew, police arrested 50 youths on Friday night and 12 on Saturday night for curfew violations. Along with the Philadelphia curfew arrests, 18-year old Corey Maxey was arrested for stabbing a 16-year old girl leaving Mayor Nutter's Saturday-night youth bowling event kicking off the curfew.

The curfew was deemed a success as no incidents of flash mob violence were reported. Mayor Nutter had instituted the curfew for the Center City and University City neighborhoods with the primary goal of stopping flash mobs that were increasingly taking over the city, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Kids for Cash Judge Gets 28 Years

Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella was sentenced to 28 years in jail for his role in the kids for cash scheme. The 61-year-old kids for cash judge was convicted of racketeering charges in February. Ciavarella's attorney had asked for a lighter sentence arguing that the disgraced judge had suffered enough public humiliation. However, the sentencing judge was none too sympathetic giving his cohort nearly three decades behind bars.

According to the Associated Press, Ciavarella was convicted of taking more than $2 million in bribes from the builder of the PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care detention centers. Ciavaralla allegedly filled the beds of the private detention center with children often as young as ten for seemingly minor offenses.

In another case of celebrity tax evasion, rapper Beanie Sigel pled guilty to failing to file income taxes for three years and now faces three years in jail.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the government accused Sigel of failing to report a million dollars in income from 2003 to 2005. For that amount, the government charged Sigel with failing to pay $348,000 in taxes.

Mayor Nutter announced a 9 p.m. Philadelphia curfew for city children in certain neighborhoods in an effort to stop increasing occurrences of flash mob violence.

The curfew will only apply to children under 18 years of age and will only apply on Friday and Saturday nights, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer. In addition, the curfew does not affect the entire city and will only be in place in the Center City and University City neighborhoods. The curfew is slated to end when the school year begins.

Learn About Pennsylvania Criminal Laws and Criminal Penalties

Felonies, misdemeanors, and summary offenses ... first degree, second degree, and third degree offenses ... navigating the Pennsylvania criminal laws and its criminal penalties can be confusing even for trained lawyers.

So in order to assist non-lawyers in navigating the criminal system, we provided a general cheat sheet summarizing criminal offenses and penalties in Pennsylvania. Take a look at a breakdown of the some of laws of Pennsylvania that follow.

Pennsylvania Animal Cruelty Laws: Abused Dog Left for Dead

Paul Bevan-Xenelis allegedly left his family dog for dead after poisoning the dog and shooting the dog multiple times. Bevan-Xenelis faces penalties under Pennsylvania animal cruelty laws after the abused dog was found on a Doylestown golf course alive, but suffering.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Bevan-Xenelis was charged with shooting his 10-year old bulldog 32 times with a pellet gun — after attempting to poison his pet with hot dogs filled with insecticide. The dog was found left for dead at the Doylestown Country Club where Bevan-Xenelis worked.

Pennsylvania Self Defense in Deadly Drexel Student Fight

Cops are saying that the deadly stabbing in a fight between a Drexel student and another man that left the Drexel student dead may involve Pennsylvania self-defense laws.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Evan Morris, a 22-year-old Drexel senior, was itching for a fight as he kicked in two doors looking to get at the boyfriend of another Drexel student. A neighbor called 911 to report the kicked-in door, and by the time police arrived Morris lay bleeding to death with multiple stab wounds to the chest.

Matt Devlin To Plead Guilty in Duck Boat Accident

Matt Devlin is expected to enter a guilty plea for his role in the deadly duck boat accident last year. Devlin, the first mate on the tug boat that collided with the Ride the Ducks boat on the Delaware River, reportedly will plead guilty to the maritime-law equivalent of manslaughter.

In July 2010, a duck boat carrying 35 tourists stalled in the middle of the Delaware River. Devlin’s tugboat ran into the stalled duck boat sending many of the tourists overboard. Two Hungarian tourists drowned. A federal report says that Devlin’s failure to maintain a proper lookout on the tugboat caused the collision.