Philadelphia Criminal Law News

February 2012 Archives

Molly Wei Testifies Against Dharun Ravi in Rutgers Webcam Trial

Dharun Ravi’s defense to the invasion of privacy and bias intimidation charges he faces in the Rutgers webcam trial was that he was merely playing a childish prank and lacked the motivation to commit a hate crime.

However, Molly Wei’s testimony paints a far darker picture.

As you probably know, last year, Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi was secretly taped having a romantic encounter with another man in his dorm room. Clementi’s roommate Dharun Ravi webcammed the two and when Clementi found out, it’s believed that he was driven to suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.

Dharun Ravi Trial Begins for Spying on Tyler Clementi

Tyler Clementi’s decision to end his life by jumping off the George Washington Bridge last year made national headlines when it was revealed that Clementi may have been pushed to death because his college roommate, Dharun Ravi, allegedly spied on him and caught him in a gay relationship.

In the Dharun Ravi trial, the now 20-year-old former Rutgers student faces criminal charges for a variety of crimes including hate crimes and spying, though in this trial, he is not actually being held legally accountable for Clementi’s death, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Cult that Abuses Dogs? Two People Arrested in Coatesville

The Coatesville Cult? It’s generally not illegal to join a cult or participate in witchcraft or devil worship. But when your “religious” beliefs harm other people or innocent animals, then you may be committing a crime.

In Coatesville, police arrested two people after finding more than a dozen dog mutilations and dismembered dogs inside their home. Police say that the inside of the home had elements of witchcraft and occult display, reports The Associated Press.

Gruesome Discovery: Fetus in Sewer Pipe Found

Plumbers working on a house in Kensington made a gruesome discovery on President’s Day — they found a fetus in a sewer pipe.

A plumber and his assistant were working on a house on Russell Street trying to clear a clog in the pipes connected to the toilet when they found the fetus stuck in the pipe, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. An elderly couple had just moved into the house and appear to have ordered some work done on their home.

Jerry Sandusky Abused Grandchild? Mom Wants Him Away from Kids

There's more Jerry Sandusky grandchildren drama. Earlier this week, Judge John Cleland ruled that Sandusky could visit his grandchildren, agreeing to ease the bail restrictions on the former Penn State assistant football coach who faces 50 charges of sexually abusing minor boys.

However, not everyone was happy with the judge's ruling; one of Jerry Sandusky's former daughters-in-law has vowed to fight the judge's ruling, and not allow Sandusky to visit the children she had with Sandusky's son, Matt, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Win for Jerry Sandusky in Grandchildren Visits and Jury Selection

In a couple small, but important victories for Jerry Sandusky, whose attorney, Joe Amendola, was able to win the accused child molester reduced bail terms and a local jury to hear his case.

Last week, Amendola sought to revise the Jerry Sandusky grandchildren visitation limitation and an ease Sandusy's bail terms as the disgraced coach awaits trial on May 14 for 50 counts of child molestation. For obvious reasons, prosecutors bristled at the former Penn State football coach's attempts to be near children again. In fact, they sought more stringent bail conditions including disallowing Sandusky to leave the inside of his home given some complaints that Sandusky was leering at school children from his porch, reports ABC.

Jerry Sandusky Jury Selection Issues

Accused child molester Jerry Sandusky is set to return to court on Friday. Along with issues relating to his bail and conditions of his house arrest, the Jerry Sandusky jury selection topic will be brought before the court.

In pretrial motions filed, it appears that prosecutors want a jury selected from outside the county, reports the Los Angeles Times. Sandusky’s attorney Joe Amendola favors a jury selected from his local peers in Centre County.

What's New With the Jerry Sandusky Trial

There’s never really a slow week as we await the Jerry Sandusky trial. This week, Sandusky’s attorney Joe Amendola made a request for hundreds of pages of evidence he says that prosecutors withheld. In addition, Jerry Sandusky’s neighbors are complaining that he is standing on his lawn watching children play.

First, Amendola filed a 37-page motion asking a judge to order prosecutors to turn over dozens of police reports, psychiatric evaluations, interview notes, photos, and other material gathered during their three-year investigation, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

State Representative Bill DeWeese Guilty of Theft and Conspiracy

A Dauphin County jury found state Representative Bill DeWeese guilty of charges that he illegally used his legislative staff to perform his campaign work. DeWeese was found guilty on five of six counts of theft, conspiracy, and conflict of interest.

It’s not clear if DeWeese will face any prison time, but the state representative has vowed that he will continue his reelection bid and said that he would be exonerated in the court of public opinion, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer. It wasn’t reported if a convicted felon is capable of holding public office.

Attorney Gets Jerry Sandusky Victim Names

The Jerry Sandusky victim names will be released to the disgraced former Penn State assistant football coach. Sandusky's attorney Joe Amendola will receive the names of the ten young men who accused Sandusky of sexual assault by the end of the week, reports ESPN.

The 68-year-old Sandusky is facing numerous sexual assault charges for act that he allegedly committed against the boys over a 15-year period. He has denied the allegations and is awaiting his trial.