Philadelphia Criminal Law News

May 2012 Archives

Felonies Galore: One Wrecked Car, a Tasered Bro on the Run

A crazy outing for the police has left two wrecked cars, a roughed up cop, and a Tasered dude on the run in a Honda Accord. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the police attempted to pull over a Ford Explorer for a motor vehicle violation when they discovered the SUV was stolen.

Once police flashed their lights, it was on.

When the thief saw the lights, he fled. This left the police in a bind due to new guidelines that limit high speed pursuit. However, the thief's driving skills were not quite those of Mario Andretti, so he ended up slamming into another car and flipping the SUV on its roof.

The BombThreat Might Be Empty, but the Jail Cell Won't Be

Tuesday morning, a bomb threat was called into the Delaware County Courthouse, causing the building to be emptied. WPVI-TV reports that the call was made just after 10:00 a.m. and that multiple law enforcement agencies are now investigating. According to reports, the call was made on Memorial Day, but then made again on Tuesday after the caller likely realized that the court would be closed for the holiday.

After the building was evacuated, bomb sniffing dogs began checking the building. The bomb threat also forced prisoners with scheduled court appearances to be taken back to jail, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. It seems like they may have more company soon.

Terrence Howard's Ex-Girlfriend Punches Him in the Face?

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Terrence Howard's ex-girlfriend is set to appear in court for allegedly punching him in the face after accusing him of giving her herpes. Ex-girlfriend May Seng Yang claims that the actor choked her and threw her to the ground.

Yang is charged with simple assault, harassment and disorderly conduct. These charges are second and third degree misdemeanors, which carry sentences of one to two years in prison.

Dharun Ravi Sentence: 30 Days in Jail; 3 Years Probation

Today was sentencing day for Dharun Ravi, the college student convicted of bias crimes and spying on this former college roommate, Tyler Clementi. Clementi committed suicide shortly after he found out that Dharun had used his computer to transmit a same-sex encounter between Clementi and an unidentified man over the internet.

According to the Star-Ledger, Ravi had originally faced up to 10 years in prison. Instead, he will serve 30 days in jail, plus 300 hours of community service, sensitivity training, and three years of probation.

Bank Error in Your Favor; Do Not Collect $3,000

A man from across the river, over in Cinnaminson, New Jersey, got a little surprise when he cashed his check for $300 at the Delanco Federal Savings Bank. The teller handed him $3,000 instead, reports ABC 6 Action News.

What would you do? Take the money and run, or correct the teller and give it back?

According to the law, it better be the latter.

Old Forge Police Chief, Captain, Fireman Caught Up in Sex Scandal

Disturbing progress has been made in an underage sexual assault probe in Old Forge, Lackawanna County. State police have now arrested the Chief of the Old Forge Police, Larry Semenza, 48, for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in the years 2004 to 2007, reports the Times-Tribune. The girl, now 23, was a former junior firefighter.

Earlier this month, they also arrested Police Captain Jamie Krenitsky, 34, and former volunteer firefighter Walter Chiavacci, 46, on allegations of inappropriate touching back in 2004 and 2005. According to the Tribune, the two police officers have been suspended without pay, pending the results of the investigation.

Kevin Kless' Assailants Charged With Third Degree Murder

Charges were finally filed this week against the three men suspected of beating Kevin Kless to death after an odd misunderstanding, reports NBC 10 Philadelphia. Felix Carrillo, Kenneth Santiago, and Steven Ferguson were all charged with third-degree murder.

Kless, a 23-year-old Temple graduate, had apparently gotten into a verbal disagreement with a cab driver, as the cab had left his light on, despite having passengers in the back. He yelled something at the cab, and the three assailants apparently thought it was directed at them. They stopped, got out of the car, and beat Kless to death.

Man Wanted For Assault After Tossing Hot Coffee at Woman

Philadelphia Police are asking for help in identifying a man with a small anger problem. The man is wanted for aggravated assault, which stems from his slight overreaction to allegedly being charged twice for his sandwich, reports Metro Philadelphia.

Police say, and a surveillance video shows, that the man was angry because he allegedly paid for his food earlier. The clerk insists that he didn't. The well-dressed assailant, after a bit of verbal rage expression, grabs the coffee from the donut shop employee's hand and throws it at her. The woman suffered severe burns from the incident. The man left the scene in a gold Cadillac after exchanging a few more choice words.

Rapper 'Steel' Simmons Doesn't Snitch; Gets 15 to 30 For Murder

Well, at least he’s still got his street cred because by the time he gets out of prison, he won’t have much of a career. As the luminary Jay-Z once reportedly said, there ain’t nothing hot about a forty-year-old rapper.

Steel, a.k.a. Jamaal Simmons, was sentenced today for his part in the murder of an innocent bystander. To the end, he refused to give up the trigger man, which resulted in a longer prison sentence, reports the Philadelphia Daily News.

The Infamous Richard Greist Ordered to Remain in Psych Ward

Thirty-two years ago, Richard Greist was found insane. He still is, at least according to a local judge. Earlier this week, Judge Edward Griffith ordered that he remain confined to a psychiatric facility, reports The Pennsylvania Record.

In May, 1978, Greist, in a drug-fueled psychiatric break, committed one of the most depraved series of crimes in Pennsylvania history. He first stabbed his pregnant wife. He then carved out his unborn child and mutilated the unborn child's corpse. After that, he turned the knife on his grandmother and stabbed his 5-year-old daughter in the eye.

His grandmother and daughter survived. Greist pled insanity and was confined to a psychiatric ward in 1980.

Sandusky's Team Fires Back, Judge Rules Against Prosecutors

Jerry Sandusky's attorneys filed a response to the prosecution's flurry of accusations made earlier this week, and hours later, Judge Cleland ruled in his favor, reports The Associated Press.

The prosecution's complaints centered on alleged improprieties involving the subpoenas. Their main arguments were that the subpoenas were overbroad, requested privileged materials, violated the court order by disclosing victims' names, and were a fishing expedition.

They also complained about the use of the form templates from the County's office, which they argued would confuse the recipient into thinking that the subpoenas were from the court, and not the defense.

Tanorexic Mom Pleads Not Guilty; Is Case Headed For Dismissal?

The orange woman accused of endangering her 5 (now 6) -year-old daughter by bringing her to a tanning booth pled not guilty to the charges today, reports NBC New York. Patricia Krentcil, 44, was arrested and charged with second degree child endangerment after her child mentioned that she went “tanning with Mommy” over the weekend. Children under 14 are not allowed to utilize tanning facilities in New Jersey. Those between 14 and 18 must get a parental signature.

The criminal charges came forth after the daughter went to the school nurse for an itchy sunburn on her arms. When questioned about the burn, she mentioned that she had been tanning with her mother. A report from the school led to an investigation and a surprise arrest for Krentcil.

Motion Commotion in Sandusky Case: Your Move Amendola

There has been a flurry of paperwork in the Sandusky case, along with a lot of accusations and possible screw-ups, reports NBC 10 Philadelphia. The kerfuffle started with Jerry Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola. In what could be termed a fishing expedition, Amendola sent out subpoenas to a number of people, including the schools of alleged victims and the police departments that investigated the matter.

The subpoenas requested everything from full un-redacted investigation files, to the victims' psychological reports. They also included the names of the victims, which may have been a violation of a court order.

The question is, what is Joe Amendola up to?