Philadelphia Criminal Law News

June 2012 Archives

Manscaping or Much Worse ... You Decide

Everyone knows about the growing number of metrosexual men. Those guys who want the ladies to think that they are suave and cultured through their style of dress.

Now it seems as though dudes are going even further down that path, to what used to be only in the ambit of porn stars, manscaping. Manscaping, an all-too-clever combination of man and landscaping, is basically giving one's genitals a haircut.

Drunk in Public and Yelling 'Come at Me, Bro!' What Now?

Imagine it, the Phillies are back in World Series and you're out celebrating with friends, when a dude in a Mets hat yells "come at me, bro!" Besides the guy being a total waste of space, he is likely on the verge of a ticket for being drunk in public.

On the other hand, what if it's you telling someone to "come at you" when you're on the streets of Philadelphia? What if you don't realize that the person you're yelling at is actually a police officer?

Well then, you better know what to do with that citation the nice officer hands you.

Shooting Victim Charged with Perjury; No Snitch Here?

In June 2011, James Ellis was discovered by police in a pool of his own blood, originating from nine gunshot wounds. Ellis had tried to drive before crashing into multiple parked cars and then crawling out of his Buick LeSabre.

After Ellis had recuperated from his wounds at a nearby hospital, he was questioned by police about the shooting, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Ellis was consistently vague about the circumstances surrounding the attack and gave no clues about why he was singled out for a hit.

Jerry Sandusky Sentencing; Judge Cleland Has His Work Cut Out

Friday, June 22, is when the jury comprised of Penn State alumni and other Centre County residents found Jerry Sandusky guilty of 45 counts of child sex abuse, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Now, all that remains is for the court to determine the length of Sandusky's sentence.

The jury deliberated for two days to reach its verdict, only acquitting him of 3 charges, including the charge based on Mike McQueary's testimony of walking in on the alleged abuse of a child in the Penn State locker room, according to the Inquirer. Now that the jury has completed its duty of determining the facts of the case, it is up to the judge to determine what happens next.

It's Finally Over: Msgr. William J. Lynn Convicted, Faces Prison

An unprecedented trial that seemingly lasted forever, especially during jury deliberations, has finally come to a close with a conviction on one count and a deadlock on two others, reports the New York Times.

Monsignor William J. Lynn was convicted, after almost two weeks of deliberation, of endangering children after he allowed predators to continue ministering to youths. The tragic decision resulted in the preventable alleged molestation of a 10-year-old victim.

Why Did the Defense Rest with No Sandusky Testimony?

Today marked the end of the evidence presentation in the Sandusky trial with closing arguments occurring after the defense rested its case without any Sandusky testimony, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Before closing arguments began, Judge Cleland dismissed three of the charges on the basis that two were not supported by the testimony of Victim 4, and the other because it was a duplicate charge. This left 48 counts against Sandusky.

Now the case is in the jury's hands as they have been charged with determining what the facts are and whether they show that Sandusky is guilty of sexually abusing multiple young boys, according to the Associated Press. The jury will be making their decision without hearing a word from the man himself.

Why did Sandusky's attorney, Joseph Amendola, not put Sandusky on the stand?

Priest Sex-Abuse Case Could End with Hung Jury and Mistrial

You all know about the priest sex-abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. You also know about how the scandal has hit the Philadelphia Archdiocese, with one former priest already pleading guilty to charges of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy in 1999, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Now, the trial that was supposed to provide answers may end in a hung jury in the cases of Monsignor William Lynn and Reverend James Brennan, according to FOX29. The jury communicated in a note to Judge M. Teresa Sarmina that it was in a "hung jury situation" for all but one of the five charges against Lynn and Brennan, according to the Inquirer.

The judge has instructed the jury to keep trying, but what if they cannot reach consensus?

Dharun Ravi Released from Jail After 20 Days

Ex-Rutgers student, Dharun Ravi, has been released from jail after serving 20 days, according to the Associated Press. Ravi's sentence was for 30 days, $11,000 in fines and assessments, 3 years probation, 300 hours of community service, and counseling.

He was released 10 days early for good behavior and for working.

Ravi has been in jail almost as long as he was a student at Rutgers, according to the AP. Luckily for Ravi, immigration officials have stated that they will not seek his deportation to his native India, where he has not lived since he was 5. Ravi still has an appeal pending and continues to profess his innocence to the charges.

Sandusky Disorder Evidence to Be Part of Defense

All of the horrifying testimony has been presented in the Sandusky trial. All of the prosecution's witnesses have told their side of the story and the experts agree that Sandusky's only chance at a defense is to discredit all of the testimony against him, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Now the defense wants to put on Sandusky's disorder evidence.

On Friday, Judge John Cleland ruled that Sandusky will be allowed to present expert evidence that he has "histrionic personality disorder" (HPD) as long as Sandusky is made available to the prosecution for examination, reports the Associated Press. The defense believes the disorder could explain away Sandusky's letters and other alleged grooming of victims.

What was the judge's order and what does it means to Sandusky's defense?

Testimony in Sandusky Trial Paints Uphill Climb for Coach?

This week the Jerry Sandusky trial got underway with testimony by the prosecutions’ witnesses, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. So far there have been multiple victims’ testimony, including the testimony of former Penn State assistant coach Michael McQueary, and that of McQueary’s father, reports the Philadelphia Daily News.

Each victim has depicted graphic scenes of abuse by the Sandusky that occurred in his home, hotel rooms, and in the Penn State locker rooms, according to NBC10. Some of the victims say that the coach threatened them after the events, saying that the victim would never see his family again if he told, reports NBC10.

The issue for Sandusky is that he needs to cast reasonable doubt in the jurors’ minds about this testimony.

How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Philly

How many times have you been pulled over for speeding? Once, twice, three times a speeder? Everyone's been late to an event or an appointment. There's always that time that you were on your way to get to the game before the first pitch and then you get nabbed by the cops.

Some of you might be pretty persuasive with the officer when they're at your window asking for your license and registration. Well, if you're not so suave and your insurance premiums continue to rise with your points, here is how to fight that next ticket in Philadelphia.

Motion to Dismiss Fails to Get Sandusky Out of Jail Free

On June 8, Common Pleas Judge John M. Cleland denied Jerry Sandusky's motion to dismiss the charges against him, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sandusky's attorney Joseph Amendola filed the motion to dismiss based on the prosecution's lack of evidence to support the charges and that the charges were vague.

This motion was a "Hail Mary" pass on the eve of trial in an attempt to avoid trial altogether. While these attempts to dismiss charges before a trial rarely work, they are necessary to assure that the state has met its burden when charging someone with a crime.

Now, the trial begins in earnest with opening statements today.

Attempted Firebombing Also Attempted Witness Intimidation?

Over the last weekend, there was an attempted firebombing in Frankford at the home of a corrections officer, Victor Guzman, injured in mid-May while trying unsuccessfully to shield his stepson from a shooting, reports Metro Philadelphia. While police are not linking the two events, they are also not ruling out the possibility.

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, the attackers used 40-ounce beer bottles filled with gasoline in their attempt to burn the house down. Luckily for the family, the bottle that entered the house and the three found next to the house did not ignite. If these events are linked, newly named suspect in the shooting, Jalil Cooper, will be in some hot liquid of his own.

Sandusky Jury Selection: Voir Dire on Steroids

The Jerry Sandusky drama marches on as jury selection began Tuesday, pulling in 600 Centre County residents for the process, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Inquirer goes on to report that once a jury is selected, it will not be sequestered during the estimated three-week trial.

Sequestration requires jurors to have no contact with the outside world for the length of a trial. The Inquirer reports that the judge is trusting jurors to not discuss the case with others or read news about it, so that they will make an unbiased decision when the time comes. That is where the process of jury selection comes in.

Hot Air: Air Conditioner Theft in Kensington

A man was caught on video stealing an air conditioner in Kensington, reports NBC10. This is no window unit theft, this is the huge, person-sized, central air unit that blows cold air into an entire house. The man kicked and tugged at the unit until it disconnected from the wall with a shower of sparks, causing the man to jump back.

While the AC unit was stolen in April, the surveillance video has just been released, according to CBS3. Police hope that the community can help identify the man in the video. Once he is identified, he will have to face more than the camera.