Philadelphia Criminal Law News

August 2012 Archives

Bucks County Police Officer Allegedly Fakes Getting Shot

In a strange twist that still has not been explained, a local police officer allegdly faked getting shot. Usually, this type of activity would be based on trying to cover up a murder by an officer, or to recover insurance money, neither of which has yet come to light. There was no victim at the scene, so we can cross off the murder reasoning, but what could have triggered this incident?

On Monday, Chalfont Borough Police Officer Jon Cousin reported that he had been shot during a traffic stop. The officer was taken to a hospital and then released, according to Channel 6 Action News. Other officers set up a road block to find the alleged shooter, but no car fitting the description given by Cousin was ever found, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

There were other clues that Cousin was allegedly fabricating his story: Police found bullet casings, but only from Cousin's weapon; there was no evidence another car had ever been at the scene; and Cousin showed no bruising where he'd allegedly been shot, according to Action News. In fact, the only bullet in Cousin's bulletproof vest allegedly came from Cousin's personally owned firearm.

So what crimes has Cousin allegedly committed with his strange actions?

Woman Cuts Brother's Testicle With Fingernail During Fight

There are so many puns that could be used here, but Stephanie Farr at the Philadelphia Daily News got there first. In this strange, somewhat twisted fact pattern, it is difficult to tell who is at fault for the bleeding testicle in Upper Providence.

Nicole Hathcock, the alleged nut cutter, had tried to organize an intervention for her brother, Robert Rosenberger. The intervention was staged at her parents' house in order to address Rosenberger's purported rampant drug use, according to the Daily News. The intervention went "very wrong" and the siblings got into a physical fight, at which point Hathcock allegedly used her long fingernails to cut open Rosenberger's testicle.

The testicle required seven stitches, gaining Hathcock an aggravated assault charge and a harassment charge. Would it matter who started the fight when it comes to the criminal charges?

Explosive Thrown Into Philly House Could Lead to Terrorism Charges

After the awful events of 9/11, communities across the country enacted laws aimed specifically at terrorism. These laws included the federal Patriot Act, as well as state criminal laws defining what terroristic acts are and giving them more serious penalties.

On Friday, someone threw an explosive into a house on Vandike Street in Northeast Philadelphia, according to NBC10. The explosion caught the house on fire and burned the man who was inside, sending him to the hospital in critical condition. It's not clear what type of explosive device was used.

So what charges could the person who threw the explosive face?

Smash and Grab at King of Prussia Mall: Robbery or Burglary?

Even though it is a method of theft, it also sounds like it could be a brand new dance. Instead, the old smash and grab is a trick used to break into a car and grab the forgotten cell phone on the seat or the laptop on the floor.

Recently, three men walked into Tourneau Inc., a luxury watch store at the Kind of Prussia Mall, wearing masks and wielding a small sledgehammer, according to The security guard was threatened with the sledgehammer before it was used to smash the glass display cases, allowing the men to steal $477,000 worth of watches. All of this happening in less than 20 seconds.

This raises the issue of whether this was a burglary or a robbery.

New Jersey Mayoral Candidate Busted for Selling Weed

An election season always brings out the scandals. Be it the "legitimate rape" statement or the Gennifer Flowers scandal, there will always be something that comes out about one of the people vying for office. And while Marion Barry rebounded from his issues, one local politician might not be so lucky.

Instead of merely possessing some drugs for his own use, Thomas Litwin, an independent candidate for mayor of Stafford Township, N.J., was caught allegedly trying to sell drugs to an undercover police officer, according to CBS 3. Litwin was caught with more than 50 grams (almost two ounces) of marijuana, some synthetic cannabinoids, and drug paraphernalia, police told the Asbury Park Press.

What if it was medical marijuana?

Woodbury Teen Allegedly Attempts Familicide by Arson

It's a fact of life that teens will rebel. There are books and articles on the subject as well as plenty of novels that cloak it in magic or vampirism. While we are closer to understanding the mood swings and stupid behavior of teens, some crimes are still difficult to pin down.

Take, for example, the story about the Woodbury, N.J., teen who allegedly tried to kill her family by setting their house on fire with gasoline. The 15-year-old and six members of her family were injured in the blaze that was contained to the second floor of a single-family home, according to The Associated Press.

The girl is charged with attempted murder and arson. Why does she face such severe charges?

Four-Year Sting at Boeing Plant Results in Drug Arrests

Crack pipes, painkillers, and bags of cocaine. Sounds an awful lot like Scarface, doesn't it. Or maybe it seems like a sting operation on a crack spot.

Unfortunately for the U.S. military branches that use CH-47 Chinook helicopters and V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, these items were found in a 4-year sting operation at the Ridley Township Boeing plant, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Among those caught in the sting was Michael Patterson, former president of United Aerospace Workers Local 1069.

Patterson was not the only one caught in the sting as 22 other workers have pleaded guilty to drug-related charges, according to the Inquirer. Would they have an entrapment defense?

'Kensington Strangler' Trial Begins; Statements to Police Admissible

There's a reason that so many lawyer characters on television and movies tell their fictional clients not to say anything to the police. That reason is that most of the time what you say will come back in your trial.

This is exactly what happened in the "Kensington Strangler" trial that began this week. Antonio Rodriguez is on trial for triple-murder, accused of killing three prostitutes by strangulation and then leaving their bodies partially nude and exposed to the elements, according to the Philadelphia Daily News. Rodriguez has waived his right to a jury and is being tried by a judge.

Cold Feet? Woman Accused of Stabbing Fiancé on Wedding Day

It’s natural for those about to get married to be a little nervous before their wedding. These nerves have led to things like the runaway bride fiasco that had the whole country helping the search.

Now there has been the accusation that a woman from Whitehall, Na Cola Darcel Franklin, stabbed her fiancé, Billy Brewster, eight hours before they were to be married, according to The Morning Call. There had been an argument between Brewster and Franklin when a wedding guest staying at their apartment went to break it up and allegedly found Brewster stabbed with Franklin holding a knife.

Ochocinco 86'd; Chad Johnson Arrested and Fired from Dolphins

Just when you thought you might stop hearing about Chad Johnson, a.k.a. “Ochocinco,” a.k.a. “85,” he pops back up in the news. This time he is not in a reality show with T.O. or leaving the Bengals. Nor are there new rumors that Johnson is being eyed by the Eagles.

Instead, Johnson has gotten himself in trouble with the law. During an argument with his wife, Evelyn Lozada, Johnson allegedly head-butted her, causing a cut on her forehead, according to WTXF-TV. Johnson claims that the two accidentally bumped heads. However, the arrest alone has led to his being fired from the Miami Dolphins, according to USA Today.

'Robbery' on Protest Sign Gets Occupy Protester Arrested

Everyone's got mixed feelings about the "Occupy" movement. Sometimes you root for them because you agree that the banks are getting too much money and the rest of us are screwed. Other times you just see them as a bunch of spoiled college kids that should spend more time on their resume.

Whatever your leanings are at the moment, it is good to point out how best to protest. This is because David Gorczynski was protesting bank fees with signs saying, "You're being robbed" and "Give a man a gun, he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob a country," according to The Express-Times.

Two Men Rob Others Posing as A Robbery Reality TV Show

This whole “reality” TV thing has gone too far. Yes, we know this statement was made long ago, but still we have people who are famous for being their obnoxious selves. And there are so many that still want to be on TV that they would do just about anything.

For example, there was a recent robbery in Indiana, Pennsylvania where Randall Smith and Artie Goodwine allegedly told two men that they were filming a reality TV show called “You Just Got Robbed,” according to the Associated Press. During the robbery, one of them put the two men in headlocks while the other recorded it on his cellphone. The two made off with all of $20 before being arrested.

Big Shock, Msgr. Lynn Wants to Be Out of Jail on Bail; Denied Again

Who wants to be in jail? Nobody wants to be there in the first place, that's for sure. Although there is probably some truth to the Shawshank Redemption character Brooks Halten who commits suicide after being released from prison, it is doubtful that it is a shared sentiment among the imprisoned.

So it is truly no surprise that after filing an appeal of his conviction, Monsignor William Lynn is now seeking to be released on bail while he awaits the results of his appeal, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Lynn's appeal is based on the belief that the child endangerment law was stretched too far to convict him, according to CBS Philly.

Riding the Subway with Guns; Next Time Make Sure the Bag's Closed

Anyone that owns a gun, or "second amendment weapon" according to Charles Krauthammer, knows the difficulties in transporting it to the range or on a hunting trip. There are so many rules and regulations. However, when you are moving guns that are not registered, there is one common sense rule to follow: don't let people see that you have them.

Jermal Michael Ponds did not follow that rule. As he travelled on the subway, a rifle could be seen sticking out of his large black bag, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. A passenger recognized the weapon and called the police. SEPTA cops were quickly on the scene at the next stop and found Ponds hiding in the back corner.

Junior Thug Attempts Multiple Robberies in Broad Daylight

Junior Thug certainly sounds like it would be the name of the next big thing on the hip hop charts. However, unlike Lil' Bow Wow, or Bow Wow now that he's all grown up, this young man found himself in the news for all the wrong reasons.

It seems like a 12- or 13-year-old boy was trying to gain "street cred" by robbing passersby at gunpoint, according to the Philadelphia Daily News. The boy tried to rob five separate people, including Phillip Lucas, a Daily News reporter. However, the boy did not actually get anything from his attempted robberies. Now police are looking for any information to find the boy.

What is in store for him when the police do find him?