Newspapers Ask Court for Pennsylvania Lethal-Injection Drug Info

shutterstock_lethal-injection-940x540

Four newspapers, two in Philadelphia, have sued Pennsylvania in order to get information on the supplier of Pennsylvania’s lethal injection drugs. The motion was filed by the ACLU on behalf of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia City Paper, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Guardian US.

The lawsuit (below) asks a federal judge to unseal court documents that reveal the drugs Pennsylvania uses for executions, including the scheduled lethal injection of Humbert Michael Jr., set for September 22nd. Michael Jr. kidnapped and killed 16-year-old Trista Eng in 1993. It would be Pennsylvania’s first execution in since Gary Heidnik was executed in 1999.

Read more »

Jury Duty Is Hell

shutterstock_jury-940x540

Shutterstock.com

“It’s my third frigging time,” the man says to the court clerk; his bald head was turning red. “My neighbor hasn’t been called once, not once.” He slams his jury summons on the counter.

“I’m sorry, sir,” the clerk replies. “It is a totally random selection …”

“My neighbor hasn’t been called, either,” says the woman next to him. She’s wearing a Charlie Brown Christmas sweatshirt. It is August.

These interactions made me feel somewhat at home in Room 101 of the Criminal Justice Center on the recent Monday morning of my own jury summons. I was up most of the night with horrible anxiety, as usually is the case before I go perform my civic duty. The silver lining? No one in the room wanted to be there. Jury duty is like a miserable family reunion, with only one difference: We are supposed to be deciding people’s fates here. And we all want out. Badly.

Read more »

Defense in Building Collapse May Call on Mayor to Testify

Michael Nutter may have to take the stand in a murder case, if defense lawyers have their way.

Philadelphia’s mayor is one of more than 50 potential witnesses lawyers for two men charged in last year’s building collapse at 22nd and Market submitted to the court. Seven were killed and 13 hurt in the collapse of a building under demolition.

The defense lawyers, William D. Hobson and Daine A. Grey Jr., told the Inquirer the mayor and his aides were relevant witnesses because they were involved in the investigation and redevelopment plan for the 22nd and Market site.

Read more »

Philadelphia Sex Trafficker Gets Almost 22 Years in Prison

A once-aspiring rapper who went by the name of King Kobra was sentenced to 21 years and 10 months in prison Monday for his role in sex trafficking.

Prosecutors had requested a 40-year sentence for Rahim McIntyre. Also Monday, McIntyre’s older brother Rashaad pleaded guilty to sex trafficking charges and another count of producing child pornography. He faces life in prison on sentencing.

Read more »

Judges: Johnny Doc’s Videotaped Deposition Will Not Be Sealed

IBEW Local 98 business manager John Dougherty is suing current Inquirer reporter Karen Heller over a column she wrote in 2009. Heller did get the facts wrong in her column — she said electricians charged exorbitant amounts to put up lights in Rittenhouse Square, when in fact they donated their time — but apologized and ran a correction as requested.

Not good enough, says Dougherty’s defamation lawsuit, which alleges an uncorrected version stayed on a third-party website for two years and on Heller’s Facebook page “for some brief period of time.” Hence, the lawsuit. But, as part of the suit, Johnny Doc has been ordered to submit to a videotaped deposition. He doesn’t want it released to the media, and motioned for such. According to the Legal Intelligencer,a judge turned down his request.

Read more »

Former Traffic Court Judge Gets 30 Months

Former Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge Robert Mulgrew was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in a scheme to fraudulently acquire funds intended for state non-profit groups. Mulgrew, 56, pleaded guilty last year to mail fraud and related charges stemming from a misuse of funds from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

Mulgrew and co-defendant Lorraine Dispaldo, who also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months last year, directed hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Pennsylvania DCED to groups they were affiliated with between 1996 and 2008. Friends of Dickinson Square received $450,000 from DCED; Mulgrew, the group’s vice president, admitted to spending $70,000 of that money on himself. He and Dispaldo gave forged documents to DCED to cover it up.

Read more »

Chaka Fattah Jr. Says He Turned Down Plea Deal, Likes the $16 Rock Shrimp at Pod

We told you yesterday about Chaka Fattah Jr.’s indictment on fraud and tax charges. He’s accused of stealing from the Philadelphia School District and failing to pay federal taxes, among other things. Since then, though, Fattah has been on the offensive.

Yesterday, Fattah Jr. went on 1210 WPHT to talk to Chris Stigall and Dom Giordano, two broadcasters who are traditionally not big fans of Democrats. (Giordano switched his registration to Dem briefly in 2008 so he could vote for Hillary Clinton in the primary, believing her to be an easier target in the general election.) But Fattah Jr. had a Big Talker-friendly angle on this case: Government overreach!

“The people involved in the investigation are, I think — they’re primarily interested in potentially getting a promotion,” he said on air. “Things like that, things that have nothing to do with doing their job. It’s a political thing … I really think it shows the individual Assistant U.S. Attorneys and, in some cases FBI Agents or IRS Agents, have really too much power over people’s lives.”

Fattah also revealed he refused to take a plea deal which would have involved him cooperating against his father, as well as jail time. The government wanted him to cooperate against his dad and go to jail? That’s cold.

Read more »

Philly Man Accused of Associating With Terrorist Group

Hayatullah Dawari, an immigrant from Afghanistan who lives in Philadelphia, was charged in federal court with lying on an application for citizenship last year. The government contends he has maintained an association with Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, a group with the goal of overthrowing the Afghanistan government and re-installing an Islamic state.

It has carried out attacks on U.S. and coalition forces and is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., the U.K., the European Union and Canada. Yes, even Canada went out of its way to hate on this group, which the indictment links to Al Qaeda.

Dawari, who became a legal permanent resident just after the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, applied for citizenship in November last year. The government says he maintained an association with Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin — the government calls it “HIG,” which I’ll do from now on to save time — both during his time in Afghanistan and since entering the United States. Dawari is charged with lying on the application and not disclosing his alleged ties to HIG.

Read more »

N.J. Court: Rap Lyrics Introduced at Trial Were Prejudicial

The New Jersey State Supreme Court ruled yesterday that rap lyrics introduced at a defendant’s murder trial were prejudicial and should not have been allowed into evidence. The N.J. Supreme Court upheld an appellate court’s ruling that reversed the conviction.

The case stems from the November 8, 2005, shooting of Lamont Peterson. Peterson was hit seven times in the back, torso and head, and told police on the way to the hospital that Vonte Skinner shot him. While searching Skinner’s car, police found several notebooks of rap lyrics — many of which included violent themes. The lyrics were read at Skinner’s first trial, which ended in a mistrial when the jury couldn’t reach a verdict.

The defense objected to the introduction of the lyrics before Skinner’s retrial, but a court again ruled them admissible. Skinner’s rap handle was apparently Real Threat; he has a “Threat” tattoo. “At the second trial, a detective testifying for the State read extensively from defendant’s lyrics to the jury,” the Supreme Court wrote in its opinion. “The trial transcript of that uninterrupted reading stretches thirteen pages. The material was replete with expletives and included graphic depictions of violence, bloodshed, death, maiming, and dismemberment.”

Read more »

« Older Posts