Court Rules Law Firm Can Forgive 2007 Brady Legal Fees

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled Cozen O’Connor can forgive a 2007 loan made to Bob Brady. O’Connor worked to keep Brady on the ballot in the 2007 election after a challenge made by Tom Knox.

The Commonwealth Court ruled the money paid to O’Connor was money paid to influence the outcome of the election, and so it could only be legally forgiven in $10,000 annual installments. The Supreme Court agreed with O’Connor’s argument that the legal fees accrued fighting a ballot challenge was not money paid to influence the outcome of an election. An appeals court said this argument “invites the willful suspension of disbelief.”

Read more »

3 Ironworkers Union Members Plead Guilty

Ironworkers Local 401 head Joseph Dougherty is the only member of the union facing trial after three members agreed to plead guilty today in court.

Earlier this year, several Ironworkers union members were arrested and charged with participating in what a U.S. Attorney called “goon squads” that used vandalism to intimidate non-union work sites. This summer, more charges were added, and two more were indicted. Then came the guilty pleas. Eventually, eight of 12 pleaded guilty.

Read more »

Chaka Fattah Jr. Will Represent Himself at Tax Trial

Against the advice of a federal judge, Chaka Fattah Jr. will represent himself at a federal fraud and tax evasion trial next year. Judge Harvey Bartle III ruled today Fattah can represent himself.

The son of the longtime congressman says he differs with his former attorneys, as well as standby counsel, on his defense. “I think it is clear that — you heard the judge — my life is on the line here,” Fattah Jr. said. “Nobody is going to be able to make it for 418 years.” That’s how many years Fattah Jr. could be facing if he’s convicted of all counts. (Even if he is convicted of everything, here’s hoping he would not be not thrown in jail for life for tax fraud.)

Read more »

Man Found Guilty of Murdering Philadelphia Police Officer

Rafael Jones (left); Moses Walker (right)

Rafael Jones (left); Moses Walker (right)

There has been a guilty verdict in the shooting death of Philadelphia police officer Moses Walker. Today, judge Jeffrey P. Minehart found Rafael Jones guilty of murder. Jones had agreed to a bench trial in exchange for prosecutors dropping the possibility of the death penalty.

Jones faces a mandatory life sentence without parole for the murder conviction, though he was not sentenced today.

Read more »

Hallelujah! Charges Against Philly Jesus Dropped

The Philadelphia district attorney has dropped the charges against Philly Jesus. Just weeks before his namesake’s birthday!

Philly Jesus — who does not believe he is actually Jesus — was arrested last month and charged with disorderly conduct and failure to disperse. “The DA’s decision reaffirms our contention all along,” Philly Jesus’ lawyer, Charles Gibbs, said in a statement. “Philly Jesus’ arrest for pre-textual charges was without merit.”

Read more »

Traffic Court Judge Sentenced to 18 Months in Federal Prison

Robert Mulgrew, a former Philadelphia Traffic Court judge, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison yesterday for lying to investigators. Mulgrew — who was sentenced to 30 months in August in a separate matter — was not convicted of fraud and conspiracy charges in the traffic court case earlier this year.

The case stems from the longstanding practice at Philadelphia traffic court of fixing tickets, or “consideration,” for the powerful and connected. Gov. Tom Corbett disbanded Philadelphia’s traffic court last year; it has since been merged into Philadelphia municipal court.

Read more »

Death Warrant Signed for Rapper Who Killed Philadelphia Police Officer

Office Lauretha Vaird's funeral, January 11, 1996. AP file photo/Nanine Hartzenbusch

Officer Lauretha Vaird’s funeral, January 11, 1996. AP file photo/Nanine Hartzenbusch

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has signed an execution warrant for the man convicted of Philadelphia police officer Lauretha Vaird’s murder.

Christopher Roney, who was convicted of killing Vaird during a January 1996 bank robbery in Feltonville on Rising Sun Avenue, is scheduled to be executed on January 8th of next year. Vaird, who was wearing a bulletproof vest without its protective panels, was killed by a single shot to the abdomen; she was the first female officer killed in the line of duty.

Read more »

Charges Dropped in Philly Attempted Murder Case

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office has dropped charges against Tomayo McDuffy, a Holmesburg man once accused of attempted murder in a home invasion case in Northeast Philadelphia. He was accused by a blind neighbor who said she recognized his voice.

The original incident happened in May of 2013. Yolanda Colon, a blind woman, said two men broke into her house; her service dog was able to scare off the intruders and fetch her phone to call 911. (Good boy!) The victim said she recognized a voice belonging to McDuffy, her next-door neighbor.

Colon said the intruders left her gas on. McDuffy was arrested and charged with attempted murder. But questions abounded: Supporters claimed Colon left the gas on herself and pegged McDuffy as the culprit because of a longstanding grudge; McDuffy’s backers said Colon had a history of wrongfully accusing people.

Read more »

Pa. Supreme Court Will Hear Monsignor Lynn Case

In this March 27, 2012 file photo, Monsignor William Lynn leaves the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

In this March 27, 2012 file photo, Monsignor William Lynn leaves the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear arguments tomorrow in the case of Monsignor William Lynn. The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office is appealing a lower court ruling that overturned Lynn’s conviction on child endangerment charges.

Lynn, a former aide to Philadelphia’s Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, was convicted in 2012 of endangering children, but the verdict was thrown out on appeal last year (see below).

Read more »

« Older Posts