Judge: Email Scandal Could Spread to Judiciary

Chief Justice Ronald Castille wants to know if Pennsylvania judges were among the officials who exchanged racy emails with other state government officials. He’s asking Attorney General Kathleen Kane to name any judges who might have participated in the burgeoning scandal.
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Philadelphia Judge Joseph C. Waters Jr. Pleads Guilty to Federal Corruption Charges

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[UPDATE] According to an information (read the full document below) released by the U.S. Department of Justice, as expected, former municipal court judge Joseph C. Waters, who resigned his position yesterday, has pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud and honest services wire fraud.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office issued the following release:

“Joseph C. Waters, Jr., 61, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty today to using his judicial position to influence the outcome of two cases in the Philadelphia Municipal Court, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. Waters, a former Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge, pleaded guilty to an information charging mail fraud and honest services wire fraud.

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Murder Defendant Wears “Crime Pays” T-Shirt to Court

Jeremiah Jakson, accused of strangling his West Philadelphia housemate for her belongings, arrived in court Wednesday wearing a shirt that says “Crime Pays.” Jakson told the judge he received the shirt in jail because he didn’t have anything else to wear. The Inquirer reports Judge Teresa Carr Deni sarcastically said, “That’s a very interesting choice of shirt” to Jakson.

Prosecutors say Laura Araujo, 23, was murdered by Jakson because he wanted her laptop, camcorder and ATM card. He allegedly stuffed her body in a duffel bag and abandoned it in an empty lot, then set his arms on fire attempting to burn her SUV.

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Philadelphia Man Gets Out of Jury Duty With Novel Name Trick

The Daily News has a story Thursday about the return of scofflaw court, which brings in the unlucky few who skipped jury duty and now have to answer for it.

Scofflaw court appears to be like many minor-infraction courts: You get yelled at by a judge for a little bit, pretend to act contrite, then pay a fine. In this case, you get a $50 fine and a new summons to appear for jury duty. Four people skipped scofflaw court entirely, and now have bench warrants out for their arrest.

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Newspapers Ask Court for Pennsylvania Lethal-Injection Drug Info

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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.

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Jury Duty Is Hell

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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