Philly Court Makes It Harder for Government to Track Americans With GPS

court-400Back in 2009 and 2010, a wave of burglaries hit pharmacies in the Philadelphia region. Most were Rite Aids. The thieves’ M.O. was consistent: they would disable the pharmacies’ alarm systems by cutting the external phone lines, and then they’d get to work pilfering the drug stores. Local police departments and the FBI eventually landed on a suspect: Philadelphia electrician Harry Katzin.

And so they did what you’ve seen cops and Ethan Hunt types do in the movies a million times. The local office of the FBI stuck a GPS tracking device on Katzin’s Dodge Caravan. And sure enough, it didn’t take long for Katzin to drive his van to a nearby Rite Aid, which was then burglarized, according to court records. Using the GPS tracker, police found Katzin and his two brothers in the van, along with a whole lot of Rite Aid merchandise and pill bottles. All three men were arrested. Read more »

Reporter Ralph Cipriano Subpoenaed Over Catholic Sex Abuse Case


Ralph Cipriano hates the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, as he’s demonstrated through his two decades of reporting on and mudslinging at the local branch of the Catholic Church. But he also hates a miscarriage of justice, which is what he thinks of the convictions of three priests and one school teacher in the Philadelphia Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. And it’s his reporting on these convictions that has resulted in a subpoena landing on his desk. Read more »

Ohio Valley University Not Concerned Over Sharing Wharton Name with Penn

WhartonThis country, apparently, is big enough for two Whartons. Two weeks ago, Ohio Valley University (in, coincidentally, West Virginia) renamed its business school with Wharton in the name, echoing the namesake of Penn’s Wharton School. Surprisingly, though, there’s been little backlash–though Penn has yet to comment on whether they’ll be pursuing legal action.

Either way, students don’t seem to be phased: Read more »

Bucks County Woman Says US Airways Lost Husband’s Ashes

Oh, airline security. Almost always more of a pain than it needs to be—and yes, we say that remembering the terrorist attacks of a dozen years ago. Still, we feel confident in saying this: When security rules end up causing an airline to lose a man’s cremated remains, then the terrorists have won.

That appears to be the story of Angeline O’Grady, a Bucks County woman who is suing US Airways. Reuters reports:

When Angeline O’Grady prepared to board her flight out of Philadelphia International Airport on November 1, 2011, security officials informed her that the remains must be placed in her checked baggage “because its contents was not a solid substance,” according to the lawsuit.

She had U.S. Airways collect her checked bag, then handed over the ashes to a U.S. Airways representative along with the certificate of death. The lawsuit does not expressly say whether or not she witnessed the ashes being placed in her bag.

When she opened her bags in England, the ashes were not there.

“U.S. Airways, rather than Mr. and Mrs. O’Grady has had the last word in determining Mr. O’Grady’s final resting place. He is not at peace,” the lawsuit said.

The sad part is: O’Grady was making the trip to England to scatter her husband’s ashes in the same town where his mother’s ashes had been left. Now? They’re probably sitting on some shelf in the lost-and-found.

Does Rutgers Dean Jacquelyn Litt Hate Lesbians?

That’s what former Rutgers employee—and current lesbian—Laura Federico, alleges in a suit against the university:

Laura Federico, who is a lesbian, claims she was fired from her public relations job last year because Douglass Residential College Dean Jacquelyn Litt doesn’t like lesbians and felt ‘women who had men behind them were stronger and better employees.’

The Home News Tribune reports Rutgers in court papers denies Litt harassed Federico. The school says she was let go because she failed to meet deadlines and that her work needed revisions and reworking.

So Federico either got fired for being a lesbian or lazy (or possibly both), but with each party copping to a different story, this one’s seems likely to go to court.

Of course, that may not be good for Rutgers: This incident is simply the most recent in a string of abusive staff events, including the firing of men’s basketball coach Mike Rice and the alleged mental abuse new AD Julie Hermann inflicted on players as a coach in the ’90s. [NBC]

UPDATED: George Zimmerman Taken Into Custody in Florida After “Incident with Gun”

Following news of his wife’s recent divorce plans, George Zimmerman has been arrested in Central Florida after police responded to a report that that the high-profile neighborhood watchman had gotten into an altercation with another individual involving a firearm.

No other details are currently available, but appears to be the most serious legal trouble Zimmerman has gotten into since his acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Besides the divorce and this incident, Zimmerman has only been pulled over for speeding in that time. The first time, he had a handgun stashed in his glovebox.

The Orlando Sentinel’s Jeff Weiner reports that police are investigating a potential domestic battery situation, though no one involved was seriously injured. Whether any arrests will be made in the incident has yet to be decided, according to a police spokesperson—which, admittedly, sounds a little too familiar. [Epoch Times]

UPDATE: Police are now reporting that this incident is stemming from an alternation between Zimmerman, his wife, and her father in which he allegedly threatened the pair with a firearm:


Farmers Cabinet: Sheriff Sale or Awesome Practical Joke?


From the Department of Things That Totally Don’t Shock Us comes this photo making the rounds on social media. It’s a sheriff sale sign, and the other day, it was taped to the front window of the Farmers Cabinet, that doomed Walnut Street restaurant/cocktail bar whose one owner has a — shall we say — troubling legal history that even includes a stint in federal prison.

Read more »

Salvation Army Looks Bad In Market Street Building Collapse Suit

It’s been nearly three months since the Salvation Army building collapse at 22nd and Market streets led to the death of six people and the injury of many more. The injured victims have been lining up in court, with some plaintiffs filing personal injury suits within days of the collapse. And on Tuesday, the first wrongful death suit was filed in the case. (See the full complaint below.)

24-year-old Mary Lea Simpson (right) was shopping in the Salvation Army thrift store on the morning of June 5th when the building collapsed. According to the suit, filed by Simpson’s brother and estate executor, Simpson was trapped in the rubble and asphyxiated.

The suit names the following parties: various Salvation Army entities and employees; developer Richard Basciano and some of his related companies and employees; demolition contractor Griffin Campbell; demolition equipment operator Sean Benschop, who is in jail in lieu of $1.55 million bail; and architect and expediter Plato Marinakos.

Read more »

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