Philadelphia Inquirer Series On Criminal Justice In Philadelphia:
- Part I - Justice Delayed, Dismissed, Denied
- Part I - Tangled Trail Of Collapsed Cases And Shattered Lives
- Part II - Witnesses Fear Reprisals and Cases Crumble
- Part II - Busy Lawyers, Balky Victims, Botched Logistics
- Part III- Violent Criminals Flaunt Broken Bail System
- Part III - Fugitive Trackers Say They Are "Emptying Ocean With A Spoon"
- Part IV - Gun Arrests Galore, No Convictions At All
- Part IV - Its Different In Federal Court
If any of these titles were applied to the legacy of "Civil Rights crimes" there would be public protests about - Witness Intimidation, Jury Nullification, Dysfunctional Court Systems
The bottom line of it all is that in as much as Black people are the disproportionate number of victims of crime in Philadelphia - this dysfunction that is documented is a direct assault upon justice for Black people.
From the first article in the series:
Kareem Johnson stood over Walter Smith and executed him. He fired so close that Smith's blood splashed up onto Johnson's Air Jordan baseball cap.
He shot him as a favor to a childhood friend.
Smith was a threat because he had come forward as a witness in a murder case against Clinton Robinson.
With the witness dead, Robinson cut a sweet deal. He pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to just 2 1/2 to five years.
"Basically, I beat it," he says now.
He and Johnson know all about beating cases in the Philadelphia courts. In just three years, Johnson, 26, and Robinson, 24, were arrested a total of nine times for gun crimes, but until the charges escalated to murder, nothing stuck.
Johnson's bloodletting came to an end only after he killed a 10-year-old boy in 2004 in one of the city's most notorious murders. As for Robinson, he's locked up on a drug charge, but expects to go free soon.
The two men's violent path from the streets into the courts and back again vividly illustrates the failure of Philadelphia's criminal justice system.
It is a system that all too often fails to punish violent criminals, fails to protect witnesses, fails to catch thousands of fugitives, fails to decide cases on their merits - fails to provide justice.
In America's most violent big city, people accused of serious crimes are escaping conviction with stunning regularity, an Inquirer investigation has found.
Philadelphia defendants walk free on all charges in nearly two-thirds of violent-crime cases. Among large urban counties, Philadelphia has the nation's lowest felony-conviction rate.
Only one in 10 people charged with gun assaults is convicted of that charge, the newspaper found.
Only two in 10 accused armed robbers are found guilty of armed robbery.
Only one in four accused rapists is found guilty of rape.
The data also show that people charged with assaults with a gun escape conviction more often than those who use fists or knives. Of people arrested for possession of illegal handguns, almost half go free.
Do you all see the damage strategically when the criminal assault OF Black people BY BLACK PEOPLE is "inferiorized" by the Black Establishment as compared to their reactions when White people do the same?
It is ONLY the Black community who is made to suffer as a result of this bigotry.
Witness Intimidation - Like "Back In The Day" When A Negro Knew His Place - Or Was Made To Learn It
From the article:
Witness intimidation has become an epidemic in Philadelphia.
At least 13 witnesses or their families have been killed in the city over the last decade. Prosecutors charge more than 300 people a year with the crime of witness intimidation.
The system is overwhelmed by an exploding caseload, pressuring judges to put a premium on disposing cases, rather than insisting that victims and defendants have their day in court.
Of 10,000 defendants who walked free on their violent-crime cases in 2006 and 2007, 92 percent had their cases dropped or dismissed. Only 788 - 8 percent - were found not guilty at trial, The Inquirer's analysis shows.
Abraham, the city's top prosecutor, has failed to keep figures tracking how well - or poorly - her office has done in court.
Criminologists and other prosecutors say keeping such data is essential to prioritizing the work of the office's 300 prosecutors.
Defense lawyers routinely exploit the court system's chaos. They delay cases to wear down victims and witnesses, and seek spurious postponements if they know prosecution witnesses are in court and ready to go.
Judges, prosecutors, and even prominent defense lawyers acknowledge that this kind of gamesmanship is common and that the system's failings work to defendants' advantage.
The system bungles basic, but crucial, steps necessary to getting key witnesses into court. Inmates, needed at trial as witnesses or defendants, never arrive. Police are routinely booked to appear in different courtrooms at the same time, guaranteeing that cases will collapse.
Though officials are working to reduce the problem, as many as a quarter of all subpoenaed inmates in recent years have failed to show up for court on any given day, experts say.
The court's bail system is broken. Defendants skip court with impunity, further traumatizing victims who show up for hearings that never take place.
There are almost 47,000 Philadelphia fugitives on the streets. Philadelphia is tied with Essex County, N.J. - home of Newark - for the nation's highest fugitive rate. To catch them, the city court system employs just 51 officers - a caseload of more than 900 fugitives per officer.
In a sign of the system's disarray, court officials had trouble answering when The Inquirer asked how much fugitives owed taxpayers in forfeited bail. At first, they said the debt was $2 million. Then they pegged it at $382 million. Finally, they declared it was a staggering $1 billion.
After the newspaper raised questions about the bail debt 11 months ago, the courts and the city pledged to hire a firm to go after the money. That never happened.
Hip Hop - The Voice Of The Violent Street Pirate But The Gateway For Politicians To Reach An Aggrieved People To Receive Their Votes
This story about the murderous, serial raping, rapping Street Pirate comes as no surprise to me:
From the Inquirer:
After repeated arrests, Omar Cash did little time. Now he’s charged with murder.
Of the three cases, only one stuck.
When Cash first went to court in the theft case, his cell mate was still in custody. But in a bureaucratic breakdown, officials failed to transport him from his cell to the courtroom to testify. Such "bring-down" problems have plagued the court system for years.
It was a critical mistake. By the next hearing, the man was out of jail and in the wind, a fugitive. Without his testimony, the case against Cash fell apart.
The attempted-murder case collapsed, too, after Gilbert, who was facing rape charges, hanged himself in prison.
Though Cash beat those two cases, he pleaded guilty to the firearms charges and was sentenced to 111/2 to 23 months in jail.
Cash was released in 2005. The next year, he was arrested again, this time on the rape charge.
Tyshira Patterson, 18, told police that Cash had attacked her in Southwest Philadelphia. She gave the newspaper permission to use her name.
At first, Patterson was an eager witness. In fact, she was instrumental in solving the crime.
After the attack, she spotted Cash, a rapper, on a flier for a concert and took it to police. Cash, who went by the stage name Cash Dollaz, rapped at local bars and appeared in a DVD called Philly Hoodstars.
In a scene from the DVD posted on YouTube, Cash rapped about using an AK-47.
"Slug spray out that 'K' one day and I hurt you," he says. "Don't take this to the D.A., I ain't saying I'll murd you."
After the arrest, Patterson's cooperation waned. She never went to court.
Patterson, now 22 and a nursing school student, recalled receiving only one subpoena to testify and acknowledged that she had skipped that hearing.
Four months later, police say, Cash shot and killed Muliek Brown.
Brown's family believes Cash must have felt almost invincible after prevailing in court so many times.
"That's probably why he felt he could do the things he was doing, because he wasn't getting caught," said Brown's sister Nadia Gary, 29. "When he was caught, he wasn't locked up."
As Brown's relatives gathered in the living room of the family's home in Kensington, they described him as a disciplined young man who loved fixing up his Marquis and had been a top shooting guard at Frankford High.
He stocked shelves at Wal-Mart at night and was looking forward to the birth of his child. His daughter, Mazah, was born about a month after his death.
It's unclear why Brown was slain. Homicide detectives will say only that Cash killed him to settle a dispute.
The Philadelphia murder case is on hold, pending the outcome of Cash's murder and rape trial in Bucks County. That is to start next month.
Bucks prosecutors lamented that city courts had not stopped Cash years ago.
"When people are arrested multiple times for robbery, rape, and firearms, you expect that that person is going to be convicted," Walz said. "You don't expect that the person is going to be on the street with a gun, raping and murdering more people."