Thursday, August 17, 2017

Billy Doe Prosecutor: We Don't Need No Stinkin' Investigation

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Bernard Shero got out of jail yesterday. "He's home and we are so happy!!!" his mother wrote in a text.

But the question remains: Why did the scandal-plagued Philadelphia District Attorney's office decide to let a convicted child rapist out of prison 11 1/2 years early? The D.A.'s office isn't talking, but the facts are they only did it after one of their own, retired Detective Joseph Walsh, came forward with damaging accusations of prosecutorial misconduct.

When the D.A. cut their deal with Shero, Walsh was one of the witnesses scheduled to take the stand this fall in another hearing before Judge Ellen Ceisler on Shero's petition for a new trial under the Post-Conviction Relief Act. Now, thanks to that deal the D.A. cut, Walsh won't be making any appearances on behalf of Shero. But the D.A.'s office isn't out of the woods just yet.

Msgr. William J. Lynn, the lead defendant in the so-called "Billy Doe" sex abuse case, is still scheduled to be retried, pending a couple of appeals in state Superior Court over some pretrial rulings in the Lynn case. And unless the D.A.'s office cuts another deal with Lynn, retired Detective Walsh will be taking the stand as the monsignor's star witness, to give another dissertation on the prosecutorial misconduct in the D.A.'s office that he witnessed up close and personal.

A recently released court transcript reveals the D.A.'s defense against Walsh's accusations, and it basically amounts to a comedy skit that was openly met with disbelief by an incredulous judge. But the transcript also contains some damaging admissions from the lead prosecutor about the so-called Billy Doe "investigation." It's a primer on the the legal perils of trying to defend a case after one of your own team members has come forward to blow the whistle.

Memo to interim D.A. Kelley Hodge: it might be high time to cut a deal with Msgr. Lynn and spare the scandal-plagued D.A.'s office further embarrassment. Before this entire travesty goes up in flames on a national stage, namely at a retrial of Msgr. Lynn.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Let's Make A Deal -- Bernard Shero Getting Out Of Jail Early

The Philly D.A.'s Office In Action
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Like the Pope used to be, prosecutors get to act like they're infallible.

And when they screw up, or get caught playing dirty, they don't have to apologize, or admit to any wrongdoing.

But today in Common Pleas Court, the closest thing to an apology just happened. Judge Ellen Ceisler signed off on a deal struck between the Philadelphia District Attorney's office and Bernard Shero's lawyers to let Shero out of jail nearly a dozen years early.

Shero, 54, is the former schoolteacher doing 8 to 16 years for his 2013 conviction by a jury on charges that included rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, endangering the welfare of a child, corruption of a minor, and indecent assault. But Shero's conviction comes with a big asterisk -- the alleged victim in the case was Danny Gallagher, AKA "Billy Doe," the  lying, scheming altar boy who has since been outed as a complete fraud.

Shero, 54, has already done 4 years, 6 months and two weeks in jail for crimes that never happened. He has another 11 1/2 years to go on his maximum sentence as a convicted child rapist. But as soon as tomorrow, he'll be walking out of State Correctional Institution in Houtzdale, thanks to a deal finalized today during a half-hour teleconference between the prison and Judge Ceisler's courtroom at the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Twelfth Juror Stars In Chaka Fattah Appeal

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

While former U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah sits in jail, his lawyers are trying to get him a new trial.

Their best shot involves pro-prosecution Judge Harvey Bartle III, and his ham-fisted ejection last summer of Juror 12 from the Fattah case, simply because that juror had the temerity to disagree with the government.

Fattah's appeal was filed earlier this month in the United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, in the matter of USA v. Chaka Fattah, Sr.

Any appeal is a long shot, but if the Court of Appeals signs off on Judge Bartle's decision to remove a dissident juror merely because he was a dissident, what's the point of having a jury trial when it involves a Philadelphia politician accused of corruption? We might as well just pronounce the defendant guilty upon indictment, and send them straight to jail. So we can spare the taxpayers the cost of a lengthy trial, and stop wasting time with any nonsense about constitutional rights.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Feds Highlight Murder Talk In Merlino Tape

"Leave the gun . . . "
By George Anastasia
For BigTrial.net

It was just a couple of guys talking . . . about how to commit a murder.

And the feds got to listen in.

Snippets of a conversation recorded by a cooperating witness show Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and Eugene "Rooster" Onofrio casually discussing how to whack somebody.

"It's easy to kill somebody," said Merlino, according to a tape cited in a recent filing by federal prosecutors in a case against Merlino and Onofrio that is winding its way toward trial in New York.

"It's simple," said the New York wiseguy.

"You're my friend," Merlino said, picking up the conversation as cooperator John "JR" Rubeo listened and the body wire he was wearing for the FBI picked up every word. "You trust me. I tell you, 'Listen, drive me home right now.' Get you in the car. I shoot you in the fuckin' head and it's over."

For more on the story and the potential impact of the tape check out the latest Mob Talk Sitdown at:

George Anastasia can be reached at George@bigtrial.net.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Mob Talk Sitdown Video Looks At The Case Against Joey Merlino

They're Back
By George Anastasia
For BigTrial.net

He's beaten the feds in court more often than they've beaten him.

Still he's spent close to half his adult life either in jail or on supervised release.

Today, Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, 55, is prepping for another battle. Mob Talk, the one-time weekly feature on Fox 29 in Philadelphia, has a new life as Mob Talk Sitdown. Our first video report takes a look at how the case against Skinny Joey is shaping up.

Click below for the full report:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTCt4C7I3-M

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Dangerously Misleading Narrative Of "The Keepers"

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Science writer Mark Pendergrast should be familiar by now to readers of BigTrial.net.  We have published several excerpts from The Most Hated Man in America, his forthcoming book about Jerry Sandusky.  This article on The Keepers is adapted from Memory Warp, his book about the repressed memory epidemic that will be published later this year. 

By Mark Pendergrast

The Keepers, a wildly popular seven-part documentary series aired by Netflix in May 2017, promotes the theory of repressed memories by resurrecting and validating a previously dismissed Baltimore case from the early 1990s. 

The show relies heavily on recovered memories of abuse to convince viewers that a now-deceased Catholic priest, Joseph Maskell, or another priest known only as “Brother Bob,” murdered a young nun named Cathy Cesnik in 1969, in order to prevent the nun, an English teacher, from reporting sexual abuse of high school students at Keough High School in Baltimore, Maryland.  

The series is dramatic, artfully constructed, and based on real events, but it is extremely misleading, especially in accepting without question the validity of repressed memories.

The Keepers purveys all the old stereotypes, including a psychologist who explains confidently:  "Some things we experience are so unbearable and so painful that we shut them out.”  This popular series could undo years of good memory science in the public arena.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Big Trial On With State College's Morning Guys

He's Moved On From Dealing Cocaine To Pay-To-Play
Scandal-plagued Penn State University has just elected scandal-plagued Mark Dambly as chairman of its board of trustees.

Isn't that great? The July 19th radio interview about Dambly can be heard here. The July 20th radio interview can be heard here.

 “When I was young, I made some mistakes. I deeply regret those actions," Dambly said. "I’ve learned from those mistakes, and I’ve moved on to live a productive life, both personally and professionally."




Read more here: http://www.centredaily.com/news/local/education/penn-state/board-of-trustees/article162976
988.html#storylink=cpy

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Is Mark Dambly Wearing A Wire?

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

If you're a Penn State trustee, and you're going to talk to Mark Dambly about his impending election tomorrow as chairman of the board, should you pat him down first?

Yes, say two former investigators.

"My first question [for Dambly] would be, 'Hey, you still wearing a wire?' " said John Snedden, a former NCIS and FIS special agent who's a Penn State alum.

"Once a snitch, always a snitch," said another former investigator who worked the infamous "Dr. Snow" cocaine ring of the 1980s and said that Dambly wore a wire to get himself out of trouble with the feds.

 

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