Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Judge Grants Bail For Accused "Rogue" Cop; Meanwhile, Defense Lawyers Sound Pretty Cocky About Their Guys Beating The Rap

Former Officers Thomas Liciardello [left] and Michael Spicer
By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

U.S. District Court Judge Eduardo C. Robreno let former Philadelphia Police Officer Michael Spicer out of jail this afternoon, setting bail at $175,000.

In a second bail hearing, Robreno adjourned court after two hours of arguments. The judge wanted to give himself some time overnight to ponder whether he should also let out of jail Officer Thomas Liciardello, the man the feds say is the alleged ringleader of a band of rogue cops.

Federal prosecutors have charged six former members of the city's Narcotics Field Unit in a 26-count racketeering indictment with stealing more than $500,000 in cash, drugs and personal property, while allegedly using excessive force, kidnapping drug dealers and falsifying police reports to cover their tracks.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey has already waved the white flag, calling the allegations "one of the worst cases of corruption I have ever heard." Ramsey suspended all six cops for 30 days, with the intention of firing them. He also announced at a press conference that he plans on destroying the former cops' badges. How's that for a presumption of innocence?

Not to be outdone, U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger wanted to see the six former cops held in jail without bail until trial because they supposedly were flight risks and posed a danger to the community.

But five of the six former officers are now out on bail, and the judge was considering whether to let the sixth officer out of jail. Meanwhile, today in court a couple of defense lawyers sounded pretty cocky about the chances of their guys beating the rap when the government's much ballyhooed police corruption case finally comes to trial.


Jimmy Binns
Jimmy Binns, Spicer's lawyer, told the judge that his client would vigorously contest every charge.

They haven't picked a jury yet, but the veteran criminal defense lawyer was feeling bold enough to make a prediction about the outcome of the case.

"Vindication," Binns told the judge. "He [Spicer] will leave your courtroom not guilty of any crime."

Jeffrey Miller, who represented Liciardello, said he wasn't usually in the business of making guarantees, but he too was feeling optimistic about his client's chances of beating the rap.

"I certainly have that expectation," Miller told the judge.

It's a curious case with many of the accusations dating back eight years. There is also no wiretap evidence to buttress the charges, according to the buzz in the defense bar, as well as no drugs or money seized from any of the defendants.

Both Liciardello and Spicer had filed appeals to Robreno after their applications for bail had been denied by a federal magistrate judge assigned to the case.

A big determining factor regarding bail for the accused cops was whether they did indeed pose a threat to the community, their lawyers conceded. Since the accused cops no longer carry badges and guns and no longer wear uniforms, they're no longer a threat to anybody, Binns argued. The defendants couldn't possibly duplicate their crimes now that they're no longer cops, Binns said.

The prosecutor, however, argued that Spicer was a violent guy who had struck a drug dealer in the mouth with a sledgehammer, knocking out his teeth. Binns countered that the prosecutor was embellishing the facts of the case. The federal indictment only accused Spicer of punching a drug dealer in the mouth, knocking out his teeth.

"He had a fist fight with a guy he was arresting," Binns said. It happens every day in my neighborhood.

As to whether his client was a flight risk, Binns said "this thing's been under investigation for six years. He [Spicer] could have left a long time ago."

While the government called Spicer a rogue cop, Binns said his client up until his arrest was a "man of impeccable reputation" for his 19-year career as a cop. He was also a "devoted father" of four kids ages 5 to 17, and a "good husband," his lawyer said.

Binns argued against excessive bail, saying his client and his family were "people of modest means." Spicer's wife was a homemaker, Binns said. Since Spicer lost his job and landed in jail, his family has been "living in abject poverty," Binns said.

The judge set bail at $175,000, settling for a lien on real estate.

Like Spicer, Liciardello was a "highly decorated" cop for 18 years, his lawyer said. Liciardello is married and has two children. His father was a cop, so was an uncle. His wife is still a cop, Miller said.

"He's got roots in the community, he's got a home," Miller said, even though that home was now in foreclosure.

"His son is a sensational baseball player" who hopes to play professional ball, Miller said. Liciardello was a "wonderful family man" and a "good father."

"He's loud, he can be pushy, but he's not violent," Miller said of his client. He poses no danger to the community. The defense lawyer told the judge about a petition circulated in the last few days in support of his client that was signed by 150 friends, neighbors and co-workers.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Wzorek, however, told the judge that more important than the 150 people who signed that petition in support of Liciardello were the 20 witnesses who appeared before a grand jury and testified about the alleged abuses perpetrated by the cops. Those alleged abuses included kidnappings, threats if violence and excessive use of force.

The prosecutor talked about one drug dealer who claimed he was on his knees, with his hands on top of his head when Liciardello whacked him with a pistol, "cracking open his head."

The corrupt cops, the prosecutor told the judge, had a game going amongst themselves. Which ever cop inflicted the most pain "scores the most points," the prosecutor claimed.

The prosecutor called FBI Special Agent Antony Balestrieri to the witness stand to testify about the federal investigation of the Philly narcotics cops.

The FBI agent described how the cops were so callous in their treatment of suspects that when they wanted information out of one drug dealer in handcuffs, namely the code to his palm pilot, they dangled him over a balcony 18 stories high until he gave up the code.

The FBI agent claimed that Liciardello allegedly threatened a lawyer for one of the drug dealers by saying, "I'm surprised you're alive," and "I'll be there when you die."

The agent also claimed that Liciardello told the wife of a drug dealer who had recently changed her hair style that she looked better as a blonde than a brunette. This was taken as a threat by the wife, who thought it showed that Liciardello had been following her, the FBI agent claimed on the witness stand.

Liciardello also allegedly told the wife of the drug dealer that "she would lose her house, her kids would be taken away from her, and the dog would be shot," the FBI agent claimed.

But on cross examination, the FBI agent was asked if all the accusations against the cops had come from drug dealers.

"That would be a fair statement," the agent replied.

Miller  argued that one drug dealer who claimed he was kidnapped by the cops was actually being "put on ice" until a drug bust went down. During his alleged kidnapping, Miller told the judge, the cops took the drug dealer to a bar, where they drank beer and ate pizza.

Miller also claimed the lawyer that Liciardello allegedly threatened was a habitual advocate for drug dealers. "He's the drug dealers' go-to guy," Miller said. The drug dealers' lawyer was always harassing the cops with frivolous lawsuits, Miller said. The cops finally retaliated by successfully suing the lawyer for wrongful use of civil proceedings, Miller said.

Miller also argued that the wife of the drug dealer who felt threatened had recently changed her haircut, and had been followed by the cops. His client was only telling the truth, the lawyer said. So there was no witness intimidation.

The prosecutor continued to argue that Liciardello belonged in jail because of his dominant role in the alleged crime wave.

"He certainly is the leader of the officers," the prosecutor said.

But defense lawyer Miller agued that during police raids that Liciardello was involved in, a lieutenant and a captain participated in the raids. So how could his client be the leader when he was outranked by superiors? And how could all these lawless acts happen under the noses of supervisors?

Miller argued that going up against the government in a racketeering indictment was tough enough, but  that it was impossible for him to prepare a defense while his client was locked up in solitary confinement. He's been on the case for just a week and a half, Miller said, and he hasn't been able to talk to his client yet. A detective he hired also has not been able to talk to Liciardello, Miller complained.

All the other defendants are out on bail, Miller argued; his client should be too.

But the judge adjourned court until tomorrow, saying he need some time to think it over.

Update: On Wednesday, Judge Robreno denied bail to Liciardello, ruling that he was the "de facto leader" of the alleged rogue cops, and that he could pose a danger to the community.

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, as he left the courtroom, Liciardello mouthed to his wife, Selena, also a Philadelphia police officer, "Stay strong." But she was later seen crying outside the courtroom.


57 comments:

  1. I hope they beat this rap cause if they dont it sends a bad message on the streets that these dealers can do what they want because the cops hands are tied a very slippery slope here and i hope they dont start wih politicle racial bullshit cause u.ll have another Chicago nightmere hete

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. excuse me? you want the cops to get off for using mafia tactics so the drug drealers stop selling drugs? so the drug dealers have to follow the laws but not the cops? makes absolutely no sense.

      Delete
    2. Ask those people in the neighbor
      hoods who cant walk down there streets at nite or even sit on there porch if they want these cops who.s tactics are in question but effective or the drug dealers shooting up the streets do a survey pal u wont like the answer im sure. U read what these gangs are doing to chicago they desroyed that city and thats whats starting here know last week little girl lost her life because of these animals u fight fire with fire or ur not gonna win period.

      Delete
    3. so when these cops start raping people or stealing from hard working citizens if they arent already ...when will enough be enough?

      Delete
    4. Wait till the facts come out before
      the accusations start there was no mention of rape or drugs or money conviscated at the defendts houses. A 8 year investagation got shut down cause the bosses couldnt get any more money for the job So they have to go with putting drug dealers testimoney and there wifes lying out there ass looking for a pay day down the road from the city if these guys are convicted and turn over on any other dealers they can give up no jury gonna convict these guys on hear say should be interesting for all in volved though

      Delete
    5. 1st and 3rd anonymous comments
      Mafia tactics and rape.
      This shit happens in ur neighborhood everynite Sr citizens being robbed or beaten
      Kids being shot dealers taking over neighborhoods. So these guys get a little physicle thats a problem why because there white
      may be next time theres a problem they might not show up
      then u can call brother Al Sharpie
      may be he can help u. For a fee that is good luck

      Delete
  2. His house is NOT in foreclosure. Try to find anything about it being in foreclosure on the internet and you won't. And yes he can be loud and pushy, but is a decent guy who would do anything for his friends. Not saying he's guilty or not, just my opinion.

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  3. STICK TO TOGETHER BOYS ALL THEY GOT IS 20 BROKE ASS WITNESSES LOOKING FOR A PAY DAY.
    GOOD LUCK AND GOD BLESS
    U AND UR FAMILIES.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh ya when these cops are found not guilty mayor nutter should make the commisioner resign for not having therebacks what happened to innocent till proven guilty or is it a white thing commisioner stick by ur men no matter what color sir

    ReplyDelete
  5. God Bless these officers and their families. Thank you for protecting us law abiding citizens and doing your best to keep the frugs off our streets. You are in many peoples prayers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ^^ ONE UP
      SPEAK ENGLISH BRO I KNOW THATS HARD BEING FROM THE HOOD AND ALL AHH IGHT.

      Delete
  6. JB get a grip if these officers want to be in the mob they should joint the mob not hide behind badges. "god bless these cops and thier familes" yeah that would really fly if the cops were black or hispamic lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So are u saying its about race
      so they shouldnt be supported whats the mob got to do with it u people with comments are all over the place with this use need to get a grip

      Delete
  7. If someone is breaking the law and then resists arrest...why would anyone expect that there wouldn't be a physial altercation? This whole thing reeks of horse shit. Good luck to the officers, you will prevail.

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  8. Hope these corrupt pieces of sh!t get found guilty & do some real time. Throw them all in with the dealers that got time for doing almost the same sh1t these crumbs were doing. He was a nice guy? Lmao. He was a disgrace to the police department! I'm sorry , a drug dealer with a badge.(oh & with the money he stole,his wife should have better Botox ) just saying

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  9. And yes I witnessed Licardello & Walker along with about 3 more out of the 6 plant drugs on an innocent guy just to get into a "suppose drug dealers" house thinking that it would be another personal pay day for them,but found nothing! Walker got on stand and lied some more ,which we had the proof he was lying,so he never came back.The fact is that they can do something like that because they carry a badge is mind bobbling. Disgrace to REAL cops!!!! And you wonder why Ramsey is not picking up for them,because every single one I them is GUILTY!! SMH. get off the dirty cops d!ck & do something good for Philly.

    ReplyDelete
  10. And it has nothing to do with race,I'm white & so is the person they used & planted drugs on.So their "mafia style arrests are not about race,as long as they thought you ha money that could be theirs,they were going to lie on you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since ur white i guess u fit the profile of a white person in the wrong neighbie hood Lol

      Delete
  11. Should nt have put urself in that situation any way hetes the deal when all u guys testifyimg with criminal recorfs get on that stand no jury is gonna believe ur lying asses anyway
    And they.ll get there jobs back and nust ur asses again lol

    ReplyDelete
  12. And JB, you need to reconsider sticking up for these assholes. Unless of course , you too are a unless cop who they broke off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No im no cop but when this goes to court and u see the witnesses they put up there tell me who.s lying not saying there tactics arent questionable but they hell sure are effective but i think they.ll beat the rap just my opinion folks

      Delete
  13. I'm not a drug dealer at all, there u go again. I have never been locked up, & I sure of hell never sold any type of drugs , if anything , I report that sh!t But I'm not going to jut stand bye & let people like you stick up for these greedy f*cks, and not say anything.my father retired after 30 years on the force,& also help take down dirtballs like Liciardello & his crew , so no, I'm not "against cops ", just the ones that shouldn't have a badge! So get your shut staight

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have a feeling that I'm responding to a crooked cop who wanted in on what they were doing,or my fault,did they break you off too?? SMFH

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh and yes you were right, there are going to be a lot of drug dealers who will get off because of these jerkoffs, so please keep praising them while people that belong locked away ,get to go back to doing what they were doing before. Asshole. And Jeffrey Walker is the main reason why they are finally in trouble,I doubt he is making up lies to the Feds now. So remember that.

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  16. For the last time, it wasn't about their tactics. I'm guessing that your not tht smart, sorry but my opinion. Only judging you on what you say. They weren't your typical Narc that jut did whatever they had too. They too are criminals that just went after people for the money,that's it.Not because they were trying to be "good cops". There's a biggg line between these disgracing compared to real narcotic officers. Just do everyone a favor and get your head out of your ass, or theirs . Wake the hell up & realize they used their badge for greed only!

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  17. And for the last time, I witnessed them do exactly what they are being accused of, so stop. And again, I'm all for the cops,just not these type of scums, so don't compare me with your typical drug dealer,

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  18. They wouldn't be under federal indictment if they didn't do anything wrong , I personally saw tommy tell a guy he's gonna tell all south philly he's a rat,...who does that?? Tom could have got that guy killed!!! Un fuckin real!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Again that's because he didn't care about anyone but himself. Another example of greed & selfishness. Rat with a badge.

    ReplyDelete
  20. INNOCENT TILL PROVEN GUILTY AND
    IF BY CHANCE THERE FOUND GUILTY
    THEY.LL GET 15 TO 20 YRS JUDGE ROBRENO DONT PLAY BUT IF THERE FOUND INNOCENT I HOPE U SO CALLED VICTIMS AND U OFFICERS WHO ARENT DIRTY CAN FIND IT IN YOUR SELVES TO DEAL WITH THAT. ENOUGH
    SAID ON THAT ISSUE.
    NOW YOU HATERS CAN START HATING AGAIN !!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. JB, you are just as dumb as I thought . Please crawl out from their asses. Are they the type of cops u looked up to? And no one here is a "hater". They are guilty as hell and you know it! They are the ones who made this mess,not the victims.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Im going by the article that i read no tapes and drug dealer testimony.evidently u have more info your privi to than
      what i read no im no dummy
      HATS OFF TOO YOU

      Delete
  22. And I hope they can find it in theirselves to know that a lot of criminals & real drug dealers are going to be free & walking the street again all because of what they did. I think that they are worst than your average "drug dealer".

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  23. U guys are cops and seen it then first hand i have no more to say on the issue sorry to see them animals gotta get set free though wish u well

    ReplyDelete
  24. Which animals JB?...the "animals" drugs were planted on? Then those "animals" went to jail?..they the ones you are referring to?

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  25. I just can't believe that anyone except for their wives who knew damn well that they were crooked as shit, is sticking up for them at all! Again, I witnessed them put drugs on an innocent citizen just to get into someone's house to rob them! That's exactly when Walker,Liciardello, & their crew did. Robbed all of them!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. These 7 pieces of Sh!t with badges are the animals!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Theres a process if found guilty they.ll do there time but they have family also so if they want to support there father brother son or husband so be it those of u who got a problem with that can go fuck your selves got it.

    ReplyDelete
  28. All u
    LOCK THESE CORRUPT COPS AWAY SHOULD FEEL REAL GOOD WHEN YOU TESTIFY AGAINST YOUR DIRTY BROTHERS. BUONA FORTUNA!

    ReplyDelete
  29. To: "Lock these corrupt cops away":
    So is it safe to assume that you "witnessed" these officers planting drugs on an innocent person, you are taking the stand to testify against them?

    ReplyDelete
  30. Lock these corrupt cops away or
    LTCCA are u he or she victims of these cops and are going to testify against them this might explain the hostility use have very understandable considering the nature in which we must asume u were treated im sure everthing will come out in court and all the dirt from both sides can get rinse and your peers can make a decision who.s right or wrong should be a difficult task at hand for some who have never been on a stand could be a very dramatic experience for some.It won.t be for u cops though testifying against your dirty brothers may be u can help these victims with testomony on how to answer certain questions so they have more confidence any way it will be a said day for the boys in blue when this day comes and families of all involved.BUONA FORTUNA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please excuse some spelling^^

      Delete
  31. PUT THESE SKUM BAGS IN JAIL ... 3O YEARS... RAT WITH A BADGE........

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isnt that a cops Job to be a narc or regular cop is to inform on others isnt that like being a rat but because of the
      badge its ok.

      Delete
  32. THESE SKUM BAGS SHOULD GET 30 YEARS........

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope the drug dealer witnesses get 30 for lying

      Delete
  33. ^^. #1. I'm not a cop,nor would I ever want to be apart of such corruption that some of these cops are into. I do consider myself a good person tho.) #2.yes some drug dealers that deserve to be locked up will be set free to do the same shit, thanks to your corrupt boys in blue as u refer them to. And #3. These sh!t cops did do shit to innocent people just to do whatever they needed to to get what I call "their personal payday", Come on, Walker got caught and bought them all down with him, he wasn't just making up stories about narcs he knew, u f*cking retart. Oh & yes families of these officers should stick by them & support them,because it must be really hard knowing that your brother,son, father, or husband was involved in such criminal activity while they were suppose to be stoping it. And no, I'm no witnessed you tart,so stop with that shit. I'm stating facts here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go back and crawl under a rock u rightous fuck im glad they robbed them drug dealing fucks and hope they get found not guilty

      Delete
  34. Aww you must be one of them cops that wanted in so bad on what they were doing.. Get off their d1cks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For not being a cop u sure have a lot of information me my self no cop i just shake punks down like u then watch them go away whining like a little bitches that use are .I like u key board tough guys
      what happen were u one of the punks violated if u have all this info and seen it first hand be a man then testify instead of hollering from ur computer like a little CUNT. I hope there found not guilty and those of u who dont want here that fuck ya.s baby

      Delete
    2. What are you 12?...get off the computer..you flunk out of summer school?

      Delete
  35. For the last time, I would never be a cop,& if you read everyone of my comments, you would see that I do have family that are cops.So get it right asshole.So your not a cop but you shake people down? Lmao..Why do I have a feeling that you helped one of these f*ck ups rob people,or all of these f*ck ups? For not being a cop you sure hell know a lot about them to be sticking up for them so bad. Which d!ck were you sucking? Liciardello ??? Hahaha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don.t know any of u slap dicks but i like how they handle them ghetto dealers putting the fear in them thats all dick head

      Delete
  36. And learn how to spell & correct your sentences ,ok tart..

    ReplyDelete
  37. Wow i know cops^^
    U couldnt be one because u couldnt get in the academy

    ReplyDelete

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