Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Roundup

A weekly tab on what's going on in the courts.
By Shealyn Kilroy

It takes two to make a thing go right. Or wrong, according to court.
Each case in this week’s roundup didn’t make it to trial through the work of just one individual.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Why "Shady" May Walk

By Ralph Cipriano

It's been exactly two weeks since former Eagles running back LeSean "Shady" McCoy allegedly got involved in a Feb. 7th brawl at the Recess Lounge, supposedly over a $350 bottle of pink champagne.

It took only four days for Mayor Jim Kenney to pronounce McCoy guilty. On Friday, 12 days after the incident, John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, went on the WIP morning show to announce that the district attorney's investigation should be over by now.

"I've never waited this long, ever, to see somebody arrested," McNesby told WIP morning show host Angelo Cataldi. "So it doesn't pass the smell test. Something's funny going on. I know that they have more discovery on this case than they had in the O.J. Simpson case."

That prompted the district attorney to respond, "We're not going to rush because some people are impatient. My only goal is to get it right, not fast. The last thing we need is a rush to judgment."

So why would the district attorney be dragging his feet? The factual chronology from the previously undisclosed Shady side of the story indicates that there may be plenty of valid reasons. McNesby may be right about the case not passing the smell test, but it might be his guys who reek of too much pink champagne.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Roundup

A weekly tab on what's going on in the courts.

By Shealyn Kilroy

New Jersey Attorney General:
Jayme Shannon
Bergen County Sheriff

Ex-NYPD officer and registered sex offender Jayme Shannon, 53, of East Windsor was sentenced on Feb. 16 to over 20 years in prison for human trafficking charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. Shannon and the 15-year-old victim met on in September 2013. An arrangement was made to meet at Skyview Motel in New Jersey, and Shannon drove to New York to bring the victim back to the hotel. On Oct. 14, 2013, Shannon engaged in sexual activity with the victim and was later found by Fort Lee police at the motel. Shannon pleaded guilty to an information charging him with interstate transportation of a minor for illicit purposes and doing so while being a registered sex offender.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Woman Trapped In A Priest's Body

By Ralph Cipriano

He was a Catholic priest with a secret life, posing on the Internet as "Katie Caponetti," a teenage girl.

The priest would email a photo of a girl's naked torso, or a video of a naked girl masturbating, and claim it was "Katie." Then he would ask the girls he met online to send back naked photos and videos of themselves.

"A predator" who sexually exploited both teenage girls and boys was how Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Rotella described Father Mark Haynes in federal court today. "He surrounded himself with children," the prosecutor said. Throughout his 30-year career as a priest, he used his position to  "sexually exploit and sexually abuse children."

Defense Attorney Alan J. Tauber had a more entertaining explanation. He described the 56-year-old priest as a "woman occupying a man's body." According to Tauber, Father Haynes was a troubled soul who, while demonstrating an "extraordinary record of community service" as a priest at eight different parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, never came to terms with his own "gender identity issues."

In the end, U.S. District Court Judge R. Barclay Surrick decided that although there was "no question he did a number of good things" as a priest, Father Haynes's crimes against children were so "outrageous" that his victims would spend "the rest of their lives" trying to recover. So the judge gave the priest a 20 year sentence, a $15,000 fine, and, upon his release, 10 years of supervised probation.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Roundup
A weekly tab on what's going on in the courts.

By Shealyn Kilroy


Infamous gay-basher Kathryn Knott caught local and national attention from the media this week
for her Feb. 8 sentencing. Knott, from Bucks Country, will face 5 to 10 months in prison, followed by two years of reporting probation, in addition to paying $2000 in fines on Feb. 8 for her role in the Sept. 11, 2014 attack on 16th and Chancellor Streets.

If Knott’s name never showed up in mainstream media, who knows if it would have shown up in the courts. As daughter of police chief Karl Knott, Kathryn apparently possessed the “my daddy’s a cop, I can get away with anything” mentality. She was convicted of misdemeanors, no felonies. It’s fair to question whether Knott would have been charged at all if this case wasn’t spotlighted.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Third Circuit Upholds Mob Convictions

By George Anastasia

An appeals court has upheld the convictions of mobsters Joseph "Mousie" Massimino, Damion Canalichio and Anthony Staino, all of whom are serving lengthy prison sentences following their convictions in 2013.

"The evidence established that the Philadelphia (La Cosa Nostra)...exercised control over illegal gambling, bookmaking and loansharking operations, all bolstered by implicit and explicit threats of physical violence," a three-judge panel for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in an opinion filed earlier this month.

The ruling also reaffirmed the sentences of Massimino (188 months), Canalichio (137 months) and Staino (97 months) that were imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Eduardo Robreno who had presided over the controversial racketeering case.

Mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and mob capos Joseph "Scoops" Licata and George Borgesi beat the charges that were built around the testimony of cooperating witnesses and undercover FBI agents. (Ligambi and Borgesi were tried twice after the jury hung on some of the charges during the first trial.)

A seventh defendant, Gary Battaglini was also found guilty but his case remains in front of Robreno who has yet to schedule a hearing on post-trial motions Battaglini has filed, including an argument that he had ineffective counsel during the trial and that prosecutors had deliberately withheld evidence that would have exonerated him.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

D.A. Loses Appeal In Msgr. Lynn Case; Bail Motion May Be Next

CBy Ralph Cipriano

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams lost an appeal in state Superior Court this morning in his crusade to keep Msgr. William J. Lynn behind bars.

Williams had asked the full, nine-member court to review a Dec. 22nd decision by a three-court panel of Superior Court judges that reversed Lynn's conviction and ordered a new trial. But in a one-sentence decision released this morning, the Superior Court announced that the D.A.'s application "requesting reargument" of the case before the full court had been "DENIED."

Lynn has remained behind bars pending appeals.  The 64-year-old monsignor is currently working for 19 cents an hour as the prison librarian at the State Correctional Institute in Waymart, Pa. But now that the state Superior Court has ruled on the D.A.'s appeal, it will surprise nobody if Lynn's lawyers file a motion for bail.

Meanwhile, the D.A. has a decision to make; whether he will appeal the state Superior Court decision overturning Lynn's conviction to the state Supreme Court, where he has been successful in the past. The D.A. has not yet issued any public pronouncements on what he will do. But in a press conference last month, Williams vowed to do whatever it takes to keep Lynn in jail, including another appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Roundup

A weekly tab on what's going on in the courts.

By Shealyn Kilroy
                                                                          (AP/Matt Rourke)

Chaka “Chip” Fattah Jr.’s sentencing to 5 years in prison for tax and bank fraud along with the ruling for Bill Cosby’s continuance of his sexual-assault charges were this week’s most talked about courtroom dramas. To read the release right out of the U.S. Attorney’s office about Chip’s sentencing, click here.

But while everyone was tuned in to the Cosby and Chip spectacles, there were some other stories worth noting in local courts. 
Eli the Horse
(Courtesy Stables)
Philadelphia District Attorney:

Last week’s roundup mentioned a scheduled trial appearance of retired Philly officer Walter Sasse, 77, who was charged with having sexual relations with a minor. On Jan 29., Sasse was convicted of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, unlawful contact with a minor, aggravated indecent assault, statutory sexual assault, corruption of minor and other related offenses. A mental health evaluation and sexual offender assessment has been ordered. Sentencing is scheduled for May 6, according to the District Attorney’s office.

Before trial, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright ordered Sasse not to ride with females under the age of 18. However, Judge Bright told Sasse he was “permitted to ride his horse Eli from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Sundays.”


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Stonewallers

The original: General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson
By Ralph Cipriano

In Philadelphia, three strong silent types represent the law, the church and the Fourth Estate.

We're talking about District Attorney Seth Williams, Archbishop Charles Chaput, and Inquirer Editor Bill Marimow.

And what do all three of these guys have in common? In the case of what increasingly looks like a fraudulent prosecution of the Catholic church -- featuring a compromised investigation, a falsified grand jury report, and a "lying, scheming" star witness -- all three men continue to stonewall. None of these guys will answer any questions.

If the prosecution of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was over, the stonewallers might prevail. But the prosecution of the church may have a second act, a third, and possibly even a fourth.

Msgr. William J. Lynn has been granted a new trial. One of Lynn's original co-defendants, Father James J. Brennan, is scheduled for a retrial on Oct. 24th.

And now a trio of criminal defense lawyers say there is newly discovered "Brady material" -- evidence beneficial to the defense allegedly withheld by the prosecution -- that may result in a motion for a new trial on behalf of former Catholic school teacher Bernard Shero, now serving 8 to 16 years for the alleged rape of altar boy "Billy Doe."

In Philadelphia, the prosecution of the Catholic Church is seemingly endless. And so are the legal challenges to what increasingly looks like a state-sponsored witch hunt. As those legal challenges play out, the big question is, how long can the stonewallers get away with ignoring the unmistakable stench of corruption?


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