Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Wimpy-Ass Mayor Kenney Finally Calls Out D.A. Krasner

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

The progressive honeymoon at City Hall is suddenly over.

This afternoon, Mayor Jim "Sanctuary City Happy Dance" Kenney called out District Attorney Larry Krasner. At a press conference, Kenney declared that's it's about time the D.A., who typically coddles dangerous criminals before turning them loose, started enforcing gun laws in a city where 22 people were shot this weekend. In a city where five more people were shot today, including a one-year-old toddler.

Kenney spoke about "the other public health crisis" affecting the city besides the coronavirus; "and that's gun violence," he said.

"We are calling on the district attorney to vigorously enforce all firearms charges during this time of crisis," Kenney said. "It is imperative that he [Krasner] send a clear message that gun violence will not be taken lightly. This is a message the D.A. can reinforce in his office's handling of all such cases going forward. There needs to be some consequences for carrying an illegal gun in Philadelphia."

Monday, March 30, 2020

Cops Fearful of Catching Coronavirus

Photo credit: NY Post/Robert Miller
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

On March 17th,  a line of people down the block was waiting outside the Police Department's Gun Permits Unit.

At a time when the police commissioner had imposed a temporary moratorium on making arrests, some Philadelphia residents were seeking extra protection from criminals.

But most of the people standing in line outside the office at 660 E. Erie Avenue were out of luck. Just the day before, Mayor Jim Kenney had ordered all nonessential businesses and government offices to shut down. So on March 17th, only a handful of people got their gun permits before the unit shut down. Most of the people standing in line were turned away and wound up going home angry.

In the days before the unit shut down, some of the 15 cops and detectives who work there had raised concerns about the danger posed by the sheer volume of gun permit applicants, which on some days numbered as many as 300. "We shouldn't even be opening up," one cop who preferred to stay anonymous told the unit's commanding officer. But according to that cop, the lieutenant who ran the Gun Permits Unit told the troops that the show had to go on. Until the mayor ordered the shut down.

"She openly threatened us," the cop recalled about the boss. According to the cop, the lieutenant basically said, "If you guys don't open, I'm going to send you out to the districts. There's nothing I can do to save you."

Friday, March 27, 2020

A Reporter's Rogues Gallery

His Eminence
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

If you're looking for some light reading while under Coronavirus-induced house arrest, I've recently updated ralphcipriano.com. It's a virtual rogues gallery of all the lowlifes, hypocrites and scoundrels I've had the pleasure of exposing during a long career in journalism.

Among those prominently featured: the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who presided over a criminal enterprise as archbishop of Philadelphia, and his faithful spinmeister, Brian Tierney, who later went on to own and then bankrupt The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Rufus Seth Williams, our first Philly D.A. to land in jail, is another juicy target, as is Billy Doe, the lying, scheming altar boy.

I've also spotlighted the negligent and corrupt behavior of the board of trustees at Penn State who to this day are still in full cover-up mode, as well as the unscrupulous prosecutors who presided over the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

To Address Corruption, Pennsylvania Must Change Laws That Enable It

Philly mag archive: Photo: Matt Rourke/AP; Illustration: Gluekit
By A. Benjamin Mannes
for BigTrial.net

When most Americans think of corruption, images of the Daley machine in Chicago, Tammany Hall in New York and New Orleans’ timeline from Huey Long to Ray Nagin come to mind.

Pennsylvania, however – more specifically Philadelphia, are topping national statistics on corruption. 

In looking at the last decade alone, the City of Brotherly Love has seen both its congressman marred in ethics scandals, one imprisoned and the other “retired” following the revelation of a scandal in where his rival (a Judge) was bribed to bow out of the race against him. 

Currently, two sitting City Council members are still collecting taxpayer salaries while under federal indictment. The former District Attorney is in prison and new scandals arise each week surrounding his radically-progressive successor, Larry Krasner.

Krasner has reportedly hired credentialed unit chiefs and supervisors at the city’s top law enforcement agency who had recent criminal histories, appointed one of his personal debtors and fired a myriad of seasoned professionals to appoint prosecutors with no experience who failed the bar exam. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

How D.A. Helped Haitian Who Beat And Strangled Fiancé Stay In USA

 Caleb Arnold Photo Credit: Kimberly Paynter/WHYY
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Starson Audate, 23, of Haiti, was in the country on a student visa in 2017 when he beat and strangled his fiancé.

According to police reports, Audate kicked the victim, a 24-year-old Philadelphia woman, in the shin and bit her on the knee. Then he choked her by sticking his forearm under her chin so she couldn't breathe. Finally, he knocked her down on the floor, and stepped on her.

During the attack, police said, the victim wound up passing out and urinating on herself. When she came to, according to the police report, she pleaded with Audate to take her to the hospital because she was in pain. But according to the police report, he refused, saying, "I don't care, I'm not going to take you to the hospital."

Enter the Philadelphia District Attorney's office, under Progressive Larry Krasner. The D.A. wasn't there to help the victim. Instead, Caleb Arnold, Krasner's immigration counsel, came to the aid of the assailant. The D.A.'s office acted to ensure that Audate, charged with assault and strangulation, beat the rap, so he wouldn't get deported or inconvenienced by any legal challenges to his immigration status.

On 'Search Warrant' Podcast Big Trial Explains 'The Krasner Virus'

Photo credit: Tim Tai/The Philadelphia Inquirer
This week's "Search Warrant" podcast digs into the insane events of the past two weeks in Philadelphia, beginning with the murder of Cpl. James O'Connor.

Along the way we learned that the murder suspect should have been in jail, as was a drug dealer the cop killer was holed up with. But thanks to District Attorney Larry Krasner and his revolving door style of justice, both dangerous criminals were at large when Cpl. O'Connor and his SWAT team showed up.

The guest on the cop-hosted podcast is your humble Big Trial correspondent. Other topics of discussion: why Larry Krasner refused to lift a finger to help an opioid task force, why Larry Krasner called 911, and Philly's new no-arrest policy for drug dealers, thieves, etc. The podcast also provides an update on Detective Derrick Jacobs' lonely crusade to expose corruption in the D.A.'s office, the latest insanity in the long-running "Billy Doe" sex abuse case involving the Catholic Church, and the ongoing efforts of the Progressive journalists at The Philadelphia Inquirer to lead the cover up for Progressive D.A. Krasner. The podcast can be heard here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

District Attorney Lied About Public Records Because He Doesn't Want Public To Know About Thousands Of Cases He Wouldn't Prosecute

Photo credit: Tim Tai/The Philadelphia Inquirer
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

District Attorney Larry Krasner lied about the existence of public records that would show just how many cases his inept and corrupt office has turned down for prosecution.

Krasner doesn't want the public to know about the more than 200 cases his so-called charging unit declines to prosecute every month, or the 2,562 cases his office declined to prosecute during 2018, his first year in office. These cases run the gamut of crimes, including  aggravated assault, prostitution, bringing weapons to school, robbery and rape.

There's another public document that Krasner hopes the public never sees: a list that tracks the number of cases where the district attorney's office downgrades charges, which average nearly a hundred a month, or a total of 1,159 for 2018. Such as when Michael White stabbed Sean Schellenger, an unarmed man, to death in July 2018 with a knife with a six-inch blade in Rittenhouse Square. And Krasner twice downgraded the charges in the case, from first-degree murder, to third-degree murder, and finally, to voluntary manslaughter.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Another Coronavirus Casualty: Philly Police To Stop Making Arrests

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

At 4 p.m. today, because of the coronavirus health crisis, Philadelphia police will no longer be making arrests for all narcotics offenses, theft from persons, retail theft, theft from auto, burglary and vandalism.

In addition, there will be no more arrests for all bench warrants, stolen autos, economic crimes such as passing bad checks and fraud, and prostitution.

According to a message sent out this afternoon to all police chief inspectors, staff inspectors and police captains, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, cops who "encounter persons who would ordinarily be arrested for these offenses . . . will adhere to the following procedures:"

-- Cops are to "temporarily detain the offender for the length of time required to confirm identity (this may require the deployment of mobile fingerprint scanners)."

-- Prepare all relevant paper work and then "release offender."

-- Send an arrest affidavit to the district attorney's charging unit -- where arrest warrants go to die -- and if the charges are approved, detectives will obtain arrest warrants to "be served at a later time."

A Month Before Cop Murder, D.A. Twice Let Drug Dealer Out Of Jail

Photo credit: Tim Tai/The Philadelphia Inquirer
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

The month before 19-year-old  Bilal Mitchell was holed up with Hassan Elliott in a Frankford row house that got stormed by a SWAT team -- resulting in the murder of Corporal James O'Connor -- the cops arrested Mitchell twice for drug dealing.

When he got arrested as an adult in February, Mitchell had three open juvenile cases and one previous arrest as an adult. For exactly a year, since Feb. 6, 2019, Mitchell had been placed on a GPS monitor, a monitor he was supposed to be wearing when he was arrested as an adult for both drug crimes last month.

But at any point during this one-man crime spree, did the District Attorney's office under Larry Krasner go back to juvenile court and ask that Mitchell be put in detention? No way. After his first drug arrest as an adult, on Aug. 8, 2019, for manufacture with intent to distribute, Mitchell was released on his own recognizance, no bail required.

On one of those adult drug pinches last month, Mitchell was also charged for carrying guns. But twice last month, thanks to amazingly low bail set by the district attorney's office, Mitchell was able to walk out of jail without sustaining much of a dent to his wallet.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Stung By Criticism On Social Media, D.A. Larry Krasner Dials 911

Hit the road Larry
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

It was a rough weekend for District Attorney Larry Krasner.

Last Friday, he tried to visit Temple University Hospital where a murdered police officer's family was grieving. But officers outside the hospital linked arms and made a human wall to prevent Krasner from entering. The TV cameras caught Krasner and his entourage walking away from the thick blue line. When Krasner tried to slip in the hospital through a back entrance, the cops blocked him there as well.

Over the weekend, critics on social media pounded away at Krasner's turnstile style of justice manned by rookie prosecutors that grants all kinds of favors to criminals, to put them back out on the street as soon as possible, so they can commit more crimes and hurt more people. By 1 p.m. Sunday, the criticism on social media had grown so intense that Krasner called 911 to report he'd been threatened.

Secretive Judge Postpones 'Billy Doe' Show Trial Until Next Year

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

According to an order issued by Judge Gwendolyn Bright, the lying, scheming former altar boy known as "Billy Doe" was supposed to show up this morning under subpoena in Courtroom 807 of the Criminal Justice Center.

But Billy Doe, AKA Danny Gallagher, didn't show, and once again, he got a pass. So did his official enablers, the prosecutors who work for corrupt District Attorney Larry Krasner.

You have to hand it to Gallagher, who has to be the luckiest dirtbag in the universe. He sure picked the right day not to honor a subpoena. A day like today, when all potential jurors were sent home and officials announced because of the coronavirus, the local courts are being shut down until at least April 1st.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Jane Roh's A Liar; And Larry Krasner's A Menace To Public Safety

Photo credit: Tim Tai/The Philadelphia Inquirer
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Jane Roh, the official spokesperson for District Attorney Larry Krasner who's been stonewalling this blog for months, gave an interview to The Philadelphia Inquirer on Friday where she claimed a decision to withdraw drug charges a year ago against alleged murder suspect Hassan Elliott "had no bearing on public safety."

Stop lying, Jane. The sequence of events, as laid out in court records -- as well as just plain common sense -- tells us that dropping any charge against a dangerous murder suspect out on the run would have an obvious impact on public safety. It was also something that any prosecutor with a brain would have never done.

But it was part of a pattern. Court records show that with the D.A.'s office under Krasner, every time Elliott was hauled into court, the rookie prosecutors manning the turnstiles repeatedly did him favors to put him right back out on the street again. Favors that Krasner and Roh don't want to talk about right now because the district attorney's office has blood on its hands. Blue blood.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Subject Of Search Warrant In Cop Murder Should Have Been In Jail

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

A SWAT team led by Corporal James O'Connor was in Frankford this morning, trying to serve a warrant for murder and robbery on 21-year-old Hassan Elliott. An ensuing gun battle resulted in the murder of O'Connor.

Before the SWAT team went looking for Elliott, he had been the recipient of multiple breaks from the district attorney's office that should have landed him in jail.

On Jan. 24, 2018 in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, before Judge Robert Coleman, Elliott pleaded guilty in a negotiated plea to carrying firearms without a license. He got 9 to 23 months in prison and three years probation. But he walked out of court a free man that day because the court accepted as his prison term the amount of jail time previously served.

As part of the deal the D.A. agreed to drop two other charges, intentional possession of a controlled substance, and a charge of carrying firearms in public.

While on probation, three different times, Elliott was brought before the judge on alleged violations of parole. And three times, rather than put him in jail, the district attorney's office allowed Elliott to continue being on probation.

But the D.A.'s office was about to do Elliott an even bigger favor. It's another story you won't read in the Inquirer.

Outside Hospital, Cops Linked Arms To Prevent D.A. From Entering

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

When District Attorney Larry Krasner showed up at Temple University Hospital, where a police officer died this morning, the fallen officer's comrades linked arms and wouldn't let Krasner in.

Moments later, Fox 29 reporter Jenn Frederick, who was broadcasting live, asked Krasner on camera, "It appears that the police officers were literally keeping you outside."

Krasner didn't answer the question; instead he looked right past the reporter and gave a robotic speech.

"So the reason I'm here is we have a very serious incident involving a police officer," he said, stating the obvious. "I was here for the victim for the victim, the victim's family and for any survivors," he said, adding that he also wanted to show "just how much we care about what happens to our law enforcement officers."

Inky's Fired 'Token Conservative' Says Paper Was Clueless

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Shortly after the 2016 presidential election, some 30 shell-shocked editors, reporters and columnists at The Philadelphia Inquirer gathered in a conference room to discuss how the hell Hillary Clinton, the most qualified candidate in history, had just lost to a huckster like Donald Trump.

As the newspaper's only conservative columnist, Christine Flowers had mixed feelings as she sat through the grim post mortem.

"It was almost like doing triage," she recalled. "They wanted to be in touch with the community that they purportedly covered so well." But when Trump pulled off the upset by carrying Pennsylvania, Flowers said, "It did blindside them." The Inky staffers -- a bunch of card-carrying liberals, Progressive Democrats and social justice warriors -- were completely clueless about "what the hell happened here."

When somebody suggested they might actually talk to some Trump voters to find out what they were thinking, Flowers looked around the table and was stunned to see "the anger and hatred in some of these journalists' eyes."

Why talk to the enemy, right?

Last week, the Inquirer turned its scorn on Flowers, who, as the newspaper's only conservative columnist, was sent packing after 17 years as a regular freelancer.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Lawsuit: D.A. Krasner Refused To Disclose Public Records


By A. Benjamin Mannes 
for BigTrial.net

Philadelphians who follow federally reported crime rates, nightly news broadcasts or are attending community meetings know that crime is up and quality of life is declining in many of their neighborhoods. 

However, you would never know this by monitoring the press conferences and statements coming from Mayor Jim Kenney, District Attorney Larry Krasner [or his spokesperson Jane Roh], or newly-appointed Commissioner Danielle Outlaw; who highlight issues relative to their social justice endeavors while downplaying the rise in violent crime plaguing our city. 

It was former council candidate Bill Heeney’s desire to get to the truth of this matter that led to a lawsuit filed on February 22, 2020 against District Attorney Larry Krasner; a lawsuit which seeks to bring transparency to how prosecutions are taken or declined in the City of Philadelphia.

Instead of addressing the public safety crisis, the Mayor and District Attorney’s offices have denied any correlation between the city’s new progressive criminal justice policies and rising crime, to include homicides. 

The Elephant In The Room Named Billy

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

The defense lawyer for Msgr. William J. Lynn today talked in exasperation to the judge about the "elephant in the room."

Five days away from picking a jury in the retrial of his client, attorney Thomas Bergstrom went off about what the prosecutors in District Attorney Larry Krasner's office, in their latest slimy maneuver, were trying to pull in Courtroom 807 of the Criminal Justice Center.

"The Commonwealth is trying to take the victim out of this case," Bergstrom told Judge Gwendolyn Bright. And why is that? Because "They [the prosecutors] don't believe he has any credibility," Bergstrom said.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Mayor, Police Pleaded For Help In Opioid Crisis, But D.A. Said Hell No

Photo: Cathie Berrey-Green
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

It was standing room only in the mayor's conference room at City Hall. On Oct. 17, 2018 Mayor Jim Kenney had gathered some 20 top police officials, including the police commissioner, to meet with a half-dozen top officials from the District Attorney's office, led by the D.A. himself, Larry Krasner.

The mayor had convened the meeting to discuss how the D.A.'s office might better cooperate with the cops and a two-year-old city-wide task force that was dealing with the opioid crisis in Kensington. The concerns were that crime was on the rise, including human trafficking, and that addicts were dying in record numbers.

But Krasner wanted no part of any anti-drug task force. In response to pleas from the mayor and top police officials, Krasner gave what was described as a lecture. The federal government, he said, was to blame for bringing drugs into the country. The war on drugs was a colossal failure. And the bottom line was the top law enforcement official in the city wasn't going to lift a finger to help in any opioid crisis. The D.A. subsequently ended the 90-minute meeting by telling the mayor and the assembled police officials, hey we're done here.

"I was stunned," recalled one official at the meeting. "He [Krasner] basically disrespected the mayor and every other person in the room."

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Suspect In Cop Shooting Freed By D.A. Gets Caught With A Gun

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Two years ago, James Gauthney was one of two suspects arrested in connection with the shooting of a hero cop.

At a press conference, District Attorney Larry Krasner announced that Gauthney's bail was set at $1 million and that his office was going all out to prosecute the suspects in support of a "truly heroic officer."

But the day of the preliminary hearing, to the consternation of cops everywhere, the D.A.'s office suddenly punked out. They dropped the charges against Gauthney because they didn't think they could win the case.

Here's the kicker to this story: Last week, the cops made a routine traffic stop after somebody ran a red light. And who did they wind up arresting? Why James Gauthney, 21, of Southwest Philly, a guy with a long rap sheet, who, according to the police report, looked "visibly nervous" when they pulled him over. Maybe that's because Gauthney was cruising around town with a loaded .380 pistol under his seat.

Gauthney's back in jail and being held without bail for numerous firearms charges and for violating his parole. And now the question is, over at Larry Krasner's corrupt and incompetent D.A.'s office, can anybody prosecute this case?

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Detective: D.A. Conspired To Maliciously Prosecute Me For Telling The Truth About An Officer-Involved Shooting

DAs Krasner & Tripp Philadelphia Tribune photo/Michael D'Onofrio
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

In an explosive whistleblower lawsuit being waged in U.S. District Court, Police Detective Derrick Jacobs has charged District Attorney Larry Krasner and Assistant D.A. Tracy Tripp with conspiring to maliciously prosecute him because he refused to change his testimony about his investigation into an officer-involved shooting.

In a 42-page response filed Monday to fight a motion by the city to dismiss his lawsuit, the detective states that in retaliation for his efforts to expose corruption in the D.A.'s office, Krasner and Tripp conspired to have a grand jury indict Jacobs for something he didn't do, leaking grand jury secrets.

The reason why Krasner and Tripp threatened to arrest him, Jacobs asserts in his response brief, is because he refused to change his story about his 2017 investigation of an officer-involved shooting that exonerated Officer Ryan Pownall. The detective also charges that in response to his activities as a whistleblower, by speaking out about corruption in  the D.A.'s office on a recent "Search Warrant" podcast, where he was interviewed by a trio of retired cops, the city has served notice that it intends to suspend or possibly fire the detective known as "Jake" for exercising his First Amendment rights. It's a story you won't read in the Inquirer.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Thanks To Larry And Rufus, 300 Drug Dealers About To Hit Lottery

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

A federal judge has cleared the way for 300 former convicted drug dealers who filed civil rights lawsuits against the city to get paid.

In a memorandum dated Feb. 7th, U.S. District Court Judge Paul S. Diamond denied a motion filed by the city for summary judgment that would have dismissed the first of the lawsuits, the so-called "bellwether" case of McIntyre v. Liciardello et al.

In his memorandum, the judge noted that in addition to the bellwether case, "innumerable related cases remain in suspense." The judge subsequently issued an order that required all the remaining defendants in the case to report to a Feb. 27th settlement conference before U.S. Magistrate Timothy Rice, the minutes of which, according to the court docket, are sealed.

By his actions, sources familiar with the lawsuits say, Judge Diamond was basically encouraging the city to not only settle the bellwether case, but all the remaining civil rights cases, which will no doubt cost taxpayers millions. If they're looking for somebody to blame they can start with former District Attorney Rufus Seth Williams, who rolled over for the drug dealers. Another guilty culprit is Larry Krasner, who was the lead attorney for the 300 drug dealers back when he was a defense lawyer. And who, when all these cases are settled, will be entitled to collect a share of the winnings.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

State Supreme Court Appoints Sandusky Judge To Investigate D.A.

This judge has baggage
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

The state Supreme Court today appointed Judge John M. Cleland, senior judge of the Court of Common Pleas of McKean County, to investigate Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner's handling of the latest appeal in the case of celebrity cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

According to a two-page order, Cleland will preside over an investigation of Krasner as ordered by the state Supreme Court. Cleland, who presided over the trial of Jerry Sandusky, "shall conduct such hearings or other proceedings . . . as may be required to determine" whether Krasner or any of his underlings in the D.A.'s office have a conflict in interest" in prosecuting Abu-Jamal.

"If the special master determines that conflict exists then he shall determine whether remedial measures may be employed to address the conflict," the court order says. It will be up to the special master to "consider the various allegations of conflict referenced in" the King's Bench petition to disqualify Krasner as prosecutor in the appeal by Abu-Jamal filed by Maureen Faulkner, the widow of Police Officer Danny Faulkner, whom Abu-Jamal was convicted of murdering back in 1981.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Dear Stan: Your Newspaper Sucks

Sorry, Stanley
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

This morning at 7 a.m., I received a personal note from Stan Wishchnowski, senior vice president and executive editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

"Dear Ralph," he wrote to "Inquirer insiders" like myself who've made the questionable investment of subscribing online to the digital newspaper. "At a recent meeting among our editors, Inquirer editor and vice president Gabriel Escobar noted that we were about to send a reporter and photographer to Portugal for a special report that will publish this month. That came on the heels of reporting that took our journalists to California, Ohio and Poland for stories that we ran in February."

"Local news can take us anywhere if it's important to our audience," Gabe said, according to Stan.

Stan, who was remarkably chatty for a guy who won't get on the phone with me when his troops are protesting outside his door, proceeded to say how the Inquirer was following a local Holocaust  survivor from Jenkintown when she visited Auschwitz. And then he talked about some recent journalism awards that the paper has won. Finally, Stan hit me up for a contribution to the Inquirer Investigative News Fund. The nerve of this freaking guy, asking for a handout. Didn't the late Gerry Lenfest, who got a Viking funeral from the Inky, leave enough money to give the editorial staff a raise for the first time in more than a decade?

 

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