Sunday, April 5, 2020

Why Did The Mayor Turn On The D.A.?

Photo illustration: C.J. Burton
By Ralph Cipriano

Last week, there was a seismic shift at City Hall.

At yet another press conference called to update citizens on the coronavirus crisis, Mayor Kenney woke everybody up by suddenly switching the topic of discussion to what he described as the city's other "public health crisis . . . gun violence."

Kenney proceeded to turn on a fellow Progressive Democrat, D.A. Larry Krasner, blaming his soft on crime policies for the most recent upsurge in shootings and murders. Next, Kenney's new police commissioner, Danielle Outlaw, came to the podium and promptly turned the spat into a tag team match by dumping on the D.A. over his "revolving door" style of justice that lets criminals out of jail and puts them right back on the street.

Suddenly, Larry Krasner, the darling of Antifa, Black Lives Matter and progressive but gullible Center City liberals, was all alone in his radical crusade to remake justice. But three years into Krasner's destructive policies, the lingering question is why? Why after three years of holding his tongue and saying nothing publicly critical about Krasner, why is the mayor coming out now against the D.A.?

Here's an educated guess -- our wily mayor, whose progressive policies share in the blame for the city's current state of lawlessness, might be trying to get out ahead of a couple of ticking time bombs.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Tales From The Archive: Bringing The Unicorn To Justice

By Ralph Cipriano

From Courtroom Cowboy, The Life of Legal Trailblazer Jim Beasley

Federal Express was making an international delivery to an old stone millhouse in the South of France. The man who answered the door was husky and middle-aged, with a weathered face and a wispy white goatee. He signed the delivery slip by scrawling only one word, “Einhorn.” 

Ira Einhorn was Philadelphia’s most notorious fugitive killer, a former hippie guru who, after 16 years on the lam, was now living the life of a country squire in a rural region of France known for its fine brandies and cognacs. But when he opened his FedEx envelope on Jan. 2, 1998, Einhorn discovered that Jim Beasley was still after him.

Beasley was inviting Einhorn to return voluntarily to his hometown of Philadelphia, to stand trial in a wrongful death suit brought by the family of his murder victim, Helen “Holly” Maddux. Beasley filed the suit to prevent Einhorn from cashing in on a book or movie deal about his grisly murder of Maddux, and subsequent life on the run.

Einhorn had jumped bail and fled to Europe in 1981, rather than stand trial in Philadelphia on charges that he bashed in the skull of his former girlfriend, and then stashed her corpse in a steamer trunk.

What A Social Justice Reporter Left Out Of Her Inspiring Story

By Ralph Cipriano

It's an uplifting story about a woman unjustly convicted of murder that has a happy ending. What could be wrong with that?

In 2010, Cynthia Alvarado, then a 27-year-old Philly mom who worked as a dancer at a gentlemen's club, was sent to prison for life by a criminal justice system that according to Alvarado's advocates, historically exploits and oppresses poor women of color.

Then, after Alvarado served more than 11 years of her unjust sentence, a crusading Villanova sociology professor teamed up with a bunch of idealistic Villanova law students to spring Alvarado out of the slammer.

To tie it all in a neat bow, the story, which ran March 30th in The Philadelphia Inquirer, was written by Samantha Melamed, the newspaper's official "social justice" reporter. But when she wrote her uplifting story, Melamed, who declined comment, left out a few pertinent facts.

Philadelphia's Only Surging Industry: Crime

Photo Credit: Steven M. Falk/The Philadelphia Inquirer
By A. Benjamin Mannes
for City Journal

Last week, Philadelphia's police department reported that criminal activity in the first three months of this year increased by double-digit percentages when compared with the same period in 2019 -- the most violent year since 2007.

So far in 2020, property and violent crimes have spiked by 16 and 11 percent respectively, with the largest increases in retail theft -- which skyrocketed 59 percent after District Attorney Larry Kasner announced that his office wouldn't prosecute that crime -- and other serious violent offenses, such as aggravated assault, up by 20 percent/

Though The Philadelphia Inquirer has tried to downplay the spike in crime, statistic show that, even as the Covid-19 pandemic unfolds, crime has increased overall, despite a slight slip during the first full week of shutdowns.

The rest of the story can be read here.
Tuesday, March 31, 2020

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

By Ralph Cipriano

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

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

If you're looking for some light reading while under Coronavirus-induced house arrest, I've recently updated 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, PA Must Change Laws That Enable It

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

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.