Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Roundup

Steven Montgomery
A weekly tab of what's
going on in the courts

By Shealyn Kilroy


New Jersey Attorney General:
A Newark man who was shot by state troopers pleaded guilty on March 4 to carjacking and armed robbery in connection with a February 2015 crime spree, according to the Attorney General’s office. On Feb. 9, 2015, Steven Montgomery was spotted driving in a carjacked minivan by, as the release states, “Officers 1, 2, 3, and 4.” The minivan was reported stolen earlier that morning, and the owner was threatened with a gun. Driving in front of the minivan, Officers 1 and 2 used their police vehicle in efforts to stop the vehicle on South 20th Street. Officer 1 exited the front passenger seat of Officer 2’s vehicle and drew his service weapon while announcing himself as a law enforcement officer and instructing the driver of the silver minivan to stop. Montgomery proceeded to drive onto the curb towards Officer 1 and believed to be reaching for a weapon by the dashboard, according to the officers. Officer 1 shot Montgomery twice, striking Montgomery in the shoulder and wrist and causing non-fatal injuries. A chase ensued after the first two shots were fired.

 According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, all four officers’ statements given to law enforcement were consistent with Officer 1, and therefore, did not raise any suspicion. The Division of Criminal Justice concluded that Officer 1 “used an acceptable level of force” that was “necessary to prevent the escape of an individual who had recently committed several violent crimes using a firearm.” So, Montgomery was charged and may face a up to 18 years in state prison, including more than 15 years of parole ineligibility.

Should the police officers be identified? The full, detailed release can be found here.

Philadelphia District Attorney:
Tamika Gross
Philadelphia Police Officer Tamika Gross, 35, is scheduled to attend trial on March 4, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Gross is accused encouraging her son and daughter to participate in fights on multiple occasions. During another fight, Gross is accused of punching a girl in the eye twice, which was captured on video according to police. Announced by the District Attorney’s office on June 24, 2014, Gross is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, multiple counts of corruption of a minor, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.

Charged for murdering his father, Victor Gethers, 29, was scheduled for a preliminary hearing on March 2, according to the District Attorney’s office. 82-year-old Soloman Gethers was found stabbed to death his home on the 5700 block of Woodbine Avenue in the Overbrook section of Philadelphia around Dec. 16, 2015. Soloman suffered stabs wounds to his face and neck and was pronounced dead at the scene. Victor lives at the residence and was there when police arrived. Soloman only had a few months to live before being stabbed to death, according to neighbors.

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania:
Judge Joseph O'Neill
Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Joseph O’Neill, 65, of Philadelphia was charged by indictment on March 1 with lying to the FBI about a corruption scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. Then-Municipal Court Judge Joseph Waters, charged previously elsewhere, called O’Neil directing him to “take a hard look” at a small claims case for a friend of Waters. When questioned about the scheme, O’Neill denied to the feds that anyone had contacted him in advance of the hearing and told him the defendant in the small claims case was a friend of the caller. If convicted, O’Neill could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a possible fine, up to three years of supervised release, and a $200 special assessment.

Cody Corderro, 29, of Allentown will spend 30 years in prison for running a sex trafficking business, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. Corderro was sentenced on March 4 after pleading guilty on Oct. 30, 2015 to to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion, 12 counts of sex trafficking, one count of conspiracy to transport individuals across state lines for the purpose of prostitution, and one count of sex trafficking of a minor Corderro ran his “program,”a term he used himself, on a website similar to Craigslist called Backpage. From at least 2009 to May 2014, Corderro advertise prostitutes he recruited on the site and collected the money the women made. If the women did not follow Corderro’s “rules of the program,” he’d force the women, including a 17-year-old girl, through rape and other violent acts.

Shealyn can be reached at


  1. Judge's Go To Jail Too!!!!

  2. Lying to the FBI !!!, that's a good one, when does the FBI get in trouble for lying ? In the Traffic Court trial, everyone in the courtroom witnessed the FBI agent on the case get caught lying on multiple occasions, having his behavior referenced in multiple defense attorneys closing arguments who asked the jury to show their clients as much leniency as they had shown the agent... and wait for it..... Nothing happened to him, nothing at all !!! In front of a room full of reporters !!!!! They really do have a license to lie. Having the media hide the injustice only serves to strengthen the justice departments hold over the citizenry .

    Are citizens to live by one set of rules and the government another ? Its not ok for a judge to lie, but its equally wrong for an FBI agent to lie and not be disciplined. Hiding evidence, distorting facts, lying to get an indictment, lying for the prosecution, leaking evidence to the media, all are affronts to the judicial system, but it happens every day.

    Juries need to wake up and realize that prosecutors are not the unbiased seekers of justice we have always imaged, we need to stop giving them the benefit of the doubt. They are humans ,they want to win, even if it means bending the truth. Are we really supposed to have respect for the justice department when it exhibits such behavior ?

    Prosecutors should never be made judges, they become an extension of the prosecution team.
    Deciding to elect or appoint a judge should not be the question, making honesty, integrity and accountability part of the equation is the answer. Having ultimate power corrupts. I now know why the justice statue is blindfolded, justices don't say what they see or say what they hear as long as the injustice comes from the justice department.

    Traffic Court should have been handled internally, if there was a problem it was a problem 50 years ago, lots of opportunity there to make changes, but that would have been the constructive way to handle ethics violations, having the feds raise the stakes and make it a federal offense, that seems so American, well the new America that is, degrade, humiliate, bankrupt the defendant,the new reality TV. Scorched earth. take no prisoners. During the middle ages the rack was used to extract a confession, now is bankruptcy, jail time, loss of reputation and pension.

    No citizen has an issue with justice being served, its when the justices serve only themselves we have a problem. Morale is at an all time low in our country, we need accountability ,the same accountability required of other professions to carry over to the untouchable justice department.
    Porngate and the infighting at the Attorney Generals office, and the recent US Supreme Court case of our former Chief Justice not recusing himself, has opened a lot of peoples eyes.


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