Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Roundup

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

By Shealyn Kilroy

Philadelphia District Attorney:

Two former Philadelphia cops were scheduled for trial this week, according to the District Attorney’s office. Sean McKnight and Kevin Robinson are charged with aggravated assault, tampering with public records and other charges related to the beating of a man.

In May 2013, McKnight and Robinson pulled over Najee Rivera, 21, in Fairhill. In early 2015, Rivera’s girlfriend brought surveillance video to police that didn't line up with the officers’ accounts of the incident. In Rivera’s testimony, he acknowledged that he was driving his scooter the wrong way on North Sixth Street but didn’t know why the officers were pulling him over. Video shows the officers knocking Rivera off the scooter from the patrol car. The officers then got out of the police car and “threw elbows” at Rivera, striking his face on a brick wall. Rivera suffered broken eye-socket bone and stitches to numerous facial cuts.

After the incident, Rivera lost his job at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city, which the city agreed to settle for $200,000. Rivera died Dec. 20, 15 days after he was shot in a street fight at C and Somerset Streets in Kensington. The jury has not reached a verdict, and deliberations will continue Monday.

Williams Shields is scheduled for a preliminary hearing April 5 for allegedly shooting his brother to death in Northeast Philly, according to the District Attorney’s office. Shields, 33, allegedly shot, James Stevens, 50, in the chest in Stevens' apartment on the 3100 block of Woodhaven Road. The two had gotten into an argument about Stevens yelling at the brothers’ mother, according to Action News.

I suppose juror could not handle the truth,
Jack Nicholson.
A juror was dismissed in the Daniel Dougherty arson murder trial on April 6. The jury said the juror was “emotionally upset” and and started “hyperventilating, popping pills,” according to The jury also noted to the judge that the juror told others that they were “going to cause her to have a mental breakdown.” The juror, Juror No. 3, has not been identified by name in court, but she is a 65-year-old retiree from Northeast Philadelphia. Deliberations and discussions were halted until a replacement was found. The juror who is replacing Juror No. 3 is another Northeast Philadelphia woman.

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania: 
 A Quakertown man was indicted on April 7 for allegedly defrauding Lehigh University fraternities and sororities of more than $2.4 million, according to the
Lehigh University
U.S. Attorney’s office. Albert Fisher, 76, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of wire fraud, and five counts of subscribing to false tax returns. From 2009 to 2013, Fisher and another person, who federal officers did not identify in the release were paid to provide upkeep, food services and financial management to fraternities and sororities, but used $1.4 million of the money for his personal benefit like vacations, furniture and designer clothing. Fisher and the other person operated Fraternity Management Association but allegedly made up a consulting company, “Fisher and Associates,” in order to steal the money. During the same period, Fisher allegedly failed to file tax returns for over a half million dollars in income from FMA for his personal use. If found guilty, Fisher possibly could face a maximum of 50 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, restitution, a possible fine and a $700 special assessment.

Cool shades Sullivan
A former Traffic Court Judge was sentenced to 10 months in prison on April 6, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. Michael Sullivan, 51, did not report and pay employee payroll taxes for the Fireside Tavern on South Marshall Street in Philadelphia, which Sullivan owned and operated. Sullivan pleaded guilty back on Oct. 20, 2015. In addition to the prison term, Sullivan was ordered to pay $58,314 in restitution and to one year of supervised release.

 New Jersey Attorney General: 
16 have been arrested in a child porn investigation called “Operation Safeguard,” according to the Attorney General’s office. All 15 of the identified adult men, and one unidentified male juvenile, are charged with possessing and/or distributing child pornography. A video of young children being raped was discovered in the investigation. Sparta School District bus driver Eugene Triston, 55, allegedly viewed child porn on breaks between bus runs. Senior IT officer for an insurance company in Jersey City, Shaun Dooley, allegedly stored 220 files of suspected child porn on his own computer. Each defendant could face a minimum of eight years in prison, if guilty of both possession and distribution charges.

Shealyn can be reached at

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