Friday, February 17, 2017

Missing In Domestic Abuse Case: "A Chunk Of Her HaIr"

By Ralph Cipriano

The victim, a 36-year-old female, was shaking and crying when the police showed up.

She told the cops she had been arguing with her boyfriend when he "grabbed her and ripped out a chunk of her hair," police records state.

"Police noticed a chunk of hair missing from the center of complainant's head," the records state. So on Nov. 20, 2016, police drove to a home in Germantown where the crime had allegedly occurred and found Corey Richardson, 40, in the upstairs bedroom "along with the chunk of missing hair" thrown on the floor.

The cops arrested Richardson, and submitted an affidavit of probable cause to the D.A.'s office. An open and shut case of domestic violence? Not when D.A. Seth Williams' "Smart on Crime" charging unit is on duty.

 On Nov. 21, 2016, the D.A. declined to prosecute the suspect because the victim had not given a statement. Even though the cops protested that the information contained in the officer's statement was sufficient to charge the suspect.

Richardson, however, a career criminal with a history of violent acts, was never charged for assaulting his girlfriend.

Richardson's rap sheet includes one bust for theft, for which he got probation. And four narcotic busts for which he got the following sentences: three years in jail, 11 1/2 to 23 months in jail; 7 to 14 months in jail; and 6 to 23 month in jail.

In jail, Richardson picked up two more arrests when he was charged in two different assaults on fellow prisoners. He was sentenced to one to three additional years in prison for each of the two incidents.

But in the domestic violence case involving his girlfriend, Richardson got off scot free.

In Philadelphia, records show, the D.A.'s office often does not charge suspects in domestic violence incidents where the victim won't give a statement. In cases, however, where the police see evidence of abuse, and they know who did it, the cops say they are supposed to arrest the suspect. And, according to state law, the D.A.'s office should be charging those suspects, because in those cases, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania can act as the complainant.

But that's not what happens in Philadelphia.

On Nov. 15, 2016, police showed up at a domestic violence related incident and found a woman "on the ground unconscious." A short distance away, the police found William Newton.

After the police took Newtown into custody, "the defendant stated that he and the victim had an altercation and he punched her." The victim, however, "was uncooperative and refused to give a statement."

The cops wanted the D.A. to charge Newton. However, Assistant District Attorney Richard J. Boyd wrote that "the defendant's statement isn't sufficient to show how the altercation/fight occurred."

"If in the future, the victim gives a statement as to what happened, we can review the statement at that time to determine if charges are warranted," Boyd wrote.

Newton was not charged for the incident, court records show.

The D.A. frequently denies these kinds of claims in domestic abuse cases where the victim is uncooperative. Such as:

-- On Nov. 30, 2016, the police had a domestic violence case where the victim, a woman, was strangled until rendered unconscious. The woman gave police a statement saying what happened.

"The officers observe bruising on her neck and the house is in disarray," police records said. So the police arrested a suspect, Tyquan Tyson, and submitted an application to the D.A.'s office for an affidavit of probable cause.

But later that same day, Assistant District Attorney Helen Park wrote, "After much consideration, I am declining charges for the above individual due to the fact that the complainant, who was strangled, refused to sign her statement and indicated that she did not want to press charges"

"The evidence for an excited utterance through police officer testimony is weak at best, and not likely to be admitted, leaving us with little ability to prove the case," Park wrote. "My decision is thus based not on credibility but simply on the unfortunate insufficiency of the evidence."

"If the complainant becomes cooperative in the future and provides more information about the friend that she called to come and pick her up, or additional evidence becomes available, please re-submit this case as an affidavit," she wrote.

-- On Dec. 23, 2016, police, responding to a report of a domestic violence incident, asked a woman who answered the door if anyone was stabbed.

"She says she stabbed her husband once in the shoulder," the police report said. "She tells them that they were arguing and it became physical and she stabbed her husband because he is larger than she is."

The case was turned down for charging because it "basically, appears to be a self-defense claim," ADA Amanda L. Hedrick wrote. "This is completely unrefuted" because the victim "refused to cooperate even on the scene and later would not give a statement to police."

-- On Dec. 29, 2016, ADA Boyd declined to arrest a suspect in a domestic violence incident even though, he noted, "the defendant did stab the victim."

"The reason for the declination is that the victim is not cooperating and refused to give a statement," Boyd wrote. "The defendant admitted to stabbing the victim but claims self defense. Lastly, there is an independent witness who sees the victim push the defendant into the house just before the stabbing."

"For these reasons, I am declining to approve charges as we cannot prove what happened and there is evidence of self-defense."


  1. Well it certainly sounds like the DA's office and the police are at war, with the most vulnerable lives at stake. If policing has not changed and the laws have not changed, its just the District Attorneys handling of cases that has changed.

    Are there statistics from prior district attorneys or police available that would show a stark difference in the office style of handling cases. If Williams motivation for wanting crime figures to appear lower for his reelection bid, was the entire office in on it ? Did they all want to keep their jobs for the next four years so badly that they were all willing to look the other way ?

    I thought the justice department was there to seek justice not reelection and a career advancement. Now I know better.

    I am glad he was an elected official, otherwise he would have never been caught. Prosecutors never pay for their behavior, even when they do get caught.

  2. What I have learned from my government is that above all you are to put yourself and your ambitions first regardless of the cost to others.

    Succeeding in your career is paramount, bullying is part the plan. Having self respect is needless when you have control over those that fear you. Those that can't fight or do not have a voice be dammed.

    We look to our government to protect us with laws that prevent oppression but what we have is a justice department that operates on mistrust.

    Standing by and allowing anyone to suffer and be mistreated hurts us all. When one does well we all do well. Turning our backs on the misdeeds of those in the justice department has brought us to his dark place.

    Speaking out against any injustice at its inceptions seems to be the only way to root out a problem before it takes hold in society.

    We should not have to defend ourselves against our own government,they should be in the forefront of seeking justice for its citizens, not glory for themselves.

    We need to trust but when our district attorney is turning away cases that would have helped the nameless, we all are at risk.

    There seems to be a lot of "shame" to spread around. If Seth had led the way with honesty, integrity and dignity the city would be a better, safer place, but he failed all of us.

  3. malfeasance - the performance by a public official of an act that is legally unjustified, harmful, or contrary to law; wrongdoing (used especially of an act in violation of a public trust).

  4. Malfeasance also is intentionally doing something either legally or morally wrong which one has no right to do. It always involves dishonesty, illegality or knowingly exceeding authority for improper reasons.

    Looking the definition up on line as well, I do agree it fits.

  5. Mal-Inky-feasence is intentionally hiding pertinent information from the public when the information involves the prosecution bending the truth for a conviction.


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