Mayor Nutter, along with elected and law enforcement officials, officially announced this morning that the city was putting $200,000 toward combating witness intimidation in court cases. Nutter put up the money on June 17 in response to legislation from City Councilman Curtis Jones Jr., which would have created a fine for people who attempted to intimidate witnesses in criminal matters.
Nutter this morning cited the recent "catch-a-rep" case where three of four minors accused of attacking an elderly man went free in court after a young female witness recanted her statement and said she had faced death threats. "They need to know that when they come forward that we are there to support and protect them," Nutter said of witnesses.
District Attorney Seth Williams warned that the "very fabric of our criminal justice system" was at risk of witnesses continued to be intimidated. "The very nature of our criminal justice system will fall apart if we can't protect those who are willing to provide information to us," Williams said.
Nutter said he plans to spend the summer with law enforcement officials in a series of meeting with religious and community leaders to come up with a way to combat the culture of witness intimidation in the city's neighborhoods.