Wednesday, October 7, 2015

POSTED: Thursday, August 6, 2015, 5:55 PM
Ron Dove (left) and Erica Sanchez

It didn’t take long.

It was only Thursday, July 30, when the defense lawyer for accused Craigslist killer Thomas Coffee subpoenaed disgraced Philadelphia homicide detective Ron Dove to testify hoping to tarnish the integrity of the prosecution’s case.

It was a long shot and Coffee was found guilty on Tuesday and sentenced to life in prison without parole. On Thursday, another defense lawyer in again invoked the name of Dove – if not his back-story – in an attempt to cloud the prosecution’s case against a South Philadelphia man accused of shooting to death his pregnant girlfriend.

Joe Slobodzian @ 5:55 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, July 21, 2015, 5:39 PM
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has run into her own legal problems. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)

The play sometimes gets rough in the courtroom and sometimes a lawyer's verbal shot lands south of the belt.

Maybe that's what happened Wednesday to veteran Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer Nino V. Tinari, one of the lawyers defending former city Common Pleas Court Judge Willis W. Berry Jr. against criminal conflict of interest charges brought by state prosecutors.

Questioning prosecution witness Eric Eklund, an agent for the state Attorney General's office, Tinari asked in faux innocence about his employer: "That means you work for Kathleen Kane?"

Joe Slobodzian @ 5:39 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Sunday, July 19, 2015, 4:16 PM
This photo provided by the Philadelphia Police Department shows Sean Benschop. Sean Benschop, a heavy equipment operator with a lengthy rap sheet who is accused of being high on marijuana when a downtown building collapsed onto a thrift store, killing six people, surrendered Saturday, June 8, 2013 to face charges in the deaths, police said. Benschop faces six counts of involuntary manslaughter, 13 counts of recklessly endangering another person and one count of risking a catastrophe. (AP Photo/Philadelphia Police Department) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

It seems a guilty plea could be in the works for Sean Benschop, the operator of the excavator the morning of June 5, 2013 when an unsupported three-story brick wall toppled onto the roof of a Salvation Army thrift store in Center City, killing six and injuring 13.

Philadelphia court records show that Common Pleas Court Judge Glenn B. Bronson has set a hearing for Tuesday for a possible guilty plea by Benschop, 43, in the deadly collapse.

Benschop's attorney William Davis, could not immediately be reached for comment; neither could the prosecutors handling the case, Assistant District Atttorneys Edward Cameron and Jennifer Selber.

Joe Slobodzian @ 4:16 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Tuesday, July 14, 2015, 3:46 PM
Msgr. William J. Lynn leaves the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia on Jan. 6. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer)

The question of whether convicted Catholic Church official Msgr. William J. Lynn could be in the audience when Pope Francis visits Philadelphia’s Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility Sept. 26-27 during the church’s World Meeting of Families has been answered.


State prison officials on Tuesday confirmed that the 64-year-old Lynn -- the first church official convicted for a supervisory role over priests accused of or found to have sexually abused children – was taken from Curran-Fromhold and returned July 8 to the state prison at Waymart in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Joe Slobodzian @ 3:46 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, July 1, 2015, 4:35 PM
Msgr. William J. Lynn leaves the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia on Jan. 6. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ/Staff Photographer)

Word that Pope Francis will visit Philadelphia’s Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility when he is in the city Sept. 26-27 for the World Meeting of Families must have held special significance for one of the 2,760 men in the city’s largest jail.

He’s No. 1102886, also known as Msgr. William J. Lynn, the 64-year-old former Secretary for Clergy of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Lynn was the first church official convicted for a supervisory role over priests accused of having sexually abused children. Lynn’s conviction was a landmark in the church’s clergy sex-abuse scandal and his appeal of his child endangerment conviction has been a legal roller coaster.

Joe Slobodzian @ 4:35 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Wednesday, June 24, 2015, 2:28 PM

The justice system often resolves the unanswered questions when someone is charged with a crime. And some cases start out murky and just get murkier.

Consider former Philadelphia cop David Wade Howard, a man with a colorful past who was charged on March 26 with witness intimidation and terroristic threats in connection with the slaying of William Blount on Easter morning in 2014.

Now, Blount’s girlfriend, 38-year-old Alisa Davis, had already been charged with murder for shooting Blount, 49, whose body was found at 8:07 a.m., April 20, 2014, in his bullet-riddled 2000 Plymouth Voyager outside Davis’ home on 18th Street in the city’s Tioga section.

Joe Slobodzian @ 2:28 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Monday, June 8, 2015, 12:47 PM

The prosecutor called it a dispute between two groups of neighborhood kids that began in elementary school and just kept going.

On Sept. 7, 2012, it took the life of 17-year-old Paris Talbert as he sat talking to a friend on a bench outside the Finley Recreation Center on East Hortter Street in East Mount Airy.

On Friday, it led to a life prison sentence without parole for his then-19-year-old killer, Saleem Snead, after a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury found Snead guilty of first-degree murder. The verdict carries a mandatory life prison term and Judge J. Scott O’Keefe immediately imposed the sentence.

Joe Slobodzian @ 12:47 PM  Permalink |
POSTED: Friday, May 22, 2015, 3:10 PM
Msgr. William J. Lynn leaves the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia on Jan. 6. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer)
It’s been three weeks since Msgr. William J. Lynn was sent back to prison after the state Supreme Court reinstated his 2012 conviction and sentence for child endangerment in the Catholic Church priest sex abuse scandal.

For the 64-year-old Lynn, the first church official convicted for a supervisory role over deviant clergy, it’s become a question of waiting behind bars or returning to house arrest while his lawyers continue appealing.

Thomas A. Bergstrom, Lynn’s lawyer, said Friday he plans to visit Lynn on Wednesday to discuss whether he wants to petition the Superior Court to free him on bail pending his new appeals.

Joe Slobodzian @ 3:10 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog
Inquirer reporter Joe Slobodzian covers the courts and writes about the people who find themselves there and what they face.

You can reach Slobodzian at 215-854-2985 or Reach Joseph A. at

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