Archive: April, 2012
It’s been 15 months since Dr. Kermit B. Gosnell was accused of murder and related charges by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office for performing illegal late-term abortions at his West Philadelphia women’s clinic.
It's been almost that long since he was last seen in court.
But he was back Thursday – still in custody and looking vigorous at age 71 after a recent heart pacemaker implant – this time in federal court to be arraigned on an amended federal indictment charging him and three employees with selling prescriptions for almost a million pills containing the narcotic painkiller Oxycodone and the generic version of the antianxiety drug Xanax.
The death penalty:
- Deters people from committing murder.
- Deters no one from committing murder.
- Deters a convicted murderer from committing another murder.
The answer is: all of the above, none of the above, your choice.
Confused? So was the National Research Council, the nonprofit face of the expert panels on science, engineering and medicine created by Congress to provide sound advice on the thorny issues of our times.
Thomas P. Doyle is a Dominican priest with a bachelor’s and five master’s degrees, a canonical lawyer with a doctorate in canon law and a veteran expert witness on Catholic theology and the church.
He has also worked to understand the institutional and moral failures behind the abuse of minors by priests since 1984, when the scandal first erupted in the United States in Louisiana.
Doyle appeared in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court last Thursday at the trial of two Catholic priests involving the sexual abuse of children by some priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington wanted Doyle to explain to the jury some of the more esoteric elements of Catholic theology.
A man who admitted being peripherally involved in the drug-theft conspiracy that ended with the June 27, 2009 slayings of two people at the Piazza at Schmidts complex in Northern Liberties was sentenced Friday to 6 to 12 years in prison by a Philadelphia judge.
Robert Keith, 30, pleaded guilty last November to conspiracy, burglary and possession an instrument of crime involving a June 27, 2008 break-in at a sixth-floor apartment at the Piazza’s Navona building that he thought held a cache of drugs and cash. Keith was accompanied by Will Hook, the alleged mastermind of the scheme.
But when the two men got inside the sixth-floor apartment the flat was empty: Hook’s information was apparently bad and Keith left the scheme at that point.
It was just last July when Philadelphia First Assistant District Attorney Edward McCann nailed down the last three convictions among nine people charged in the horrific 2006 starvation death of Danieal Kelly, the 14-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who was allowed to literally wither away and die in her mother’s West Philadelphia apartment, her body covered with deep bedsores and lying in her own excrement.
McCann, 48, then 22 years into his career as a city prosecutor, had just been named acting first assistant. The administrative workload he was acquiring, he said, was significant enough that he guessed it would be some time before he went back into a courtroom.
Now, nine months later, McCann is returning to the courtroom to prosecute the parents of Khalil Wimes, the six-year-old South Philadelphia boy who died March 19, allegedly after being starved and beaten over a long period of time.