Archive for the ‘Press Release’ Category

KELLEY B. HODGE SWORN IN AS PHILADELPHIA’S 25TH DISTRICT ATTORNEY

July 24, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (July 24, 2017) – Kelley B. Hodge was sworn in today as the City of Philadelphia’s 25th District Attorney. Hodge, who was elected on July 20, 2017, by the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas’ Board of Judges, will serve until the newly elected District Attorney takes office in 2018.

“Thank you for having the confidence in me to lead this office, an office that I have profound admiration and respect for. The Board of Judges have entrusted me with a responsibility that requires diligence, intelligence, patience and most of all humility, and I can assure you that I will work every day, as I have for my 20 years as an attorney and advocate, to deliver just that to the citizens of Philadelphia,” said Kelley B. Hodge, District Attorney for the City of Philadelphia.

“To the members of the District Attorney’s Office, it’s good to be back, and this is our restoration period. Our opportunity to look at adversity from the rear-view mirror and know you have weathered the storm. The citizens of this city deserve our best as members of the District Attorney’s office and I hope to inspire you all to always seek to do better today than you did the day before,” Hodge added.

Before her election, District Attorney Hodge was Of Counsel to Elliott Greenleaf where she developed a practice focusing on criminal, education, risk assessment, compliance, and civil rights law. Prior to joining Greenleaf, she was the Title IX Coordinator at the University of Virginia and responsible for the implementation of a new sex and gender based harassment policy in the University’s eleven schools.

Before joining the University of Virginia, Ms. Hodge was appointed by former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett to serve as the Safe Schools Advocate under the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. As Advocate, Hodge oversaw the reporting and response to incidents of violence in the Philadelphia Public School system. She worked closely with the First Judicial District Juvenile and Adult Courts, local law enforcement, mental and behavioral health agencies, and Philadelphia’s City Council, District Attorney’s Office, Mayor’s Office, and human relations agencies to ensure each student’s civil rights were protected.

“I would also like to thank the office’s leadership team who not only kept improving the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office’s policies and programs, but made sure the entire organization remained focused on justice and serving the people of Philadelphia,” said Hodge.

Ms. Hodge began practicing law in the Commonwealth of Virginia as a criminal defense attorney for the Richmond Public Defender’s Office in 1997. In 2004, she began practicing law in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. For eight years, Ms. Hodge prosecuted thousands of cases ranging from Misdemeanor Theft to Attempted Murder in the First Judicial District. She trained and managed new and seasoned Assistant District Attorneys and assisted in the creation and implementation of various diversionary programs.

In 2013, she was selected to serve on a Pennsylvania Joint State Commission on Violence Prevention in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, and in 2014 she was appointed by Governor Corbett to serve on the Interstate Compact for Juvenile Justice.

Ms. Hodge received her Juris Doctor from the University of Richmond’s T.C. Williams School of Law in 1996. She is a 1993 graduate of the University of Virginia where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Foreign Affairs and in Spanish Language and Literature. She is a native of Montgomery County, PA and graduated from Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Flourtown, PA. Ms. Hodge currently resides with her husband and son in the Northwest section of Philadelphia.

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PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE RELEASES STATEMENT ON KELLEY B. HODGE BEING APPOINTED AS INTERIM DISTRICT ATTORNEY

July 21, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (July 20, 2017) – The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office today released the following statement on the appointment of Kelley B. Hodge as Interim District Attorney by the Court of Common Pleas Board of Judges:

“The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office congratulates Interim District Attorney Hodge on her appointment. We are excited to welcome her back to the Office, and we look forward to working with her throughout her term in office.”

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PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE AND AMTRAK CLOSE $26,000 FRAUD CASE

July 13, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (July 13, 2017) – The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and Amtrak’s Office of Inspector General today announced the arrest and prosecution of Shohana Culberson for defrauding Amtrak of more than $26,000 in illegal tickets. Culberson (DOB: 03-16-1987) was charged with Theft of Services and Criminal Conspiracy, and was terminated from Amtrak.

“The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is always ready to support our fellow investigators,” said Kathleen E. Martin, Acting Philadelphia District Attorney. “After a joint investigation, we charged Shohana Culberson for illegally using her position as an Amtrak employee to acquire more than 281 tickets, totaling $26,270, between December 2014 and April 2016.”

An Amtrak Conductor in Selma, North Carolina in May of 2016, found two passengers who could not produce identification for their Employee Rail Pass tickets They were escorted off the train and consented to a search. One passenger was found to be in possession of Oxymorphone Hydrochloride, a Schedule II Drug, and the other had an outstanding arrest warrant for Trafficking Opium and Heroin from Cumberland County, North Carolina. Both individuals were arrested.

The Amtrak Police Department (APD) discovered that their tickets were created using the Amtrak Employee Rail Pass assigned to Culberson. The travelers listed on the reservation were her alleged spouse and her daughter. While Culberson told OIG investigators that she had been married since 2008; that was later discovered to not be true. After assisting in the investigation, the DAO affirmed charges for defrauding Amtrak of goods and services. An Arrest Warrant was issued for Culberson, and she later surrendered Amtrak Police at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Ultimately, Culberson received five years of probation and ordered to pay restitution to Amtrak.

“I commend the OIG staff and our partners in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office who investigated this case. It shows that area law enforcement and the Office of Inspector General are committed in preventing and detecting fraud, waste, and abuse whenever and wherever it happens,” said Tom Howard, Amtrak Inspector General.

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PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE ISSUES STATEMENT ON THE RESIGNATION OF R. SETH WILLIAMS AS PHILADELPHIA’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY

June 29, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (June 29, 2017) – Kathleen Martin, First Assistant for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO) today released the following statement on the resignation of R. Seth Williams as Philadelphia’s District Attorney:

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office embodies the phrase that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The Assistant District Attorneys and professional staff of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office are among the finest in the country. Throughout this unfortunate period they continued to display the diligence, fortitude, and integrity that has historically been a hallmark of the Office. I could not be more proud of how my hardworking colleagues have conducted themselves in light of the investigation and prosecution of Mr. Williams, and now with the conclusion of this case, Philadelphians should know that their District Attorney’s Office continues the pursuit of justice and the hope for a safer city endures.

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HOTLINE OPEN TO RECEIVE REPORTS OF PAYMENTS FOR SERVICES BY THE PHILADELPHIA VETERANS ADVISORY COMMISSION

June 1, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (June 1, 2017) – The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO) today released the following statement announcing the creation of a hotline so citizens can report any requests of payment for services by the Philadelphia Veterans Advisory Commission:

As of a result of citizen inquiries, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is asking anyone who paid a fee to receive any type of service from the Philadelphia Veteran’s Advisory Commission to contact the Office’s consumer hotline at 215-686-9641. Examples of fees could include; but are not limited to; legal, housing, or disability fees.

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HOTLINE OPEN TO RECEIVE REPORTS OF PAYMENTS FOR SERVICES BY THE PHILADELPHIA VETERANS ADVISORY COMMISSION

June 1, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (June 1, 2017) – The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO) today released the following statement announcing the creation of a hotline so citizens can report any requests of payment for services by the Philadelphia Veterans Advisory Commission:

As of a result of citizen inquiries, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is asking anyone who paid a fee to receive any type of service from the Philadelphia Veteran’s Advisory Commission to contact the Office’s consumer hotline at 215-686-9641. Examples of fees could include; but are not limited to; legal, housing, or disability fees.

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STATEMENT ON VACATING THE CONVICTION OF SHARUN THOMAS

May 23, 2017

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office today issued the following statment on vacating the conviction of Shaurn Thomas from Kathleen E. Martin, First Assistant District Attorney:

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is proud to have a conviction review unit that meets or exceeds all national protocols. I am grateful for the hard work and dedication of BJ Graham-Rubin, Andrew Wellbrock and Jill Roth who are tirelessly reviewing all case that have been submitted. Our role is to seek justice at every opportunity and whether it be prosecuting violent criminals or reviewing cases to ensure those behind bars deserve to be there, we will carry out this duty fairly and thoroughly. As you know, we have agreed to vacate the conviction of Mr. Thomas and recommend his immediate pretrial release. We will continue to review this case and make a decision regarding retrial in the very near future.

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ON PRIMARY DAY ELECTION FRAUD TASK FORCE WILL BE READY FOR VOTERS

May 10, 2017

Hotline will take calls at 215-686-9641, 9643, or 9644

PHILADELPHIA (May 10, 2017) – Once the polls open on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, Philadelphians can call the Election Fraud Task Force at 215-686-9641, 9643, or 9644 if they see or experience fraud at the polls. The Task Force will have 57 Assistant District Attorneys (ADA) and specially assigned detectives available to address any Primary Election Day concerns.

“As in past elections, we will have ADAs deployed throughout the city before the polls open and Task Force members stationed in Philadelphia’s Central Election Court to respond to any Primary Election Day concerns,” said Kathleen Martin, First Assistant District Attorney.

The Election Fraud Task Force will coordinate its efforts with the City Commissioners and Philadelphia’s Central Election Court to respond to any election-related concerns. As always, if the need arises, the Task Force can enlist additional ADAs on Primary Election Day to respond to emerging issues. Typically, the Task Force is asked to respond to allegations of illegal voting, candidate write-in issues, refusal of election boards to recognize poll watcher certificates, intimidation, illegal electioneering, and illegal voting assistance.

In March, the Election Fraud Task Force launched an investigation into the 197th Legislative District Special Election. That investigation, which is being conducted in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, is still ongoing.

The Election Fraud Task Force was created in 2014 to investigate and prosecute allegations of Election Day criminal activity. The Task Force continues to be part of the District Attorney’s Special Investigations Unit and is staffed by ADAs and detectives. The office will be issuing Primary Election updates via its Twitter account while the polls are open.

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PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE CONCLUDES AMTRAK INVESTIGATION

May 9, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (May 9, 2017) – The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office today released the following statement announcing the conclusion of its investigation into the May 12, 2015, Amtrak derailment:

The District Attorney’s Office has completed its investigation into the Amtrak derailment at the Frankford Junction on May 12, 2015, in which eight people were killed and two hundred others were injured, many seriously. We extend our sympathy to the families of those who lost their lives and everyone who was affected by this tragedy.

Two senior members of the Homicide Unit worked closely with Philadelphia Police and Amtrak officials, including experienced train engineers. Both Assistant District Attorneys (ADA) consulted with officials of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and thoroughly reviewed the NTSB report. They rode in the cab of a train along the route leading to the scene of the derailment. The team reviewed the audio tapes of what the engineer said and heard before the derailment, and reviewed the engineer’s cell phone, cell phone records, and cell site data. Finally, the two senior Homicide ADAs consulted with experts in train operation.

The evidence indicates that the derailment was caused by the engineer operating the train far in excess of the speed limit.

However, we cannot conclude that the evidence rises to the high level necessary to charge the engineer or anyone else with a criminal offense. We have no evidence that the engineer acted with criminal “intent” or criminal “knowledge” within the special meaning of those terms under Pennsylvania law for purposes of criminal charges. Nor do we believe there is sufficient evidence to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, criminal recklessness, which would be the only other basis for criminal liability. Pennsylvania law specially states that one acts with criminal recklessness when a person “consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk.” Based on the available information, we do not have evidence sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the engineer “consciously” disregarded the risk. We applied the law to the facts and reached this conclusion, which is specific to the criminal context. We of course offer no view on potential liability in other legal proceedings arising out of this incident.

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PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE CHARGES OFF-DUTY OFFICER SOTO AND ANNOUNCES GUILTY PLEA BY FORMER DETECTIVE DOVE

April 26, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (April 26, 2017) – The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office today released the following statements on the charging of Off-Duty Philadelphia Police Officer Adam Soto and the guilty plea to all charges by Former Detective Ronald Dove:

Commonwealth v. Adam Soto

“After a comprehensive investigation, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has charged Officer Adam Soto in the death of Daniel Dimitri,” said Kathleen Martin, First Assistant District Attorney. “This is a particularly egregious act, not only because it took place mid-morning on a well-traveled intersection, but because Officer Soto, who once took an oath to serve and protect, is charged with literally running down and killing one of his fellow citizens.”

Background: On January 31, 2017, the defendant, while off-duty, struck and killed 50 year old Daniel Dimitri as he attempted to cross Cottman and Algon Aves. Soto was driving over 80 miles per hour, and has been charged with Homicide by Vehicle (3rd Degree Felony) and Involuntary Manslaughter (1st Degree Misdemeanor).

Commonwealth v. Ronald Dove

“Former Det. Ronald Dove’s guilty plea to several felony and misdemeanor charges today sends a clear message that if you are a police officer and you break the law, you will be investigated and prosecuted for your crimes,” said Kathleen Martin, First Assistant District Attorney.

Background: Today, Former Det. Ronald Dove plead guilty to six charges: Hindering Apprehension (3rd Degree Felony), Conspiracy to Hinder Apprehension (3rd Degree Felony), Flight to Avoid Apprehension (3rd Degree Felony), Obstruction of Administration of Law (2nd Degree Misdemeanor), Unsworn Falsification (2nd Degree Misdemeanor), and Tampering with Evidence (2nd Degree Misdemeanor). He pled guilty to conduct that included taking his girlfriend to Rochester, New York; removing potential evidence; and lying to investigators. Judge Carolyn H. Nichols sentenced him to 30 days to 23 months in prison, followed by three years of probation.

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