Archive for the ‘Press Release’ Category

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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STAFF INSPECTOR MICHAEL P. CRAM APPOINTED AS ACTING CHIEF OF COUNTY DETECTIVES FOR THE PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE

April 10, 2017

Cram brings community, investigative, and more than 20 years of policing experience to the position

PHILADELPHIA (April 10, 2017) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today announced the appointment of Staff Inspector Michael P. Cram as the Acting Chief of County Detectives for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO).

Before joining the DAO, Cram was the Police Staff Inspector for the Audits and Inspection Division of the Philadelphia Police Department (March to April 2017), Police Captain for the 25th Philadelphia Police District (Feb. 2014 to March 2017), and Police Captain for the 26th Philadelphia Police District (March 2009 to Jan. 2014). While in these positions, Cram worked tirelessly to make the City of Philadelphia safer and improve the connection between the department and the community through social media and the creation new community groups and partnerships.

“Acting Chief Michael Cram, welcome to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, your years of leadership and community engagement, not to mention your military service, will be an enormous asset to the work we do each and every day here in the office,” said District Attorney R. Seth Williams. “I would also like to thank Philadelphia Police Commissioner Ross for allowing us to benefit from Inspector Cram’s leadership, and I applaud former Chief Detective Dr. Claude Thomas for his service. Dr. Thomas, it was a pleasure to work with you and I wish you all my best as you begin the next chapter in your professional career.”

Cram has a Master of Arts in Emergency and Disaster Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from the American Military University. He also has a Graduate Certificate of Achievement in Criminal Justice Education from the University of Virginia. Michael is a United States Army veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and is currently a Major in Temple University’s Reserve Officer Training Corps.

He has been recognized by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for his commitment of community orientated policing (2015) and by the Philadelphia City Council for community service (2011). He currently lives in the Bustleton section of the city with his family.

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FOUR PUBLIC SERVANTS HONORED BY THE PHILADELPHIA COALITION FOR VICTIM ADVOCACY FOR THEIR SERVICE TO CRIME VICTIMS AND WITNESSES

April 6, 2017

Annual luncheon celebrates awardees during National Crime Victim’s Rights Week

PHILADELPHIA (April 6, 2017) – In celebration of National Crime Victim’s Rights Week, the Philadelphia Coalition for Victim Advocacy (PCVA) today honored four public servants at their annual luncheon and award ceremony. All of the honorees work in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO).

“On behalf of the Philadelphia Coalition for Victim Advocacy and the District Attorney’s Office, congratulations to these four outstanding professionals for making such a difference in the lives of so many victims and witnesses of crime,” said John Delaney, Deputy of the Trial Division for the DAO. “It’s fitting that we honor these men and women during National Crime Victim’s Rights Week because, without their hard work and passion, we would not be able to make Philadelphia a safer place to live, work, and raise a family.”

The awards and awardees included:

  • Catherine Bachrach Victim Advocate Award – Amanda Bee, Victim Witness Coordinator, DAO Homicide Unit is being honored for making significant contributions to the lives of crime victims. As a liaison between the DAO and the Office of the Attorney General, Amanda has become a victims’ champion and works tirelessly to empower victims who are being relocated due to intimidation.
  • Barbara McPherson Award/Police Personnel Award – Officer Yusuf Jackson, DAO Police Officer is being celebrated for his role as a volunteer, youth advocate, and dedicated Officer. In addition to being assigned to the DAO, he is a volunteer presenter for the DAO’s Bridge to the Future Project, helping youth and preventing crime.
  • Lynne Abraham Prosecutor Award – Branwen McNabb, Assistant District Attorney, DAO Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit (FVSAU) began working in the Unit in 2008. Since then she has made a name for herself as an advocate for the victims and witnesses of crime by successfully prosecuting several high profile cases. Ms. McNabb prosecuted Leon Watson, a youth football coach, who sexually abused five of the boys between the ages of eight and eleven years old, as well as Sumo Dukulah, an elementary school teacher, who was convicted of sexually abusing his daughter over the course of eight years.
  • Volunteer Award – Robert “Bob” Cavanaugh has served the victims and witnesses of crime during and after his professional career. Bob, who had a lengthy career in law enforcement, is being honored for his more than 15 years of support for the DAO’s Juvenile Division and for making each victim feel special. When Bob is not volunteering with the DAO, he volunteers at the Breast Feeding Resource Center.

PCVA began in 1980 as the Philadelphia Crime and the Elderly Coalition and was changed to Philadelphia Coalition for Victim Advocacy in 1983 to reflect its changing service population.

The annual luncheon is held during National Crime Victim’s Rights Week to honor those who have made significant contributions in addressing or advocating for the needs of crime victims. The mission of PCVA is to promote the rights of crime victims through systematic advocacy, education, and collaboration.

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ELECTION FRAUD TASK FORCE OPENS INVESTIGATION INTO SPECIAL 197TH ELECTION

March 24, 2017

Task Force calls for submissions showing fraud

PHILADELPHIA (March 24, 2017) – The Election Fraud Task Force in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has launched an investigation into the Special Election in the 197th Legislative District. Philadelphians who have video, photographic, or eyewitness accounts of fraud at the polls should call 215-686-8724 or email the Task Force at justice@phila.gov.

“After each election, the Election Fraud Task Force reviews all of the calls that come into its hotline and reviews the reports and evidence collected in the field by the specially assigned Detectives and Assistant District Attorneys. We are continuing to review all of our evidence and encourage anyone who has information regarding voter fraud to contact the office,” said Kathleen E. Martin, First Assistant District Attorney. “Please send any video, photographic, or eyewitness accounts of fraud at the polls to justice@phila.gov or call the Task Force at 215-686-8724.”

On Election Day, the Task Force received approximately fifty calls to its hotline and responded to several dozen allegations of illegal activity at polling places across the 197th. Some of the issues the Task Force is investigating include the use and placement of candidate write-in stamps, electioneering inside the polling place, illegal voter assistance, and individuals writing on posted sample ballots.

In 2014, Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams created the Election Fraud Task Force 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.

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ELECTION FRAUD TASK FORCE READY FOR SPECIAL ELECTION IN THE 197TH

March 20, 2017

Hotline will take calls at 215-988-2399

PHILADELPHIA (March 20, 2017) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams reminds voters in the Pennsylvania’s 197th House District that the office’s Election Fraud Task Force is ready to respond to any problems that may arise at the polls. The Task Force’s hotline, staffed by Spanish speaking detectives and specially assigned Assistant District Attorneys (ADA), will be ready to help when the polls open at 7 a.m.

“Every election, no matter how small or large, citywide or just one district, is important. The Election Fraud Task Force will be ready on Tuesday,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “If you see voter fraud or a crime being committed, you should immediately call the Election Fraud Task Force so we can help ensure fairness at the polls.”

Philadelphians in the 197th PA House District can call the Election Fraud Task Force at 215-988-2399 if they see or experience problems during the special election. The Task Force will have Spanish-speaking detectives and ADAs deployed throughout the district’s seven wards.

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 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 and illegal electioneering.

In 2014, Williams created the Election Fraud Task Force 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 also issue Special Election updates via its Twitter account while the polls are open.

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