An Appeal documentary on life without the possibility of parole—and its impact on loved ones—in the state.
Joshua Vaughn Feb 13, 2020
A review of charging dockets in Lebanon County shows Ashley Menser was the only person charged with felony retail theft in 2018 to receive a 7-year maximum sentence.
Joshua Vaughn Feb 10, 2020
In a lawsuit, the boy’s family said he was repeatedly suspended, secluded, and violently restrained before he was ever given a special education evaluation.
Roxanna Asgarian Feb 04, 2020
State Representative Todd Stephens has introduced a bill to impose a five-year minimum prison sentence for illegally possessing a firearm, but the governor, advocates, and others say it’s the wrong approach.
Joshua Vaughn Jan 23, 2020
Five Cases Could Significantly Reform Pennsylvania’s Sex Offense Registry. The State’s Attorney General Is Pushing Back.
Josh Shapiro has warned that changing the state’s sex offense registry requirements threatens public safety. But experts say his fears are unfounded and the registry provides little to no public safety benefit.
Joshua Vaughn Jan 07, 2020
What Does Death By Incarceration Look Like In Pennsylvania? These Elderly, Disabled Men Housed In A State Prison.
More than 5,400 people in the state are sentenced to life without parole. This month, The Appeal went inside one prison that helps provide end-of-life care for men.
Joshua Vaughn Nov 20, 2019
Research shows access to a trauma center is critical after a shooting. But as gun deaths are rising in Philly, one trauma center has closed. Experts say a rise in homicides may prompt more policing.
Joshua Vaughn Nov 12, 2019
The state is one of eight that allow cops to arraign people on misdemeanor charges. Advocates and academics say the practice is unjust.
After more than two decades, Terrance Lewis was exonerated and released from prison earlier this year. He is now an advocate for other innocent people caught up in the criminal legal system.
Joshua Vaughn Oct 09, 2019
The state’s narrow interpretation gives too much weight to voices that support a punitive criminal legal system, advocates say.
Joshua Vaughn Oct 04, 2019
This month, nine people received commutations from life sentences, and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is calling for changes to the commutations process to give more people second chances.
Joshua Vaughn Sep 27, 2019
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala has gotten into the surveillance game, but advocates say that raises questions about his role.
Kira Lerner Sep 20, 2019
In 2017, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala prosecuted more than 1,700 low-level drug possession cases. More than $2 million in court-imposed debt was levied on people who were charged in these cases.
Joshua Vaughn Sep 18, 2019
A Pittsburgh public radio piece lacked critical reporting about the many problems with jailing children in adult facilities.
Adam H. Johnson Sep 13, 2019
Thousands Are Serving Life Without Parole Sentences in Pennsylvania. A Board Of Pardons Hearing Might Begin To Change That.
People seeking commutations from life sentences encounter a steep hurdle in the state’s board of pardons. The board will convene on Sept. 13 to review more than 20 cases.
Joshua Vaughn Sep 11, 2019
The decline under DA Larry Krasner, who took office in 2018, marks a significant change in juvenile justice in Pennsylvania.
Joshua Vaughn Aug 30, 2019
In a civil rights lawsuit, an officer in Allentown claims he was subjected to racial discrimination before he was fired.
Joshua Vaughn Aug 29, 2019
Elsewhere in the country, lawsuits and legislation seek to protect people from predatory mugshot sites.
Katie Rose Quandt Aug 27, 2019
A federal prosecutor in Pennsylvania blamed DA Larry Krasner for a bloody standoff, but the suspect has a long relationship with the government that includes a sentence reduction because of his cooperation.
Joshua Vaughn Aug 21, 2019
In California, Texas and Florida, advocates sent letters to district attorneys, demanding that they refuse to work with officers with histories of misconduct.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Jul 29, 2019
Lawmakers say Republicans used deceptive tactics to pass the controversial bill. The legislative record tells a different story.
Joshua Vaughn Jul 25, 2019
A Shippensburg man faces 15 years on the sex offense registry for offering a girl a ride.
Joshua Vaughn Jul 17, 2019
Larry Krasner says the punishment is ‘really about poverty’ and race.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Jul 15, 2019
A new DA in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, is treating the overdose crisis as a criminal matter rather than a community health issue.
Joshua Vaughn Jul 10, 2019
Despite accounting for less than 12 percent of the state’s adult population, roughly 40 percent of all bail bonds were issued in cases involving a Black defendant.
Joshua Vaughn May 22, 2019
In a case of mistaken identity, Jada Noone was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police, spent 15 days in jail and faced a felony drug case before charges were dismissed. She’s now suing over her false arrest.
Joshua Vaughn May 07, 2019
Their claims are part of a federal lawsuit; other women say they, too, were assaulted and the officer now faces a raft of criminal charges.
Joshua Vaughn Mar 19, 2019
Under Pennsylvania’s drug delivery resulting in death statute, a man faces up to 40 years in prison for sharing heroin with a woman who overdosed.
Joshua Vaughn Jan 15, 2019
Darius Jacob Taylor wasn’t in the state when a robbery he was allegedly involved with ended in murder. But because of the felony murder rule, he’s charged with criminal homicide and faces life imprisonment.
Joshua Vaughn Dec 13, 2018
In 2016 and 2017, more than 80 percent of children charged as adults by the Allegheny County district attorney were Black.
Joshua Vaughn Nov 27, 2018
The city’s experiment with civil asset forfeiture was supposed to end, but the practices of its parking agency and some in state law enforcement suggest that police may be turning to other forms of property confiscation.
Ryan Briggs Nov 14, 2018
In Allegheny County, People Arrested With Cell Phones Can Be Charged With ‘Possessing Instruments of Crime’
Advocates say these charges endanger sex workers and urge the police to stop using them.
Melissa Gira Grant Oct 31, 2018
After Pittsburgh Decriminalizes Pot, Black People Are Still Disproportionately Charged With Possession
About 51 percent of the people charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana in Allegheny County are Black.
Joshua Vaughn Oct 03, 2018
Since 2015, police in Adams County have taken dozens of reports of rape, yet charges were filed in just two cases.
Joshua Vaughn Sep 25, 2018
The company is being paid $4 million a year to open and scan prisoners’ mail into a searchable database.
Raven Rakia Sep 24, 2018
The state’s “theft of leased property” statute allows prosecutors to seek felony charges for Pennsylvanians who miss payments on rental items.
Joshua Vaughn Sep 05, 2018
The ‘plea fee’ stems from a state law passed in the 1980s and can cost nearly $200, depending on the county.
Joshua Vaughn Aug 29, 2018
Instead of changing its conditions and practices, The Bureau of Prisons is simply moving a problem-plagued federal prison unit in Pennsylvania to Illinois.
Victoria Law Aug 21, 2018
A bill introduced in the state would require all chronic pain patients to enter into an agreement with their doctor before being prescribed opioid medication for the first time.
Joshua Vaughn Aug 17, 2018
In one Pennsylvania county, more than three times as many people on the registry were charged in 2016 with failing to follow registry requirements than were charged with a new sexual offense
Joshua Vaughn Aug 01, 2018
York County resident Aaron Hinds overdosed on heroin with a friend. The friend died, and Hinds now faces a 'drug delivery resulting in death' charge and a 40-year prison sentence.
Joshua Vaughn Jul 24, 2018
In overdose-wracked Franklin County, Pennsylvania, a small-time dealer is denied bail, while the number of drug induced homicide cases has skyrocketed.
Joshua Vaughn Jul 09, 2018