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The state representative will almost certainly be the city’s first Black mayor, and his victory follows a year of nationwide social upheaval over police and racial justice issues.
May 18, 2021
A disproportionate number of Black residents have left the city, and advocates say the next mayor needs to ensure greater access to housing.
May 07, 2021
Incumbent Bill Peduto’s policing record is under scrutiny after protests last summer. He is facing what may be his most competitive race yet.
Apr 27, 2021
Philadelphia’s top prosecutor has made good on promises to reduce incarceration in the city. His re-election bid will be a litmus test for the progressive prosecutor movement he helped start.
Mar 22, 2021
Community members and advocates question why Mayor Jim Kenney and the City Council continue to fund the police department at record levels, despite the department’s low murder solve rate.
Mar 01, 2021
At the urging of advocates, Governor Tom Wolf signed off on all remaining commutations applications on his desk.
Feb 12, 2021
The Board of Pardons unanimously recommended Bruce Norris for a commutation in December, but Tom Wolf had yet to approve it.
Feb 01, 2021
The New York governor has released a plan to legalize marijuana, months after voters in the Garden State approved legalization in November. Advocates say the pressure could have ripple effects regionally.
Jan 26, 2021
Pennsylvania’s prisons have the second-highest number of people in the country serving life without the possibility of parole. Nine people who were released after being sentenced to die behind bars share their stories.
Dec 07, 2020
Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman has jumpstarted the state’s pardons process, while Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s self-styled progressivism isn’t winning over advocates.
Nov 24, 2020
The state representative wants to bar landlords in Pennsylvania from reporting missed or late rent payments to credit agencies.
Oct 13, 2020
An investigation by The Appeal and Spotlight PA found that troopers in three counties have taken big money from drivers, many of whom were never charged.
Joseph Darius Jaafari, Joshua Vaughn
Oct 01, 2020
Through a series of maneuvers, state legislators narrowed the ambitious scope of Senate Bill 14.
Sep 16, 2020
Documents obtained by The Appeal raise questions about a Pittsburgh-area mass shooting case that fell apart due to prosecutorial misconduct.
The review follows an investigation by The Appeal and Spotlight PA, which found that troopers were using minor traffic stops to illegally detain and search motorists along highways.
Sep 03, 2020
A review of five years of cases that arose from traffic stops in the south-central region of the state shows that police used underhand tactics to justify holding and searching drivers illegally.
Joseph Darius Jaafari, Joshua Vaughn
Aug 31, 2020
Tom Wolf said Tuesday that legalizing and taxing recreational use of marijuana could help solve fiscal woes that arose from the pandemic, and address long-standing racial injustices.
Aug 26, 2020
The state Board of Pardons recommended last year that hundreds of people’s criminal records be cleared. Months later, more than half are still waiting for Tom Wolf’s signature.
Aug 17, 2020
Although the agency has vacant properties, public housing has been out of reach for nearly a decade for many who need it.
Aug 06, 2020
State law requires all murder charges be automatically filed in adult court, regardless of age.
Jul 20, 2020
Advocates say the pandemic has exacerbated the overdose crisis in the state by forcing people into isolation and impeding access to treatment.
Jul 06, 2020
The two men have been awaiting Tom Wolf’s signature for more than six months.
Jul 01, 2020
The city’s clearance rate for murder, whose victims are disproportionately Black, has hovered around 40 percent for the last several years.
Jun 25, 2020
James ‘Bumpy’ Bennett, who had twice survived cancer, was 71 and had served 48 years of his life without parole sentence.
Robert Saleem Holbrook
Jun 11, 2020
Democrats have introduced and reintroduced bills that have languished in the Judiciary Committee, which must approve them before they reach the full House.
Jun 08, 2020
Advocates had hoped Governor Tom Wolf would use his executive reprieve power to release thousands of people from prisons in the face of COVID-19.
May 29, 2020
Freddy Butler, Oliver Macklin, and Charles Goldblum are among the 17 people who received recommendations for commutations of life sentences in 2019, but Governor Tom Wolf has yet to sign off on their releases.
May 18, 2020
Jeremy Hix is serving 70 months in federal prison for a sex offense—a conviction that disqualifies him for a Bureau of Prisons home confinement program, despite a health condition that puts him at risk of the coronavirus.
May 14, 2020
An Erie County judge said the pregnant 20-year-old would be ‘safer’ in jail from the COVID-19 outbreak.
May 11, 2020
Incarcerated people like John Brookins, who is serving life without the possibility of parole, will have to wait until June or later for a chance at clemency.
May 07, 2020
A woman detained by ICE was sick with COVID-19 for days before being removed from a 50-person jail dorm in York County, Pennsylvania, according to women housed with her.
Apr 27, 2020
The Pennsylvania Innocence Project was seeking the exoneration of Rudolph Sutton when he died on April 8 from complications related to COVID-19.
Apr 15, 2020
Tom Wolf said Friday he will use his reprieve power, a form of clemency, to reduce the state prison population.
Apr 10, 2020
The city’s DA’s office and its public defender association urged judges to adopt video meetings to speed the release of incarcerated people. But emails obtained by The Appeal show that judges took a much more limited approach to decarceration.
Sharon Fahy, whose daughter was murdered in 1988, asked the court to release Walter Ogrod, the man convicted in her killing.
Apr 09, 2020
They tell Tom Wolf that taking any unilateral actions to reduce the state’s prison population would endanger public safety.
The emergency program seeks to release a select group of prisoners but does not go far enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in prisons, experts and Democratic lawmakers say.
Apr 05, 2020
The Office of General Counsel determined that the governor could likely use reprieves to release vulnerable people from prison to control COVID-19’s spread, but the office is advising against it, according to internal emails obtained by The Appeal.
Mar 31, 2020
Advocates have called on Governor Tom Wolf and state Department of Corrections officials to release elderly and infirm people from state prisons. But the law is limiting how quickly they can move.
Mar 23, 2020
Prosecutors say Walter Ogrod is ‘likely innocent’ of the charges that sent him to prison in 1996. Now, his attorney says, ‘every day a decision and/or hearing is delayed is another day that Mr. Ogrod’s health is at grave risk.’
Mar 20, 2020
In Northampton County, advocates say the practice is putting the people charged for minor offenses, and the broader community, in danger.
Mar 19, 2020
As COVID-19 spreads, ICE detained a Central American immigrant in a hospital, causing confusion and raising concerns.
Mar 18, 2020
Montgomery County Chief Public Defender Dean Beer and Deputy Chief Keisha Hudson were fired last month after filing an amicus brief critical of the county’s bail setting practices.
Mar 06, 2020
An Appeal documentary on life without the possibility of parole—and its impact on loved ones—in the state.
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.
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.
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.
Jan 23, 2020
Jan 16, 2020
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.
Jan 07, 2020
Dec 10, 2019
Nov 27, 2019
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.
Nov 20, 2019
Nov 18, 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.
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.
Julia Rock, Harry August
Oct 10, 2019
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.
Oct 09, 2019
The state’s narrow interpretation gives too much weight to voices that support a punitive criminal legal system, advocates say.
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.
Sep 27, 2019
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala has gotten into the surveillance game, but advocates say that raises questions about his role.
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.
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
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.
Sep 11, 2019
Nearly 20 years ago, Biden urged prosecutors to wield the ‘crack house‘ statute against rave promoters. Now it’s being used to stamp out public health responses to the opioid crisis.
Zachary A. Siegel
The decline under DA Larry Krasner, who took office in 2018, marks a significant change in juvenile justice in Pennsylvania.
Aug 30, 2019
In a civil rights lawsuit, an officer in Allentown claims he was subjected to racial discrimination before he was fired.
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.
Aug 21, 2019
Recent legal victories have spurred counties and states to provide medication-assisted treatment to prisoners struggling with substance use.
Jul 31, 2019
In California, Texas and Florida, advocates sent letters to district attorneys, demanding that they refuse to work with officers with histories of misconduct.
Jul 29, 2019
Lawmakers say Republicans used deceptive tactics to pass the controversial bill. The legislative record tells a different story.
Jul 25, 2019
A Shippensburg man faces 15 years on the sex offense registry for offering a girl a ride.
Jul 17, 2019
Larry Krasner says the punishment is ‘really about poverty’ and race.
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.
Jul 10, 2019
Brandi Courtesis lost her job with the Gettysburg force after saying a colleague sexually harassed her. The accused, fired for another reason, may be back in uniform soon.
Jun 27, 2019
Heavy reliance on pretrial incarceration in Berks County subjects people to poor medical care and unsanitary and unsafe conditions.
Jun 14, 2019
The criminalization of poverty in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, has led to a staggering increase in incarcerated people, all at a huge cost for defendants and taxpayers alike.
Jun 06, 2019
In Pennsylvania, mothers are harshly penalized for leaving children unattended in vehicles, even for several minutes.
May 30, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dec 13, 2018
In 2016 and 2017, more than 80 percent of children charged as adults by the Allegheny County district attorney were Black.
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.
Nov 14, 2018
Advocates say these charges endanger sex workers and urge the police to stop using them.
Melissa Gira Grant
Oct 31, 2018
About 51 percent of the people charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana in Allegheny County are Black.
Oct 03, 2018
Since 2015, police in Adams County have taken dozens of reports of rape, yet charges were filed in just two cases.
Sep 25, 2018
The company is being paid $4 million a year to open and scan prisoners’ mail into a searchable database.
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.
Sep 05, 2018
The ‘plea fee’ stems from a state law passed in the 1980s and can cost nearly $200, depending on the county.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Jul 09, 2018
Advocates in Philadelphia say a new tool to assist judges in sentencing could perpetuate bias.
Jun 27, 2018
Maura Ewing, Matt Stroud
Feb 21, 2018
Aug 28, 2017