Justice: Delayed, Dismissed, Denied | Philadelphia Inquirer | 12/13/2009In America's most violent big city, people accused of serious crimes are escaping conviction with stunning regularity, an Inquirer investigation has found.
Philadelphia defendants walk free on all charges in nearly two-thirds of violent-crime cases. Among large urban counties, Philadelphia has the nation's lowest felony-conviction rate.
Only one in 10 people charged with gun assaults is convicted of that charge, the newspaper found.
Only two in 10 accused armed robbers are found guilty of armed robbery.
Only one in four accused rapists is found guilty of rape.
The data also show that people charged with assaults with a gun escape conviction more often than those who use fists or knives. Of people arrested for possession of illegal handguns, almost half go free.
Lynne Abraham has been our DA for 18 years and the Inky releases this a month before she voluntarily leaves office? If anything they should have at least timed this to release during the actual election to influence discussion amongst the candidates and solutions.
A lot of this isn't even breaking news (even though it is overwhelming when put all together). I spoke out about a lot of the prosecution problems in 2008 during the Congressional campaign (the proposed solution was to send more gun crime cases to the federal courts and prosecutors where they won't be as lenient as our local system).
It also shows that a good chunk of Philadelphia's crime problem is from "not being tough enough" on the real dangers to society.