Pennsylvania Probation And Parole Board's Alleged Practice Of Depressing Recidivism Rates Cited In Court Filing On Behalf Of Family Of Slain Philadelphia Police Officer

Jan 07, 2013, 07:30 ET from SMBB

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Attorneys for the family of a slain police officer are asserting in a new Federal Court filing that numerous employees of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (PBPP) are expected to testify about the Board's alleged systematic practice of depressing recidivism rates, a practice that allegedly directly led to the cop's death at the hands of a career violent criminal who should have been behind bars at the time of the killing. Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, P.C. represents the Walker family.

Disclosure of named PBPP employees who, according to an attorney for one of the group, are expected to testify in the wrongful death case brought by the family of the late Philadelphia Ofc. Moses Walker, Jr, is contained in the plaintiff's detailed Memorandum of Law filed in response to Pennsylvania's motion to dismiss the Complaint. The State's Motion to Dismiss, filed by the outgoing Attorney General (she leaves office January 15), only relates to the defendants PBPP and its Chairman, Michael Potteiger. The AG is not defending the three now-fired PBPP employees named in the Walker Complaint. However, the AG has blocked efforts by Walker's attorneys to contact them, even to allow service of court papers.

Michael F. Barrett, Esq., of SMBB, is asking the Court to consider all of the facts and reject the State's claims, including that  Potteiger, who was named in the Complaint individually and in his official capacity, is immune from the litigation, and allow the case to proceed. In refuting the State's claim of immunity, Barrett states, "(Chairman) Michael C. Potteiger refused to re-arrest offending parolees, because he wanted to cultivate the illusion of reduced recidivism rates. Moses Walker paid for Potteiger's political machinations with his life."  Walker was killed by parolee Rafael Jones three days after Jones failed a drug test, which should have led to his immediate incarceration by the PBPP. At the time of the murder, Jones was also not being electronically monitored by the Board, another condition of his parole. Barrett notes that the City of Philadelphia has determined that Ofc. Walker was acting in his official capacity at the time he was murdered.

According to Barrett's filing, several current employees of the PBPP are expected to testify under oath that fired employees Jose Rodriguez, Rosa Hernandez, and Michelle Rivera, were "scapegoats" blamed for the failures of the Board and its Chairman that led to Walker's death.

Jones has confessed to killing Walker during an attempted holdup four blocks from the District where the officer worked. According to the Complaint (USDC, Eastern District, NO.12-6373), Jones would have been in custody at the time of the fatal shooting but for the "systematic breakdown" in the policies, procedures, and practices of the PBPP and those entrusted with their enforcement.

 

SOURCE SMBB