Court Initiatives Focus On Witness Intimidation, Victim Convenience

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A group of criminal justice system officials, focusing on Philadelphia, has announced two new initiatives: a best-practices guide book for judges to deal with the pervasive problem of victim-witness threats and intimidation, and a court rule change that will spare victims from coming to court to state the obvious.

District Attorney Seth Williams says the new rule will spare victims of property crimes from coming to court to attest to ownership and non-permission at the preliminary hearing stage. They would still have to testify at trial.

“If the person is just going to say, look, it’s my house, pookie or man-man, whoever, did not have my permission to be there. That’s what this does. There are so many witnesses who come to court over and over and over. They lose a day’s salary. They come in as very willing participants and leave as frustrated and bitter people,” Williams says.

Beyond convenience, authorities say this should also reduce the incidents of witness intimidation during the often plodding judicial process.

Reported by Tony Hanson, KYW Newsradio

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  • Tyrone Pullins

    I’m a sole witness in a case where i caught a setting his truck on fire at a apartment complex in NE Philadelphia , The DA’s office has done nothing to investigate the facts, they has not come to my building to ask questions, Nor meet with me to hear the facts, I even offered to come in and to take a polygraph test to prove what im saying is true but every now and then some of the tennants who step up and say something , but the reality is that if it was a cop, or a judge ,or someone of importance the DA Office would have this whole block that i live on questioning everyone, and they don’t even have the time even to interview me ( The only witness who would stand up ) , And my thing is that 19 tennants that could have lost their lives or got maimed by fire or just the fact that we could have lost our home is JUST AS IMPORTANT as a cop or judge, so as far as witness intimidation , it swings both ways, The courts threatens a witness with jail time if they don’t show up for court, just as the friends or families of the defendant doing the same thing……..

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