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Lawyer: Jail Cell Search Of Wife Of West Philadelphia Abortion Doctor Illegal

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The defense lawyer representing the wife of the West Philadelphia abortion doctor in a high-profile murder case says the Philadelphia district attorney’s office illegally searched her jail cell, without a warrant.

After Judge Benjamin Lerner tied up loose ends this morning during what began as a routine scheduling hearing on future motions to quash evidence or sever various defendants in the case of Dr. Kermit Gosnell (see related story), the lawyer representing Pearl Gosnell told the judge the search was “improper and illegal.”

Defense lawyer Mike Medway says the DA’s office should have gone through a judge to get a search warrant. Instead, he says, they “waved a subpoena and rousted her cell” at the Riverside Correctional Facility, on State Road in Northeast Philadelphia.

Medway says during the “cell toss,” as he called it, they were looking for letters they believed Mrs. Gosnell had exchanged with her husband, the main defendant facing charges that he killed seven fetuses that were born alive and viable.

Assistant district Aattorney Joanne Pescatore defended the action, telling the court, “We had information and we acted on it.”  She did offer specifics and would not comment outside the courtroom because Judge Lerner had just imposed a gag order on courtroom participants.

In open court, Pescatore said the practice was “routinely done,” to which Lerner responded, “I’m at a loss for words.”

He recalls that a judge ruled the practice improper years ago.

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060

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  • Roger Podacter

    Prisoners have less rights under the 4th Amendment (as there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in a government-owned cell) so, if the corrections officials had a reason to suspect the presence of contraband or something of that nature, the search should be upheld. Maybe she was the block vintner.

  • Anonymous

    That’s one of the many problems of the prison system. Way back in the day, prisoners didn’t have the rights they have now. Now, they have more rights than the victims. Back then, they didn’t have cable tv and all the other LUXURIES that they have now. Now, they have LUXURIES that a lot of us don’t have because we can’t afford them, yet our tax dollars now pay for their LUXURIES. It all really, really SUCKS!! As for prisoner rights. They shouldn’t have any rights. The only rights they should have is to sit in a cell and think about the crime(s) they’ve commited and 3 squares a day (no dessert). And that’s not meant to be a joke either.

  • Carolyn

    I hope that Pearl and Kerrmit get exactly, what they deserve in HELL!!! The pits of hell coulnd’t be hot enough for them!!!

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