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Monday, June 14, 2010

More developments in Philly's struggle with witness intimidation

An interesting story over the weekend in the Philadelphia Inquirer on increased protections for witnesses in light of Philadelphia's witness intimidation crisis. The city is ramping up prosecutions against intimidators, monitoring courtrooms more closely, and looking for more resources to protect witnesses. These are all important developments. See earlier post on pending federal legislation. The City Council is also considering a bill to impose fines of $2000 on intimidators--perhaps more a symbolic step than anything else. As I've written elsewhere, residents in high crime neighborhoods need to feel protected by the police, not only in connection with specific cases in which they might be witnesses but more generally. Philadelphia renewed commitment to witness protection could be a good first step in this direction.