Judge Expunges Matthews’ Criminal Record; Grand Jury Documents Retained

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MONTGOMERY COUNTY COURTHOUSE — The criminal record of the former chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners was expunged Friday, with the exception of materials contained in a grand jury report that led to his arrest more than a year ago.

Court of Common Pleas Senior Judge William T. Nicholas granted the petition to expunge the misdemeanor charge of false swearing to a grand jury against James Matthews, who was arrested and resigned as board chairman in December 2011.

But the judge’s order included an amendment that information contained in the grand jury transcripts and exhibits leveled against Matthews — following an investigation into the Montgomery County commissioners two years ago — would not be expunged.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/government-and-politics/20131025/judge-expunges-matthews-criminal-record-grand-jury-documents-retained/1

Former Norristown Cop Sentenced To 17 Years In Drug Case

Location of Norristown in Montgomery County

Location of Norristown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MONTGOMERY COUNTY COURTHOUSE — A Montgomery County judge sentenced a retired Norristown police officer to 17 to 50 years behind bars Friday for selling methamphetamine and prescription pills and using his old police badge and license plate as clout to do it.

In July, a jury found Jack Pennington, 68, of Upper Merion, guilty of 16 out of 21 drug-related felonies stemming from a wiretap investigation spearheaded by Montgomery County Detectives and their Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET).

In June 2012, undercover operatives arrested Pennington at the Plymouth Meeting Mall as he was about to meet his supplier.

“His criminal conduct has had a significant negative impact on the community, and this type of criminal activity merits a significant sentence,” said Common Pleas Judge William R. Carpenter. “A lesser sentence would depreciate the seriousness of this kind of crime.”

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20131011/former-norristown-cop-sentenced-to-17-years-in-drug-case

Ex-Pottstown Merchant Convicted Of Selling K2

NORRISTOWN — A former Pottstown store operator is the first merchant in Montgomery County to be convicted at trial under a recently enacted law of distributing synthetic marijuana from a business.

Rafie L. Ali, 35, who previously lived in an apartment above the Achi Store he helped operate at 315 E. High Street between February and May 2012, appeared stone-faced Thursday as a county jury convicted him of charges of corrupt organizations, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia and conspiring with another man to commit those crimes.  The jury deliberated about 2½ hours before reaching its verdict.

The arrest and trial of Ali marked the first time that a store operator was charged in the county with selling synthetic marijuana, known as K2, under a state law that went into effect in August 2011 and criminalized such activity.

“After that law went into effect it was publicized heavily that synthetic cannabinoids are illegal.  In this case these individuals decided to get around that by hiding the K2 substances behind the counter and selling it.  It’s a matter of greed, trying to make money off of…a toxic substance,” said First Assistant District Attorney Kevin R. Steele.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130614/NEWS01/130619553/ex-pottstown-merchant-convicted-of-selling-k2#full_story

1 Pottstown Murder Suspect To Stand Trial, 1 Has Hearing Continued

LOWER POTTSGROVE TOWNSHIP — The two suspects in a late-night shooting outside a North Charlotte Street bar on March 22 were in court again on Friday morning and each of their cases moved closer to trial.

Maurice Andrews Jr., 19, of Pottstown, and Michael Hinton, 26, of Norristown, are charged with murder in the first-, second- and third-degree for the death of Victor Enrique Bonilla Baez, also known as Vincent Taylor.

Andrews appeared in District Judge Edward C. Kropp Sr.’s courtroom for the second time at 10 a.m. for his preliminary hearing, after it had been continued once.  The hearing was continued again and rescheduled for May 31 at 10 a.m. in the same courtroom.

At least 15 members of Andrews’ family and friends turned out for the hearing and were visibly frustrated when the hearing had been continued.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130517/NEWS01/130519334/1-pottstown-murder-suspect-to-stand-trial-1-has-hearing-continued#full_story

Pottstown Homeless Man Jailed After He Admits To Borough Arson

MONTGOMERY COUNTY COURTHOUSE — A onetime homeless man is now residing in a jail cell after he admitted to starting a fire inside a vacant Pottstown apartment that resulted in a response from Pottstown fire officials.

Brian Jay Staub, 38, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to 11 ½-to-23 months in the county jail after he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of arson endangering property in connection with the March fire at an apartment in the 400 block of Manatawny Street.

Judge William R. Carpenter, who accepted a plea agreement in the case, also ordered Staub to complete four years’ probation after he’s paroled from jail.  The judge also ordered Staub to complete any drug or alcohol treatment that might be recommended by probation officials.

Staub, who court records indicate once listed an address in the 300 block of Chestnut Street in Pottstown, also must pay $1,000 restitution to Spring Hill Realty Inc., of Harleysville, which owned the property.

Read more:  http://www.timesherald.com/article/20121217/NEWS03/121219567/pottstown-homeless-man-jailed-after-he-admits-to-borough-arson#full_story

Montgomery County Public Safety Department Provides Public Inquiry Lines

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NORRISTOWN, PA (COURTHOUSE) — As Hurricane Sandy bears down on Montgomery County, residents can turn to county public safety officials for information about the hurricane.

The Montgomery County Public Safety Department announced Monday morning that staffers are manning phone lines to answer residents’ questions about the storm. Residents with questions about what is happening in their area can call 610-631-9700.

John A. Corcoran, deputy director of external affairs for the Montgomery County Public Safety Department, stressed the phone lines are for general questions, not emergencies.

“They should call 911 if they have an emergency and call their utility if they have a power outage,” Corcoran explained.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/article/20121029/NEWS01/121029520/montgomery-county-public-safety-department-provides-public-inquiry-lines&pager=full_story