Philly Drops Charges Against 19,400 Fugitives

INQUIRER: In a sweeping move to lower Philadelphia’s staggering tally of 47,000 fugitives, top court officials have quietly dropped criminal charges against Sanchez and more than 19,000 other defendants who skipped court years ago. At the urging of Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille and District Attorney Seth Williams, Philadelphia judges closed criminal cases and canceled fugitive bench warrants for thousands of accused drug dealers, drunken drivers, thieves, prostitutes, sex offenders, burglars, and other suspects. The withdrawn cases date to 1998 and earlier. “They were clogging up the system,” said Castille, a former Philadelphia district attorney. “You’re never going to find these people. And if you do, are you going to prosecute them? The answer is no.” MORE

PHAWKER: Let us get this straight, legalizing marijuana would send the wrong message to kids but this doesn’t? And how is it possible that these people simply can’t be found yet the Inquirer can get them on the phone for comment?

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