CLICK HERE TO REPORT LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRUPTION (Provide as much information as possible: full names, descriptions, dates, times, activity, witnesses, etc.)

Telephone: 347-632-9775

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ex-Police Inspector Guilty on Just 1 Count

Ex-police inspector Castro guilty on just 1 count
Philly.Com by Michael Hinkelman - April 21, 2011

Federal prosecutors were stunned at the split verdict against former Philadelphia Police Inspector Daniel Castro yesterday, but at least two jurors felt that the government went too far. Castro was convicted of lying to the FBI and acquitted of an extortion-related count, but the jury deadlocked on the eight remaining counts. U.S. District Chief Judge Harvey Bartle III declared a mistrial on the eight counts. "It was a setup," said one female juror, who asked not to be identified but said that she was from Bucks County and was a department-store manager. She said that jurors voted 10-2 for acquittal on the eight counts on which they hung. "I think it's a shame - I think they made a criminal out of somebody that wasn't a criminal," said Laura Anema, a mother from Palmer Township, in Northampton County, who works for a pharmaceutical company in New Jersey. Assistant U.S. Attorney Louis Lappen declined to comment on what jurors said, except to say he "respected" the jury's decision. Federal prosecutors must now decide whether to retry Castro on any of the eight counts, which included attempted extortion, honest-services fraud and related offenses. Patty Hartman, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney, said that a decision was unlikely this week. Defense attorney Brian McMonagle, who argued that Castro had been entrapped by an FBI informant, convicted drug dealer Rony Moshe, urged the feds not to retry Castro. "It's my prayer they will end this and let this man get on with the rest of his life," McMonagle said, adding: "I only hope they will step back for a moment and listen to the words of the citizens they placed on this jury." Lt. Ray Evers, speaking on behalf of Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, said: "The department respects the jury's decision, and we'll leave it to the U.S. Attorney's Office on how to proceed with the case." A police officer for 25 years, Castro, 47, was indicted in February on charges of scheming to shake down businessman Wilson Encarnacion for a $90,000 debt Encarnacion owed him in a 2006 real-estate deal that flopped. Much of the government's evidence in the case came from conversations between Moshe and Castro that were secretly recorded by Moshe at the behest of the FBI. Castro was convicted of lying to the FBI on Oct. 4, when he told agents that he had not received any payments from Encarnacion. By then, authorities said, he had already received $19,000 from Moshe, ostensibly collected from Encarnacion by a strong-arm collector who was really an undercover FBI agent. Under preliminary advisory sentencing guidelines, Castro likely faces a sentence of probation to six months in jail. Castro, who took the stand in his own defense, repeatedly jousted with Lappen during cross-examination, saying at several points: "You sent this man after me," referring to Moshe. After listening to his testimony, Anema said that she "felt sympathy" for Castro, who aspired to be police commissioner and is believed to be the highest-ranking police officer in at least two decades to face criminal charges. Castro is at least the eighth Philadelphia police officer since 2009 to have been found guilty of federal criminal charges. 215-854-2656

No comments: