Philadelphia Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Have Turned their Backs on Fugitive Criminals Fleeing to New Jersey and Other Neighboring StatesA recent article issued by USA Today revealed a very controversial story following a meticulous investigation executed by their own workforce. As it turns out, nearly 200,000 fugitives all across the United States are using a new loophole within law enforcement and court room agendas, allowing them to cross state borders to avoid conviction and jail time. This means their crimes go unpunished, victims remain victims, and the public stays at risk.
This “loophole” is not part of any local ordinance or national law; instead, fugitives are taking advantage of the fact that prosecutors and law enforcement have taken a backseat when it comes to expediting criminals in another state. This situation is happening fast specifically in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania counties and neighboring states. Let’s discuss the Philadelphia fugitive crisis more in detail, instead of taking too much time focusing on all the fugitives that are crossing borders in almost every state of our country. We can illustrate those statistics and facts later on.
Fugitives are Escaping Simply By Crossing the Pennsylvania State Borders and Bridges
Authorities in Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia areas are basically refusing to take fugitives and wanted felons back once they leave the state. The recent investigation led by the team at USA Today exposed an astonishing statistic.
They revealed that nearly 95% of the fugitives wanted in Philadelphia, which includes a large portion of criminals accused of felony crimes (i.e. armed robbery, sexual assault, murder, etc.), have escaped their charges simply by crossing the Philadelphia Bridge to Camden County, New Jersey. Only three subway stops away from the courthouse in Philadelphia, authorities are still refusing to go after criminals and wanted felons in New Jersey. The question that everyone wants to know is, “why?”
Why are Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Not Extraditing on Criminal and Felony Warrants?
Everyone wants to know why this is happening in Philadelphia and all across the nation. There is a reason and there is an excuse. The excuse, handed down by Pennsylvanian prosecutors and law enforcement officials, blames restricted resources and the tedious process of expediting a criminal. When it comes to the real reason, it all boils down to basic negligence and vocational lethargy. Let’s talk about what this means; if a Pennsylvania or Philadelphia fugitive is in another jail in a different state, local law enforcement routinely refuses to go after them to bring them back to Pennsylvania and face the criminal charges and a court of law. This is because they don’t want to have to pay the cost of expediting a criminal across state borders, complete the mounds of paperwork associated with the case (which could take months), nor get the signatures of both states’ governors to complete the expedition process. Instead, Pennsylvanian police allow fugitives to get away with their crimes and flee to wherever they wish in the country. Although the paperwork may take a while, this is absolutely no excuse for neglecting public safety and justice. In most cases, it only cost a few hundred dollars to expedite a criminal across state borders; and getting a signature from two governors should never stop law enforcement or prosecutors from doing their jobs.
One example concerns a felon by the name of Thomas Terlecky, who has been a fugitive of Philadelphia for more than 17 years. He is wanted on charges of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl, but lives as a free man in the state of Florida. Within the 17 years of being a fugitive, Thomas has been arrested and detained in the Miami, Dade County jail more times than he can count. In fact, he was recently pulled over for a concealed license plate and arrested; however Pennsylvanian law enforcement requested that he be released only hours later because they were unwilling to get him and bring him back to a Philadelphia courtroom for trial.
This is all because they snub the idea of paying the expedition costs, completing the paperwork, and obtaining governor signatures. This lack of commitment to their promise as prosecutors and law enforcement is outraging the public, and even more so, the victims. What can we do about the situation?
The FBI retains a database that archives every fugitive’s case in the United States. The police and local law enforcement use these databases to retrieve suspects and fugitives with outstanding arrest warrants. These FBI databases show that nearly 200,000 felony suspects are not being pursued by their local law enforcement officials. Also, an additional 78,000 and more may or may not be extradited even from their neighboring states. Local governments simply don’t want to spend the time or money to go after these felons and criminals. They would rather wait to come across them in a routine traffic stop or another future arrest instead of going after them like the law says they should. Here are a few infuriating examples of fugitives that have been allowed to walk free as a result of police and prosecutor negligence:
Darrell Matthews – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Wanted for Hitting an Unmarked Police Car While Driving Drunk in 2001
Kevin Mena Carmona – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Wanted for Using a Knife and Cutting Someone in a Robbery in 2011
John Ross – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Wanted for Sexually Assaulting a 73 Year Old Stroke Victim in 2012
Collier County, Florida
Man Wanted for Slicing His Roommate’s Neck with a Machete
Newport News, Virginia
Man Wanted for Pulling a Gun on a Store Manager During a Robbery
Even the deputy district attorney of Philadelphia, Laurie Malone, agrees that law enforcement is not interested in these fugitives. They just don’t want them. She agrees that police have endless opportunities to retrieve these wanted felons and criminals, but blatantly declines on a regular basis. This is surely a sad story happening in the United States at this very moment. Let us all hope that local governments, law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and police change their minds about the expedition process in choose to do what’s right when it comes to justice and the law.