Taking a stand against gun violence in the courtroom

CeaseFirePA is building a network of activists to bring the voices of our communities into the courtroom. Concerned community members from across Philadelphia — and more recently, Pittsburgh and the surrounding area — have joined CeaseFirePA in court to observe sentencing hearings in illegal gun possession and trafficking cases.  When permitted by the judge, concerned community members testify about how they and their communities have been affected by gun violence.  When judges have direct testimony about the community impact of gun crimes, it gives them critical evidence to weigh when imposing a sentence.

Working with our partners in law enforcement, we’re ensuring that (1) community members have a voice in the courtroom; (2) judges know that we are counting on them to enforce the law; and (3) people who threaten our communities with illegal guns face serious consequences for their crimes.

Courtwatch is a way for you to be part of the solution to the plague of gun crime. We hope you will join us and take a stand against gun violence.

To learn more about the sentencing process, check out our Quick Guide to How PA Judges Impose Sentences. If you would like to become a Courtwatch volunteer, click here for a Volunteer Form and check out our Resources for Volunteers.

Current Courtwatch Reports

Sentence: 5-10 years incarceration

  • 10/5/2016
  • Commonwealth v. Tobin
  • Judge Charles Erlich
  • Philadelphia County
  • No Contest

“There are gun possession cases, then there are gun possession cases”

The final sentence was handed down to a defendant convicted of a Montgomery County gun show theft. more ›

Sentence: Parole, Community Service

  • 04/14/2016
  • Enter the name of the case in the format: PA V. Robert Russel
  • Judge Giovanni Campbell
  • Philadelphia County
  • Pled Guilty

“A defiance of authority”

On Thursday April 14, 2016 Kyle Greaves found himself in front of the honorable Judge Giovanni Campbell facing sentencing for crimes that exploited state reciprocity agreements and demonstrated a misguided desire to obtain firearms through any means necessary. On July 28th 2012, Mr. Greaves, along with an unnamed man engaged in a physical altercation with Jamal Douglas.  At one point, Mr. Douglas was thrown to the grown and was beaten.  Mr. Greaves was promptly arrested.  At that time, Mr. Greaves had a lawful… more ›

Sentence: 4-8 Years in Prison and 7 years Probation

  • 01/14/2016
  • Commonwealth of PA v. Rafael Ramos
  • Judge Diana Anhalt
  • Philadelphia County
  • Conviction

A case about brothers

[content_block id=160 slug=court-watch]"This is really a case about brothers,” ADA JT Tartikoff said on the afternoon of January 14th.  Tartikoff, an assistant district attorney with the gun violence task force, was speaking at the sentencing hearing for Rafael Ramos.   Rafael Ramos and his brother Daniel committed a series of crimes that demonstrates how illegal guns flow into the streets of Philadelphia.  Daniel Ramos had a clean record; his brother Rafael did not.  Rafael went to a gun store with his… more ›

Sentence: 15 Years Probation

  • 06/12/2015
  • Commonwealth of PA v. Snead
  • Honorable Donna Woelpper
  • Philadelphia County
  • Pled Guilty

“It was a Doozy!”

In the summer of 2013, David Snead ignored a stop sign at the corner of 10th and Brown.  His car, which displayed bullet holes, was pulled over two blocks away.  The officer on the scene, Officer Ferrero, noticed odd behavior from Mr. Snead.  This led to a vehicle search which revealed drugs, a scale, bags, and $1,500, as well as a Hi-Point 9mm semi-automatic handgun and a gym bag containing sixty-nine Winchester 9mm rounds.  At the time, of this incident… more ›

Sentence: 21-42 years of incarceration

  • 07/25/2014
  • PA vs. Thomas and Charles Shields
  • Judge Edward Wright
  • Philadelphia County
  • Guilty: Aggravated Assault; Conspiracy; Attempted Murder

Brothers Convicted for a “Vicious and Brutal” Shooting get 21-42 Years Behind Bars

On Thursday, July 25, 2014, the Shields brothers—Charles and Thomas--sat in a Philadelphia courtroom, each facing a maximum sentence of 60 years behind bars. Both brothers had multiple prior convictions for such crimes as straw purchasing, home invasion, witness intimidation, gun-point robbery, illegal gun possession, grand theft auto, and multiple drug charges. However, in this particular case, the brothers had outdone themselves. more ›

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