Samantha Melamed writes about criminal and social justice.

Latest Stories

North Philly standoff’s alleged cop shooter, Maurice Hill, has a long criminal history

Public records show Philadelphia police shooting suspect Maurice Hill was charged a dozen with charges ranging from attempted murder to fleeing police. He was convicted six times.

Two schizophrenic men were jailed together on probation violations. Both are dead — and answers are scarce.

Stephen Klampfer was approved for release as soon as county officials could verify an address. That never happened. Instead, one person said, “He fell through the cracks,”

Incarcerated filmmakers tell their stories on Eastern State Penitentiary's walls

Called “Hidden Lives Illuminated,” the film series aims to confront museum visitors and neighbors with the lived experience of prisoners who come, mostly, from nearby communities, but whose voices are rarely heard.

A man was electrocuted on SEPTA tracks. Witnesses say Philly police Tasered him first.

Police did not confirm or deny whether a Taser was used before the 25-year-old's electrocution death.

81 years ago, 4 inmates were ‘baked’ to death in a Philly jail. This summer, 1,000 are still locked up without AC.

“That weekend of Aug. 20, 1938, was much like the weekend we just had here in Philly.”

In Philly courtroom where DA Krasner won’t try cases, he’s called to witness stand

The judge happened to be Scott DiClaudio, who has been at war with Krasner since April, when the District Attorney filed motions in all of DiClaudio’s cases, seeking to disqualify him.

4 lawsuits that could change the face of justice in Philadelphia

The latest: Philly Bail Watchers sue for the right to record in court.

Philly public defender suit seeks to blow up ‘unlawful’ probation detainers

“Probation violations drive Pennsylvania’s mass incarceration crisis,” the ACLU said. “Detainers lodged against those charged with, but not convicted of, probation violations hold thousands in pretrial status.”

Philly police Tased and beat fleeing suspect. Why weren’t their body cameras on?

“We’ve heard complaints regarding these officers for years regarding illegal search and seizure, physical abuse. They rarely turn their body cameras on when they’re supposed to and almost never turn them on the entire time.”

Pa. Supreme Court will probe alleged ‘systemic failure’ in Philadelphia bail practices

"The inquiry shall be limited to Petitioners’ allegations regarding systemic failures of the First Judicial District to properly conduct cash-bail matters pursuant to current law, as well as any suggestions for action by this Court in response to those alleged systemic failures."