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Jailed lawyer is out on bail

D. Scott Perrine is accused of carrying cocaine into the jail where a client was held.

D. Scott Perrine, a former Philadelphia prosecutor charged with having a vial of cocaine in his briefcase during a 2007 jailhouse visit with a client, was released yesterday on $10,000 bail.

Perrine had been held since late last month at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility after he missed two hearings and was the object of a wild chase at his Center City home as he tried to evade police.

His arrest has attracted attention because he is the defense attorney in a high-profile case, representing one of three shooting suspects whose beating by police in May was caught by a Fox29 helicopter camera.

Common Pleas Court Judge Joan Brown set a trial date of March 16 for Perrine.

At a hearing on Dec. 3, Brown ordered a psychiatric exam and a drug evaluation.

The drug evaluation recommended that Perrine receive outpatient treatment.

But the psychiatric exam has not been performed, and in releasing Brown, Perrine ordered one done immediately.

Brown also placed Perrine under house arrest until his trial on the drug charges.

E. Marc Costanzo, an assistant state attorney general handling the prosecution, objected, saying, "The system didn't do what she told it to do."

Costanzo said Perrine should be released only if warranted by the mental-health and drug evaluations and not just because of the holidays. "This should be based on facts," Costanzo said, "and not based on 'Jingle Bells.' "

The Attorney General's Office is prosecuting the case because of a potential conflict of interest with the District Attorney's Office. Perrine was an assistant district attorney until 2005.

A former colleague from the District Attorney's Office, Kevin Mincey, has been appointed by the court to represent Perrine, who testified that he did not have money to pay for a private attorney. He dropped his previous attorney, Brian E. Quinn.

At his courtroom appearance this month, Perrine was agitated, claiming to be suffering from depression as he strenuously tried to argue for release.

Mincey said his client now was much more "clearheaded" and "eager to see this come to a resolution."

Perrine was arrested on Oct. 24, 2007, having allegedly brought cocaine into Curran-Fromhold. He said that another client's mother had given him the small vial of cocaine and that he had forgotten that it was in his briefcase.

Perrine failed to appear at two hearings last month, and Brown issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

After he was apprehended on Nov. 28, Perrine ended up at Curran-Fromhold - the same jail as his client Pete Hopkins, 20, who was arrested after the two-mile police chase that was caught on tape.