Sharif Street, Jr. Charged with Simple Assault in Philadelphia at Parker Mayoral Inauguration – What are his defenses and why a criminal diversion program (ARD) is unlikely given his criminal record.
What happened in this case?
Recently, the son of Pennsylvania State Senator, Sharif Street, and the grandson of former Philadelphia Mayor, John Street, was charged in Philadelphia with Simple Assault and Disorderly Conduct. This is not his first arrest within the Commonwealth.
These allegations derived from an incident that occurred at the Inauguration of Philadelphia’s new Mayor Cherrel Parker who ironically made public safety and crime a key point in her inaugural address. According to reports, Street punched a security guard in the face and struggled with police officers who arrested him outside the event.
He was not, however, charged with resisting arrest or aggravated assault of a police officer but there is nothing to stop the district attorney’s office from amending the case and adding additional charges. Despite Street’s family apparent contacts in the city and state government, it is important to understand that District Attorney Larry Krasner is also an elected official.
Krasner just won reelection easily and does not need the support of any local politicos to keep his position. While Street’s family has connection, Street employment status and level of political activity is unknown
What mistakes has Sharif Street already made regarding his defense?
Street and his father, a State Senator and a lawyer, have already made mistakes in this case by making statements regarding what occurred. Making a statement to police is a bad idea but making a statement to news outlets is even worse! It appears that Street has no criminal defense lawyer but he will likely retain one in the near future.
Street indicated in his statement that he “blacked out” when a guard attempted to stop his grandfather and former Mayor John Street from entering the Inauguration Hall. Street allegedly punched the security guard who was simply doing his job. There is nothing to indicate a strong defense of others defense here. While other former politicians have commented that the security should have not stopped the former mayor from entering, again, this is not a legal defense for Street.
What is Simple Assault in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, a person can commit the crime of simple assault (Title 18, Section 2701) if he attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injuries to another person or negligently causes bodily injury from another person with a deadly weapon.
A person also commits simple assault in our Commonwealth if he puts another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. Simple assault is graded as a misdemeanor of the second degree unless it is committed during a fight or “mutual scuffle” then it’s a misdemeanor of the third degree.
What are Sharif’s Street Defense Option – Is he eligible for criminal diversion like ARD? What type of sentence could he receive if he was convicted to pled guilty
This is not Street’s first criminal case and he has prior a conviction for disorderly conduct in Montgomery County and was admitted to the Philadelphia’s summary diversion program for another case last year! In addition to this new case, he is likely in violation of the terms of that diversion program as well. While Street could technically still qualify for a diversion program such as the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition Program (ARD), district attorney offices across the Commonwealth won’t agree to diversion if a defendant has prior criminal history. He will therefore not likely qualify for ARD nor will the prosecution likely offer it in this case!
If he does not qualify for a diversion program, Street will have to proceed to trial or enter a plea agreement. If he was convicted or entered plea, a judge would probably sentence him to a period of probation. While that statutory maximum for simple assault is state prison, the sentencing guidelines would call for a probation sentence but county jail is still a possibility.
What is Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition Program (ARD).
Obviously, however, not all criminal cases go to trial and non-trial alternatives are sometimes a good way to proceed for a person charged with a crime and concerned about how it will affect future job opportunities or other goals. There are a number of non-trial alternative diversion programs in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and one of the most common is the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition Program (ARD).
The ARD program is reserved for first time offenders charged with minor offenses. Like other diversion programs, acceptance into the ARD program isn’t a guarantee but at the discretion of the district attorney’s office.
A person who seeks entry into the ARD program must waive their right to a speedy trial under Rule 600. The benefits of the ARD program include the expungement of an arrest and criminal record. Non-DUI ARD defendants may have to complete a program like anger management if the arrest involved some type of minor crime involving the use of force or a threat (terroristic threats, simple assault). In addition to the conditions of ARD, a person in the program is on probation for a period from 6 months but not more than 2 years. The length of that probation is based on the nature of the crime and the charges.
If a person fails to complete any of the conditions or is arrested while on probation, the DA’s office can consider it a violation of the ARD program and have the person removed from it. If this were to happen, the defendant’s case would proceed to trial, where obviously the person would maintain all their rights, including the most important—the presumption of innocence.
The most common reasons why a person doesn’t complete ARD are as follows:
Arrested for another crime
Failure to make required restitution payments
Failure to complete mandated classes
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