Unfortunately, this story ended pretty much the way everyone probably thought it would, and I guess I was being naive. I'm the witness that posted this originally. Here's what ended up happening. I received a call, maybe 3 months after this happened, at 10PM on a Wednesday night. I did not answer. They left a message. It was the Philadelphia DA's Office, confirming that I would be appearing in court the following morning at 9AM. The message also stated that I should have received a subpoena stating as much. Well I can assure you, I check my mail, and I did not receive a subpoena. Since I had to work the next day, I ignored the message. If I had been given proper notice, and was able to schedule off from work, I would have done so.
About another month later, I receive a nearly identical call, again not answered, and again asking me to come to court the following morning at 9AM. Against the advice of many friends, I once again ignored it. I wanted to help, but if they continue to give me less than 24 hours notice of a court appearance, this pattern will continue.
A month later, yet another voice mail from the DAs Office. This time the usual message was followed up with a threat, against ME! Saying that I should have received a subpoena, and that if I failed to appear in court, again the FOLLOWING MORNING, the judge could issue a bench warrant for my arrest, and the police could come to my door to arrest me. To say I was perturbed would be a huge understatement. So I returned the call. Explained to the Asst. DA that I had not received anything in the mail on the three separate occasions that I was supposed to have. She simply said, "Sorry.". So I managed to get off from the work the following day, and showed up at court just like I was supposed to. As I waited, I saw many, many cases heard in front of me. I would say that 90% of these "suspects" were getting let off because they're public defender cast a tiny microscopic sliver of doubt to the judge, and the judge agreed. Including my case. Apparently, because I could not describe every square inch of a suspect I had seen at night, six months ago, that meant he had to go free, which he did. After hearing me state my home address on the witness stand, no less.
Now I understand that in this country the burden of proof is on the prosecution, but trust me when I say that many guilty criminals walked out of that courtroom with huge smiles on their faces that day. I spoke to some of the Police Officers that were there to testify, and they gave me a sense of hopelessness. Apparently, what I saw that day in court is fairly normal, according to the officers.
I don't know if it was a liberal judge, or a great public defender. The Asst DA did a fairly good job I thought. But it was just never enough to convince the judge of guilt. I'm not posting this to trash anyone or any system. I hope that if this were to happen again, it would go down differently. Let me once again state that throughout this process, all of the Police Officers I met were exemplary. I know that's not always the case, but it was with me. If I had the point the finger in any direction, it would be at the courts. It was a very disheartening day for me.