Scapegoats in the Philadelphia Building Collapse?

“I never intentionally hurt anyone in my life.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that comment as coming from the lips of Richard C. Basciano, the real estate mogul and one-time “porn king” of Times Square. Of course, this man’s company hired a discount demolition crew to tear down one of his decrepit buildings in downtown Philadelphia. We all know what happened next – a crane operator of the demo crew who was allegedly so high, he couldn’t perform his job duties, pulled a support beam from the structure and sent the entire four-story building tumbling down on a Salvation Army thrift store. Six people died. Multiple others sustained serious injuries.

Intent is a funny thing when it comes to criminal matters. The aim to do harm often weighs heavily in determining charges and their severity, and it can play an important role in a jury’s determination of guilt. However, in some cases, intent matters very little, because there was already criminal activity ongoing when death occurred. Perpetrators may not have intended for someone to die, but it happened anyway, and that incident can lead to a host of serious, death penalty worthy claims. Criminal defense lawyers usually get a ton of phone calls when these situations occur.

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Who’s Responsible for these Deaths?

Authorities have already charged the excavator operator, 43-year-old Sean Benschop, with the deaths of those six people who died in the building collapse. He surrendered to police last week and has invoked his right to remain silent. He has a lengthy criminal history, including two prison stints on drug-related charges during the ‘90s.

Benschop is the man allegedly responsible in the most direct manner for these deaths, but is he the only one to blame? Laying the entire incident at this man’s feet seems like a shortsighted stab at closure or swift justice for the community. The move does not bring closure; it brings more questions than answers. How can multi-millionaire decide to skimp on the safety of those in the community that reports indicate he had such an appreciation for? How difficult would it have been to splurge on the extra $25 to run, at the very least, a background check on the company hired to do the intricate work?

Scapegoats Don’t Heal Communities

A vigorous legal defense is necessary for Benschop to ensure he does not receive the lion’s share of rage delivered by a city that is justifiably in mourning. Every accused person has the presumption of innocence and this investigation is far from over. Let’s see how the evidence plays out in this manner, and who authorities determine may share in the culpability of this tragedy.

If you, or someone in your family, is facing criminal charges, you need aggressive legal representation to ensure you don’t lose your good name as well as your freedom. Our firm features former prosecutors and a former Senior Deputy District Attorney. We know the law, and how to attack criminal matters to achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients. If you’re in trouble, call us today for an immediate consultation with member of our legal team.

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