Seattle Seahawk defensive end and former Philadelphia Eagle Raheem Brock has been convicted of a single count of theft in Philadelphia Municipal Court. He was found not guilty of resisting arrest. You may remember that police arrested Brock and his 25-year-old female companion Arleen Chollette on South Street in June after he left the Copabanana restaurant without paying the $27 tab. In a subsequent interview with TMZ, Brock excused his behavior by explaining that he canceled the food order before walking out. “While I was in ‘cuffs, I explained to the manager that I own restaurants … and if there’s a policy about paying for food that hasn’t come out … then it should have been explained to us before we left,” Brock told TMZ.
The court sided with Copa, sentencing Brock and his gal pal to six months probation. But thanks to the screwed-up institution that is the Philadelphia court system, that’s not the end of the story. If you’re convicted of a crime in Municipal Court, you can automatically get a new trial in Common Pleas Court, explains prominent criminal defense attorney Charles Peruto, Jr. (who does not represent Brock), which kind of makes you wonder, why bother with Municipal Court at all?
“Only in Philadelphia,” says Peruto. “They give it to you just for the asking.” Peruto cautions that penalties imposed by Common Pleas Court can be more severe and that the second trial can be a very long, drawn-out process. “You’ll probably be writing about this story a year from now,” notes Peruto, who was shocked that Brock’s attorney Sonte Reavis wasn’t able to dispose of the matter at the municipal level. “If I lost that case,” says Peruto, “I would kill myself.”
Brock and Chollette are scheduled for arraignment on December 15th.