The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to consider the appeal of Frank R. Chester, who brutally murdered gay artist Anthony Milano in 1987.
After a 1988 trial in Bucks County, Chester and co-defendant Richard R. Laird were convicted of first-degree murder and related offenses and sentenced to death. They are currently housed on death row.
But Chester claims his attorney had a pending DUI charge at the time of the Milano trial, and didn’t serve him effectively. He wants a court to void all of his convictions relating to Milano’s murder.
Earlier this month, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to hear Chester’s appeal. His attorneys must file their appellate brief by July 14. Then Bucks County prosecutors will have 30 days to file a response.
In an email, prosecutor Stephen B. Harris reiterated his belief that Chester’s trial attorney represented him adequately. Daniel A. Silverman, Chester’s appellate attorney, had no comment.
Judge vacates order in cop case
A Philadelphia judge has temporarily vacated her order that openly gay police officer N. Melville Jones hand over his medical records to city attorneys.
Jones is suing the city for pervasive anti-LGBT workplace bias.
Attorneys for the city claim they’re entitled to all of Jones’ medical records since 2003.
On June 5, Common Pleas Judge Idee C. Fox ordered Jones to hand over those medical records to the city.
But on June 9, Jones’ attorneys asked Fox to reconsider her order, and to review Jones’ medical records in the privacy of her chambers.
On June 16, Fox vacated her order and scheduled a hearing on the dispute for 1:30 p.m. July 10 in City Hall Courtroom 243.
A non-jury trial is expected in November.
Hearing set for Schaefer
A hearing will be held this week in the appeal of Frank Schaefer, a former Methodist minister who was defrocked last year after officiating at his son’s gay wedding.
Schaefer is seeking reinstatement, and his appeal will be heard by the Committee on Appeals for the Northeast Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church.
According to church rules, pastors aren’t permitted to officiate at same-gender weddings.
The proceeding is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. June 20 at the BWI Airport Marriott, 1743 W. Nursery Road in Linthicum, Md. The public is invited to attend.
In an email to PGN, Schaefer said he and his attorneys were “cautiously optimistic” that he’ll be reinstated.
He’s also written a book, which is scheduled for publication this summer.
— Timothy Cwiek