Convicted drug kingpin Savage granted new lawyer



Chester County defense attorney Christian Hoey is in.

Veteran Philadelphia defense lawyer Christopher Warren is out.

And convicted drug kingpin Kaboni Savage has withdrawn his request to represent himself in a racketeering-murder case that could carry the death sentence.

Those were the developments yesterday in the high-profile drug-trafficking case wending its way toward trial, probably next year.

During a short hearing in U.S. District Court, Judge R. Barclay Surrick granted Savage’s request to replace Warren and tapped Hoey, of the Paoli law firm Rubino & Hoey, to represent him.

Warren, who represented Savage in a 2005 drug-trafficking case, patted Savage on the back and wished him “good luck” as he left the courtroom.

Before the hearing, Warren said that he was disappointed that Savage wanted to replace him and that he thought he could win the case.

Surrick pointed out that Savage had asked to have Warren named his counsel when he was indicted on the latest charges in April. But the relationship apparently soured in recent months.

Warren said Savage refused to see him last week when he went to the Metropolitan Corrections Center in Manhattan, where his former client is jailed. Savage, he said, had filed a motion to represent himself.

Savage, in letters to the judge, had complained about his inability to meet with his lawyers (a capital-punishment expert is also assigned to the case) and asked to act as his own lawyer.

In appointing Hoey, Surrick said he also would arrange for Savage to be transported to the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia for two days each month so he could consult with his lawyers in person.

Savage said he would accept those changes and withdraw his motion to act as his own lawyer.

Shackled and handcuffed, Savage nodded and smiled at several friends and relatives at the hearing. Unlike a hearing last month, at which he alleged he was the target of racial profiling and a legal lynching by investigators and prosecutors he described as Nazis, he had little to say to the judge.

But as he was leaving the courtroom in the custody of federal marshals, and after Surrick left the bench, Savage looked back at his relatives, smiled, and said, “Going back to the slave quarters.”

Savage was sentenced to 30 years in prison after his conviction on drug-trafficking charges in 2005.

While he was serving that sentence, he and three codefendants were charged with drug dealing, witness intimidation, and murder in an indictment returned in April.

Between 1998 and 2003, according to the pending indictment, Savage oversaw a drug network that dumped millions of dollars’ worth of cocaine into North Philadelphia and used fear, violence, and murder to eliminate rivals and potential witnesses.

Prosecutors have indicated they will ask the Justice Department to approve a request to seek the death penalty.

Savage is accused of playing a role in 11 of the 12 murders in the indictment.

Among other things, he is charged with ordering the firebombing of a North Sixth Street rowhouse where the mother and infant son of a cooperating witness lived. Two women and four children, ages 15 months to 15 years, died in that blaze.

It was, authorities allege, one of the most wanton examples of witness intimidation in city history.

Distracted Driving

Pennsylvania defines distracted driving as “an activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” Drivers have to focus on driving, so they can react to the information on the road, such as road conditions, hazards and other drivers. Distracted drivers do not react appropriately and thus put others at risk for severe injury or death. Examples of distractions, besides using cell phones and texting, include drinking, eating, adjusting the radio, adjusting climate controls, adjusting seats, combing hair, putting on make-up, daydreaming, reaching for dropped items, engaging in heavy conversations, and focusing on events outside of the car.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence typically refers to alcohol use, but drug use can also impair drivers and cause severe car accidents.  In either situation, enjoying cocktails at happy hour, celebrating with drugs or alcohol, drinking too much wine for dinner and unwinding after a long week at work results in too many motorists driving under the influence.  Controlled substances impact each person differently, making it common for someone to misjudge his or her level of impairment.  These poor judgments can lead to severe and sometimes fatal car accidents.

Driver Fatigue

Driving without enough sleep is commonplace for many in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and across the nation. Truck drivers, shift workers, and those with sleep disorders are most vulnerable to causing an accident because they are drowsy or fatigued. Not having enough rest slows down reaction time and impairs the senses. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) claims that eighteen (18) hours without sleep impairs a driver to the same extent as someone who has a 0.08 blood or breath alcohol concentration after consuming alcohol.


The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that one-third of all car accidents involve speeding. Drivers who rush, run late, or simply lack patience may choose to speed when they get behind the wheel. Speeding makes it more likely that a driver will lose control of his or her vehicle and makes it more difficult to react to road hazards and other vehicles. Speeding also increases the impact of a car accident and makes it far less likely that a negligent driver may maintain control of his vehicle sufficient to prevent a collision. High speed car accidents make it far more likely that those involved will suffer severe injuries or death.


At HoeyLegal, we know from our litigation experience that tractor-trailer drivers often operate at least one cellular phone which is in use at, during, or immediately prior to a tractor-trailer accident. Additionally, most tractor-trailers are equipped with data recorders which capture, in real-time, important vehicle operation events including speed, hard braking and other evasive maneuvers taken by the operator and the tractor-trailer.  It is imperative that this evidence be obtained before it is destroyed.  At HoeyLegal, our trial attorneys will obtain any necessary court order to preserve this evidence for trial.


Oftentimes, there are several defendants responsible for the tractor-trailer accident. In most cases, at least two defendants are responsible for the ownership and operation of the tractor-trailer.  There may be additional defendants responsible for the hiring and retention of the tractor-trailer driver.  At HoeyLegal, our investigators will promptly identify the responsible defendants and immediately request the preservation of all evidence related to the hiring and retention of the driver, inspection of the vehicles and the supervision and drug/alcohol testing of the vehicle operator.


Our accident investigators include mechanics who will immediately respond to the accident site and the location where the truck has been impounded in order to photograph the truck and conduct necessary mechanical inspections of the vehicle. In the event that a court order is necessary to examine and inspect the trucks, HoeyLegal Attorneys will promptly file the necessary motions to enable the HoeyLegal mechanics and inspectors to conduct a prompt evaluation of the mechanical function of the at-fault tractor-trailer


Our expert accident investigators include former Pennsylvania State Police accident investigators and nationally recognized engineers who will carefully photograph the accident scene and conduct all necessary measurements of skid marks, yaw marks, displacement of debris and thoroughly examine the accident site to preserve all evidence for the time of trial.


Our investigators will promptly interview and record all witnesses that observed the accident and collect all biographical information from the witnesses so they will available to testify on your behalf at trial.

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