State Rep. Cherelle Parker’s alleged-DUI trial set for Nov. 13

State Rep. Cherelle Parker (D-Philadelphia) will stand trial after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided it would not weigh in on her alleged drunk-driving case.

Attorney Joseph Kelly, who is representing Parker, filed a petition to appeal with the state’s highest court in an effort to end his client’s year-plus long legal saga.

Parker is now slated to appear in Municipal Court on Nov. 13.

Expected outcome

In a phone interview on Thursday, Kelly said he was not surprised by the outcome. Requests such as his, called interlocutory appeals, are a “long-shot,” he said.

Kelly added that he is prepared to file appeals with Common Pleas Court and beyond if the lower court does not rule in his client’s favor.

“We’re not sure what will work or not, but we have some defense strategies,” said Kelly when asked about the upcoming court date.

Deputy Attorney General Marc Costanzo, who is representing the Commonwealth, declined to comment following Thursday’s status hearing.

Police pulled Parker over on April 30, 2011 in Germantown after they allegedly spotted her driving her state-issued car the wrong way down a one-way stretch of Haines Street.

Parker’s blood-alcohol-concentration that night was .16, twice the legal limit, according to police paperwork from the incident.

The Facebook back story

In November, Municipal Court Judge Charles Hayden ruled to suppress the reading and all other evidence against the seven-year lawmaker after he deemed that the testimony given by her arresting officers was not credible and therefore “impossible” for the court to accept.

The Attorney General’s Office appealed that decision and asked that Hayden recuse himself from the case after it came to light in the media that he and Parker were Facebook friends.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams recused his office from the case because of his real-life friendship with Parker.

Hayden denied both requests, prompting another Commonwealth appeal.

In mid-January, Common Pleas Court Judge Paula Patrick ruled to reinstate all charges, saying that Hayden should not have taken the case given the pair’s social-media connection.

Kelly later filed a petition to appeal with the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. He filed another petition with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court after that request was denied.

Both petitions centered on whether it is appropriate for a judge to overturn another judge’s ruling on the basis of a social-media friendship.

Parker, a Democrat, represents Pennsylvania’s 200th Legislative District, which includes sections of the Mt. Airy, Chestnut Hill and Roxborough neighborhoods in Philadelphia.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.