Philadelphia – On January 9, after a two month trial, a federal jury of nine women and three men acquitted Dr. Dorothy June Brown on six felony counts brought against her by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, while deadlocking on the remaining 54 counts. The jury acquitted Dr. Brown of four counts of wire fraud, one count of obstruction of justice and one count of witness tampering. Dr. Brown was represented by Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP.
In a city and school district that consistently fail to provide students with the resources and opportunities so sorely needed, Dr. Brown is among the most innovative and successful educators in Philadelphia history. As the defense showed during the course of the trial, the three brick-and-mortar charter schools that Dr. Brown founded – the Laboratory Charter School of Communication and Languages, Ad Prima Charter School, and Planet Abacus Charter School – routinely have more than 90 percent of their students achieve proficient or advanced status on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment examinations. This record of success stands in stark contrast to the low test scores recorded by traditional public schools in the Philadelphia School District.
Despite the prosecutor’s charges, Dr. Brown’s rigorous and pioneering methods – the “Charter Signatures” – are still being used at the charter schools today. Many witnesses in the case expressed gratitude for the transformational change that Dr. Brown’s charter schools have had in Philadelphia.
Gregory P. Miller and William M. McSwain, who are partners in Drinker Biddle’s white collar practice, served as co-lead trial counsel for Dr. Brown.
“We would like to express our appreciation to the jurors who worked so diligently in this case,” Miller said. “We are sure it wasn’t easy to sift through the large quantity of evidence in the case, but the jurors clearly took their jobs very seriously and looked at the evidence carefully.”
“Dr. Brown is a visionary educational leader,” McSwain said. “She has handled this entire matter with dignity and courage. I admire her fortitude and we’re grateful that the jury did not find Dr. Brown guilty of any charges.”
Ron Sarachan, co-chair of Drinker Biddle’s white collar practice, added: “The white collar team at Drinker prides itself on solving problems for our clients and avoiding criminal charges. But when it makes sense to go to trial, we are ready. We have a deep bench of seasoned trial lawyers that take a very strategic and effective approach to trying a case, as was evident in this case for Dr. Brown.”