DA: Former Lancaster City officer convicted of perjury, other charges will get no relief from conviction or sentence

Sgt. Raymond Corll (file image taken from Shop with a Cop event in Dec. 2013)

LANCASTER COUNTY — A former Lancaster City Police Sergeant who was sentenced in May 2017 to seven to 23-and-a-half months in prison — plus two years of probation — for perjury, simple assault, false swearing and official oppression will get no relief from his conviction or sentence, the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

The charges stemmed from an incident in March 2014 where Raymond Corll and two other officers arrested a man, Steven Widdowson, for public drunkenness in Lancaster City. Widdowson’s friend, Tami Jones, was also cited and arrested for public drunkenness.

That July, Corll testified under oath that he witnessed the couple staggering on a sidewalk, the criminal complaint said. Corll also testified that he took Widdowson to the ground and then punched him in the face.

Widdowson also testified, saying that he and Jones were walking and chatting when the spotted the police cruiser behind them. Police approached them as the got close to the intersection of Chestnut and North Queen Streets, according to the criminal complaint. Widdowson testified that he was then thrown to the ground and punched. He added that the officers didn’t converse with them or asking any questions.

Video recordings from the Lancaster Community Safety Coalition cameras were obtained by detectives within the DA’s Office. The footage contradicted Corll’s testimony as it showed Widdowson walking normally and not staggering prior to and as he was being taken into custody. Footage also revealed that Widdowson did not appear to be intoxicated during processing at the police station, investigators said.

Corll argued in post-sentence motion that the sentence was “excessive,” his conviction went against the weight of evidence and the judge should have instructed the jury on the use of non-deadly force in self-defense situations, the DA’s Office stated. 

The Pennsylvania Superior Court denied Corll’s claims Tuesday, finding:

– The sentence was within the standard range and that all appropriate factors, including a background check, were considered.

– The jury’s decision should not be overturned. The jury was shown video evidence of what Corll testified about, and they heard testimony from the arrested man and a woman he was walking with on the night in question. Also, another police officer’s testimony conflicted with Corll’s version of events.

– Corll offered no evidence that he had to act in self-defense, so President Judge Reinaker was not required to give the use-of-force instruction.

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