June 19, 2011
This paper has published several articles and commentaries about Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille's acceptance of gifts - travel and entertainment - from lawyers and law firms that do and could appear in his courtroom. We have also written extensively about the location and construction of a new Family Court building for Philadelphia. In a letter that appears on this page, Chief Justice Castille takes issue with our coverage and decries his depiction in one of our cartoons.
June 19, 2011
Chief justice says coverage was unfair Having served in publicly elected office for decades, I am certainly accustomed to the rough-and-tumble media coverage of public service and the influence that big-city newspapers wield in their coverage. Ideally, the press investigates matters of public importance, thoroughly reviews the relevant facts, and, for the public's benefit, provides an objective and reasoned analysis of the issue at hand. However, your publication crossed the line in its inaccurate, unfair, and biased coverage of me during the past year, the most egregious example of which was your Boss Tweed-style cartoon depicting me as a corrupt judge with cash, watches, and other bribes concealed in my clothing.
June 2, 2011 |
It is good to be Bernard Hopkins these days. He is carrying around four world championship belts. At 46 and having just won a unanimous decision over Jean Pascal, he is the oldest fighter ever to win a title, a distinction that George Foreman turned into a small fortune when he finally hung up his gloves and started grilling. Hopkins is fit, healthy, presumably rich, and still fighting. Check out his Twitter account. His bio says, and the caps and punctuation are his: "WORLD LightHeavyweight Champion!
November 28, 2010 |
Chief Justice Ron Castille reported receiving thousands of dollars in gifts, rounds of golf, and travel expenses over the years from powerful law firms, civic leaders, and associations. This, I'm sorry to say, is perfectly legal in Pennsylvania, the land that ethics forgot. "We call that ordinary social hospitality," Castille said Friday. "You can't be nice? You can't be, like, social?" Since 2007, Saul Ewing L.L.P., a firm with 237 lawyers, has treated Castille to the annual Pennsylvania Society bash at Manhattan's Waldorf Astoria, with last year's trip worth $1,900.
November 22, 2010
WE ARE getting raked over the coals by Chief Justice Ron Castille. Why? He decided to give 19,000 fugitives an early Christmas present. I'm glad Castille is so worried about the court backlog that he decided why put that pressure on the criminals? - let them go and commit new crimes. What a standup guy. As a retired Philadelphia police officer, I know that the law-abiding citizens of Pennsylvania don't want their chief justice to act like a high school principal. The criminals committed a crime and refused to show up in court.
November 21, 2010 |
Last December, Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille mingled with the state's other power players at the Waldorf Astoria during the meeting of the Pennsylvania Society. The annual New York pilgrimage of schmoozing and socializing is usually an expensive weekend - but not for Castille. The Philadelphia law firm Saul Ewing L.L.C., which regularly argues cases before the Supreme Court, picked up the $1,900 tab for the hotel room and dinners for Castille and his wife, just as it had done the previous two years.
August 4, 2010
By Peter Vaira When a serious accident occurs during a circus performance - a trapeze artist falls, a lion trainer is mauled - the clowns are sent in to distract the audience. In the Stephen Sondheim musical A Little Night Music , the singer of "Send in the Clowns" has gone through so much romantic tragedy that she feels, "There ought to be clowns. " Philadelphia's Family Court situation deserves similar treatment. It is indeed a circus performance with a serious accident. Millions of dollars in public funds have been spent on a construction project that has yet to get under way; legal fees are running in the millions; and legal community leaders are squabbling with the state's chief justice over questions one might find on a first-year law school exam.
July 17, 2010
If state Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille were a fan of social networking, he might use Twitter, Facebook, or a similar online service to throw out this question to cyberspace: Should the Pennsylvania courts be opened up to citizens in ways more in step with the 21st century? The answer should be obvious, as the chief justice no doubt would learn by a likely flood of positive online responses. Castille has at least begun exploring that question in a more traditional way, by directing that a Supreme Court committee come up with policy recommendations.
June 27, 2010 |
After trying to put the brakes on an agreement to spend millions in fees for a new Philadelphia Family Court building, the city's top court administrator broke the news in an e-mail. "All this is moot," David C. Lawrence wrote in November 2008 in one of a series of e-mails obtained by The Inquirer. "The Chief Justice just told me to sign which I did. He counter signed as well. " As chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Ronald D. Castille controlled all state courts and personally supervised the $200 million Family Court deal.
May 21, 2010 |
When Pennsylvania's top judges struggled to find a way to build a new Philadelphia Family Court building, they turned to a lawyer with political savvy and real estate experience. Jeffrey B. Rotwitt, a longtime real estate attorney and developer, spent months scouting for locations, and urged state officials to approve $200 million to build the courthouse. For his efforts, he is poised to earn a handsome fee from the courts: $3.9 million. His firm, the politically powerful Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell & Hippel, has received more than $1 million already - with the rest due by the end of June.