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NEWS
July 31, 2014 | By Jonathan Lai, Inquirer Staff Writer
A New Jersey appeals court has upheld Gov. Christie's appointment of a Hispanic civil rights activist to the Rutgers University board of governors, ruling against the state's top elected Democrat. Martín Perez's December 2012 appointment to Rutgers' main governing body, which took effect last July, "was a proper exercise" of Christie's authority, three judges ruled Tuesday. Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) had sought to block Perez's appointment. He said Tuesday he would accept the decision, though he did not agree with it. "I'm glad it's over and so I will continue serving my state and my university," Perez, 65, said by phone Tuesday.
NEWS
July 31, 2014 | By Ben Finley, Inquirer Staff Writer
A former Bucks County high school teacher who claimed she was fired for disparaging students as "frightfully dim," "utterly loathsome," and "whiny" in an online blog can't sue the district for violating her right to free speech, a federal judge has ruled. English teacher Natalie Munroe sued Central Bucks in 2012, contending her blog was protected speech because she wrote it as a private citizen. But in a Friday ruling that blocked the lawsuit from going to trial, U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe wrote that the blog failed a long-standing legal test that weighs a teacher's right to free speech against the disruption the statements cause at a school.
NEWS
July 28, 2014 | By Karen Heller, Inquirer Columnist
Time for another installment of Law & Order: Philly Ethics Division . (Queue "doink doink" sound of a cell door slamming.) Last week, several recovering "judges" of Philadelphia's illustrious Traffic "Court," where ticket-fixing for the connected was not merely a given, but appears to have been a calling, were acquitted of the most serious charges. Well, except for the lying business. Like when former "Judge" Michael Lowry told the grand jury - please don't read this while drinking a beverage - that he "treated everybody in that courtroom the same.
BUSINESS
July 27, 2014 | By Alan J. Heavens, Inquirer Real Estate Writer
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has upheld lower-court decisions that a murder-suicide in a home does not create a material defect and therefore does not need to be legally disclosed by a seller to a potential buyer. The Supreme Court considered an appeal, argued in November, of a Delaware County Court decision, upheld by Superior Court, that had dismissed a complaint in 2008 by Janet Milliken of Thornbury against the sellers and the listing agent of a house she bought for $610,000 in 2007.
NEWS
July 25, 2014 | BY JENNY DeHUFF, Daily News Staff Writer dehuffj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5218
AFTER TWO days of deliberations, a federal jury acquitted six former Philadelphia Traffic Court judges of corruption and fraud yesterday, debunking the government's claims of judicial dishonesty and ticket-fixing. In count after count, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Stengel read "not guilty" from the verdict sheet to a packed courtroom. Sobs of relief echoed from the gallery from family and friends of former Traffic Court judges Michael Sullivan, Michael Lowry, Robert Mulgrew, Willie Singletary, Thomasine Tynes and Mark Bruno.
NEWS
July 25, 2014 | By Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writer
For decades, irate prosecutors have pursued corruption in Philadelphia Traffic Court and won significant convictions - only to have ticket-fixing become standard practice once again. But this time around, even with Wednesday's mixed verdict in the latest Traffic Court trial, reform may be too advanced to stop. Of course, it helps that Traffic Court no longer exists. "The reforms have been implemented and are in practice as we speak," said Deputy District Attorney Laurie Malone, who oversees a new team of city prosecutors handling ticket cases.
NEWS
July 25, 2014 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia Traffic Court's entrenched system of granting special consideration to friends, family, and political allies of judges may have been unethical, but it wasn't a crime, a federal jury appeared to say Wednesday as it acquitted five of the court's former jurists who were accused of participating in a ticket-fixing conspiracy. The verdict capped a five-year probe that took aim at the city's reputation as "corrupt and contented," and that led to the dismantling of the court - but its outcome called into question future government efforts to prosecute corruption where no bribery is involved.
NEWS
July 22, 2014 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
The fate of five former Philadelphia Traffic Court judges accused in a ticket-fixing conspiracy now lies in the hands of a federal jury. The panel began deliberating the case against Michael J. Sullivan, Michael Lowry, Robert Mulgrew, Willie Singletary, and Thomasine Tynes just after 3 p.m. Monday and broke for the day after less than two hours of discussion. The deliberations came after a morning when prosecutors took one last opportunity to respond to two days of defense arguments attempting to tear down their case.
NEWS
July 21, 2014 | By Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Staff Writer
MARION, Iowa - Inside a diner crammed with television cameras and national reporters in this town just outside Cedar Rapids, Joe Mallie gave a glimpse of the challenge Gov. Christie could confront in wooing conservative voters to elevate him to the White House. Awaiting Christie's entrance Thursday at MJ's Restaurant, a camera around his neck, Mallie praised the governor's charisma. "People pay attention when he talks, and they feel like listening," he said. "You feel you understand when he's talking.
NEWS
July 20, 2014 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
Lawyers for five former Philadelphia Traffic Court judges accused in a years-long ticket fixing conspiracy renewed their attacks Friday on the case against their clients, saying it was built upon "stupid assumptions, stupid guesses and stupid speculation. " That last line - courtesy of William McSwain, who represents Mark A. Bruno, a Chester County magistrate also charged in the case - came as the lawyer accused federal prosecutors and the FBI of interpreting even the judges' most innocent actions in a criminal light.
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