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NEWS
April 8, 2016 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Staff Writer
Facing sentencing Wednesday on federal tax fraud charges, former Traffic Court Judge Michael J. Sullivan offered an unusual argument to the court: Come on, really? Yes, the judge had paid most of the staff at his family bar in South Philadelphia under the table in cash, his lawyer said. And yes, he pleaded guilty last year to failing to report $48,089 in payroll taxes over 11 years. But in a city burdened by violent crime and serious public corruption, defense attorney Henry Hockeimer asked, don't federal authorities have anything better to investigate than a neighborhood bar where employees never made more than $30 to $40 a shift?
NEWS
April 7, 2016 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Staff Writer
Judge Edmund B. Spaeth Jr., 95, the retired president judge of the Pennsylvania Superior Court and longtime crusader for fair judicial practices, died Thursday, March 31, of congestive heart failure at Cathedral Village in Philadelphia. Judge Spaeth was a widely respected trial and appellate judge for more than two decades, culminating in three years as president judge of the Pennsylvania Superior Court. He was vocal about what he saw as blatant flaws in the judiciary, particularly the practice of electing judges rather than choosing them based on merit.
NEWS
April 6, 2016
By Travis Weber Much effort on both sides of the aisle has gone into determining the ideological leanings of Judge Merrick Garland and how he would rule on the hot-button issues of the day. However, some GOP senators running for reelection are hearing far more from those opposed to Garland than from those supporting him. Why? There is an increasing "intensity gap" among voters on which president, the current one or his successor, should get to fill the vacancy left by Antonin Scalia's passing.
NEWS
April 6, 2016 | By Martha Woodall, Staff Writer
The Philadelphia School Reform Commission has come up empty in its bid to undo a recent, devastating state Supreme Court ruling that curtailed powers it thought it had. The state's top court Monday turned down the SRC's request to reconsider a ruling it handed down in February that said the commission had no power to suspend parts of the state school code. The court said that a provision about special powers in the law that led to the state takeover of the city schools in 2001 was unconstitutional.
NEWS
April 6, 2016
By Marge Baker In the last month, Republican senators have mapped out a strategy of total obstruction around the Supreme Court vacancy, flat-out refusing to do the jobs they were elected to do. If they continue along this path, it's hard to imagine that the GOP will not face serious electoral consequences in November. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) shocked many when he said, just hours after Justice Antonin Scalia's death in February, that the Supreme Court vacancy should not be filled by President Obama.
BUSINESS
April 6, 2016 | By Jane M. Von Bergen, Staff Writer
Nearly 10 years ago, Delores Killingsworth Barber, then 25 and an employee at a Roosevelt Boulevard Walmart, took the witness stand in a Philadelphia courtroom and told a judge and jury that the retail giant was "stealing our time. " It got worse during the holidays, when, she testified, workers were told to "do whatever it takes to get it done, and if that meant missing your break, that's what had to be done. " Many years and boxes of legal documents later, the workers should be paid for those missed breaks.
NEWS
April 5, 2016 | Patricia Madej, Staff Writer
It hasn't even been two years since the Philadelphia Courts reinstituted a crackdown on jury no-shows and it's already back to the drawing board. Juror Scofflaw Court - designed to make an example of people who ignored their summons to jury duty by bringing them into court anyway - is no longer being used because it's just too costly to run and there aren't enough resources, said Jury Commissioner Daniel Rendine. "It was unfortunate, but we gave it a shot, but it didn't bode well for the long run," he said.
NEWS
April 2, 2016 | By Michael Boren, Staff Writer
The attorney for David "D.J. " Creato Jr., the Haddon Township father charged with killing his 3-year-old son, Brendan, filed motions in court Thursday to prevent prosecutors from using Creato's statement to investigators as evidence, and to have the indictment against his client dismissed. The motions suggest Creato, 22, who was indicted by a grand jury on charges of murder and endangering the welfare of a child, was not read his rights or told he was a suspect when he willingly spoke to investigators in the days after Brendan's body was found.
NEWS
April 1, 2016 | By Jane M. Von Bergen, Staff Writer
Longtime labor leader Henry Nicholas breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday, when the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked, thereby retaining public unions' abilities to collect mandatory fees in many states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It was a sigh, but not a deep one. Waiting to exhale might be a better description - for both unions and their management foes, as they shift their focus from the legal landscape to the political. "The next president of the U.S. will appoint four judges for life," said Nicholas, president of the National Union of Hospital and Healthcare Employees District 1199C.
NEWS
April 1, 2016
ISSUE | SUPREME COURT Judicial jousting Touché, obstructionists. Well-played, Supreme Court. It appears that the Supreme Court will use its calendar as its check and balance against the U.S. Senate. Tuesday's 4-4 split over a California woman's lawsuit to strike down mandatory union fees clearly spanked the Republican obstructionists for shirking their duty to vet President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court as required by law ("Vacant seat lets unions prevail," Wednesday)
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