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August 8, 2014 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
Former Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge Robert Mulgrew was sentenced Wednesday to 21/2 years in prison on federal fraud and tax-evasion charges, two weeks after he dodged a potential conviction in a separate ticket-fixing conspiracy case. Mulgrew, 55, admitted his role last year in a scheme to skim tens of thousands of dollars from state grants given to improve a park in South Philadelphia's Pennsport neighborhood. On Wednesday, he apologized to U.S. District Judge C. Darnell Jones 2d, his family, and his neighborhood for betraying their trust.
NEWS
August 8, 2014
SEVERAL STATES have enacted laws in recent years that require doctors who perform abortions at clinics to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. These laws, masquerading as measures to protect the health of women, are nothing more than underhanded attempts to obstruct access to abortion services. In every state where such a law has been passed, it would result in the closure of at least some abortion clinics, making it substantially more difficult for women to get the reproductive health care to which they are constitutionally entitled.
NEWS
August 8, 2014 | BY MORGAN ZALOT, Daily News Staff Writer zalotm@phillynews.com, 215-854-5928
ANORTH Philadelphia man learned the hard way earlier this week that his three years of successfully dodging the law on a murder rap couldn't last forever. Especially if he kept picking up new arrests and showing up at the Criminal Justice Center at 13th and Filbert streets - a place swarming with cops on any given day - for court hearings. Dante Hill, 25, of Oxford Street near 17th, went to the center Tuesday for a court hearing on drug charges, police said. Hill, a punk with a lengthy rap sheet, didn't make it out of the courthouse as a free man this time: Outside the courtroom on the sixth floor, he was met by police who arrested him in the 2011 shooting homicide of Raseen Wright, 34, at 13th and Brown streets, said Officer Christine O'Brien, a police spokeswoman.
NEWS
August 8, 2014 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
TWO WEEKS AGO, former Traffic Court Judge Robert Mulgrew may have been breathing a little easier after a federal jury acquitted him of major charges related to an alleged ticket-fixing scandal, although the panel found him guilty of perjury. While Mulgrew, 57, doesn't yet know what sentence he will receive in that case for having lied to a federal grand jury, he learned yesterday that time behind bars will be part of his near future. U.S. District Judge C. Darnell Jones II sentenced Mulgrew to 2 1/2 years in federal prison for defrauding a South Philly nonprofit that he had helped run. "Too often, we are of the mind that public corruption exists, so what?"
NEWS
August 6, 2014 | BY JASON NARK, Daily News Staff Writer narkj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5916
THE LYRICS Vonte Skinner scribbled in his notebooks weren't pretty, but the New Jersey Supreme Court said the rhymes about "bloodshed, death, maiming and dismemberment" shouldn't have been used as evidence against him. Skinner, 36, of Burlington Township, remains in prison, accused of shooting Lamont Peterson in Willingboro on Nov. 8, 2005, but the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that his rap lyrics could not be used as evidence when the Burlington County...
NEWS
August 6, 2014 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia School District has asked the state Supreme Court to swiftly reject a lawsuit that aims to block the sale of William Penn High School to Temple University. The cash-strapped schools desperately need the $15 million from the sale of the North Philadelphia property, according to court documents the district filed last week. The district's deficit - which already stands at $81 million - would grow by $11 million without the net proceeds from the sale. "Any delay in closing the sale and receiving these funds will harm the School District greatly," the district said in a court filing that asks the justices to act on the matter "as soon as reasonably possible.
NEWS
August 6, 2014 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Nicholas Kozay Jr., 86, of Philadelphia, a retired Common Pleas Court judge, died Thursday, July 31, of congestive heart failure at his home. While training as a lawyer, Judge Kozay began his career in the Municipal Court system as a clerk. In the early 1970s, he was appointed jury commissioner. He went on to implement the "one day/one trial" system for jurors. Under the one-day model, a potential juror comes to the courthouse knowing that if he or she is not chosen for jury duty by the end of the day, the obligation to serve has been met. His family said that the program was very well-received, and that he traveled to other cities to show officials how to implement it. Judge Kozay was appointed to Common Pleas Court in 1989 as a Family Court judge.
NEWS
August 6, 2014 | By Melanie Burney, Inquirer Staff Writer
The New Jersey Supreme Court on Monday upheld an appeals court ruling ordering a new trial on attempted-murder charges for a Burlington County man, saying prosecutors unfairly used violent rap lyrics he wrote as evidence against him. The justices agreed with the lower court that the 13 pages of material written by Vonte Skinner at least four years before he allegedly shot a man in Willingboro were not relevant and should not have been used at his...
NEWS
August 4, 2014 | By Robert Calandra, For The Inquirer
Seven months after coverage began for people who bought health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, more are now insured and most of the nearly 10 million people who have signed up say they are satisfied with their plans. Yet now a new set of challenges looms. Will the plans be affordable, and will users know how to use tiered networks and other innovations without incurring huge bills? "The law has pretty much met the early benchmarks, but if it stopped here, I don't think anyone would declare it a success," says Larry Levitt, senior vice president for special initiatives at the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is tracking the law. The law offers new insurance options for the individual market.
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.
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