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NEWS
December 19, 2014 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
A JUDGE yesterday hurled harsh words at former Philadelphia Traffic Court President Judge Thomasine Tynes, who tearfully said in court that she didn't immediately realize it was wrong to accept a $2,000 Tiffany bracelet from an undercover informant posing as a lobbyist. "I learned in kindergarten that if someone gave me something, they expected something in return for it," said Common Pleas Judge Thomas Gavin, of Chester County, who was asked to preside over the Philadelphia case.
NEWS
December 19, 2014 | By Craig R. McCoy and Dylan Purcell, Inquirer Staff Writers
A tearful Thomasine Tynes, former president judge of Philadelphia Traffic Court, pleaded guilty Wednesday to pocketing a $2,000 Tiffany bracelet given to her by an undercover agent who secretly taped the exchange as part of a sting. Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas Gavin told Tynes that she should have realized before accepting the gift at the Palm restaurant in Center City in 2011, "I'm sitting down to have lunch with a snake. Why am I doing that?" Now, he said, Tynes will be "remembered as someone who sat down with a snake - and you got bit. " The judge also had a few sardonic words for Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane.
SPORTS
December 19, 2014 | BY AARON CARTER, Daily News Staff Writer cartera@phillynews.com
IN A TANGLED, bizarre ordeal that began Wednesday night, the Daily News has learned that Joe McCourt will no longer be the head football coach at Roman Catholic High. However, the explanation as to why requires some unraveling. What started as a story about how a volunteer assistant coach's arrest may have cost McCourt his job, morphed into a school official saying the former Roman star running back and linebacker stepped down of his own volition to "spend more time with his family.
NEWS
December 17, 2014 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
A FEDERAL JUDGE yesterday sentenced a former court administrator of Philadelphia Traffic Court, who had pleaded guilty in the ticket-fixing scandal, to two years in prison. William Hird, 69, of Bridesburg, "played a central role" in the long-running, pervasive ticket-fixing scheme, U.S. District Judge Robert Kelly said. "Politicians, friends, ward leaders approached him for preferential treatment," Kelly said. "As far as we can tell, he said 'no' to none of them. He passed on those requests to judges.
NEWS
December 17, 2014 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
Throughout his nearly two decades at Philadelphia Traffic Court, William Hird rarely said no. Not to the Democratic ward leaders and local politicians who came to him seeking help with traffic tickets. Not to the court's judges, who designated him their point man for handling requests for special consideration. And not to prosecutors, who offered him a deal to plead guilty this year instead of fighting federal charges stemming from that ticket-fixing scheme. And for that, the Traffic Court's 69-year-old retired director of records received little in return.
BUSINESS
December 17, 2014 | By Jane M. Von Bergen, Inquirer Staff Writer
Workers at Walmart and Sam's Club stores in Pennsylvania who worked off the clock and when they were supposed to be on break, or who were forced to skip their breaks, will receive $151 million in unpaid wages and damages, Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ruled Monday, upholding lower- and appellate-court decisions. The case affects nearly 187,000 people employed by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. from March 1998 through April 2006. "This demonstrates that [this] type of shortchanging of workers at a mammoth employer should not be tolerated and that the justice system should provide some form of relief for low-wage workers, particularly through class actions," said Michael D. Donovan of Donovan Axler L.L.C., in Philadelphia, the workers' lawyer.
SPORTS
December 15, 2014 | By Keith Pompey, Inquirer Staff Writer
We are eight weeks into the NBA season. By now we should have a pretty good idea of which teams are lousy and which ones can hoop. What most of us don't think much about is that by this time in the season, teammates have developed a camaraderie similar to that shared with a sibling. Not only do they play and practice together, teammates often hang out during their time away from the court. So try to imagine what it must be like to practice every morning, lift weights, and watch film with a person you call your brother from another mother.
NEWS
December 13, 2014 | By Stacey Burling, Inquirer Staff Writer
Concerned about the potential for exploitation as Pennsylvania's elderly population grows, a group appointed by the state Supreme Court has recommended wide-ranging legal changes to protect older people from neglect, abuse, and fraud. The 38-member group known as the Elder Law Task Force called for better training for judges about elder issues, criminal background checks for guardians, and training that includes information on ethics, a mandatory reporting requirement for financial institutions that suspect financial abuse, and an amendment to the state's Slayer Statute to prevent people convicted of abusing an elder from benefiting from their victim's estate.
NEWS
December 12, 2014 | BY WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writer benderw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5255
CHAKA FATTAH Jr. is his own man. And, apparently, his own lawyer. The 32-year-old son of the Philadelphia congressman is scheduled to appear before a federal judge tomorrow to argue why he should be allowed to represent himself at his upcoming bank-fraud and tax-evasion trial. But Fattah is going through with the whole self-taught-lawyer thing regardless. Yesterday, he filed a Tolstoy-length assault on the government's case against him in the form of a 305-page court motion to quash the criminal indictment due to what he alleges was false grand-jury testimony and "repeated and intentional government misconduct.
NEWS
December 12, 2014 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
HARRISBURG - With much at stake, lawyers for the School Reform Commission on Wednesday asked a panel of five Commonwealth Court judges to affirm their power to cancel the Philadelphia School District teachers' contract. The law that created the SRC acknowledged that in times of distress, the commission must have at its disposal special powers, argued commission attorney Mark Aronchick. "The polestar is the children, not the protection of some collective bargaining interest that protects the interest of teachers," Aronchick told the judges.
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