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NEWS
August 23, 2014 | By Allison Steele, Inquirer Staff Writer
Lap dances in Philadelphia will stay tax-free - for now, at least. After an attempt to start collecting amusement-tax revenue from the dances was slapped down by a court earlier this year, the city will not pursue an appeal, officials said Thursday. George Bochetto, an attorney representing Cheerleaders and Club Risque, two of the three strip clubs targeted by the city for unpaid taxes last year, said the money sought by the city - hundreds of thousands of dollars - was enough to put some of the clubs out of business.
NEWS
August 22, 2014 | By Chris Hepp, Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia's 95-year ban on political contributions by police officers has been overturned by a federal appeals court, which found that the prohibition violated the officers' First Amendment rights. The ruling Monday by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit came in response to an appeal by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, which argued that the ban emasculated the union politically by greatly reducing the funds available to its political action committee, known as COPPAC.
NEWS
August 22, 2014 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
T HE JUDGE who put Philadelphia-born rapper Meek Mill in jail for probation violations overstepped her authority by trying to transform him in "Pygmalion-like fashion," his attorneys said in an appeal filed with the state Supreme Court. The appeal followed a hearing Monday during which Common Pleas Judge Genece Brinkley denied Mill's request to be released early from jail, where he has been serving a three-to-six-month sentence since July 11. In support of their claim that Brinkley had gone too far, attorneys for the rapper born Robert Williams noted that during an off-the-record discussion, the judge complained that she did not approve of the haircut or clothing Mill had worn on the "Conan O'Brien Show.
BUSINESS
August 21, 2014 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that homeowners' warranties against defects apply only to a property's first buyer, and cannot be passed along in subsequent sales. The unanimous decision, reversing a Pennsylvania Superior Court decision, said homeowners' warranties are based on the contractual relationship between a builder of a new home and its purchasers. There is no such relationship between the developer and subsequent purchasers, the court said in an opinion written by Justice Seamus P. McCaffery.
NEWS
August 15, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
One of two men charged in the July 25 carjacking and crash that killed a North Philadelphia mother and three of her children broke his silence in court Wednesday and pleaded for forgiveness. "I want to ask for forgiveness from the family," Jonathan Rosa blurted out at the end of his brief appearance before Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni. Rosa, 19, had just waived his right to a preliminary hearing and Deni then asked the routine, almost rhetorical question: "Is there anything else?"
NEWS
August 13, 2014 | By Melanie Burney, Inquirer Staff Writer
A robber who threatens to detonate a bomb can be convicted of a first-degree crime even if no explosives are actually found, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Monday. Ruling in two separate cases, the high court made bomb threats a more serious level of criminal offense and found that a menacing remark mentioning the devices during a robbery constitutes sufficient evidence of an immediate threat. "A robber does not have to pat his chest or shoe to reinforce the impression that he is carrying a bomb.
NEWS
August 13, 2014 | By Vernon Clark, Inquirer Staff Writer
A former roommate of Chaka Fattah Jr. pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to a charge that he made false statements to obtain loans from three banks. Standing before U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle 3d, Matthew Amato, 31, of Broomall, pleaded guilty to making false statements to Wachovia Bank, PNC Bank and Sun National Bank in July and August 2005. He faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and five years' probation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul L. Gray said Amato also agreed to cooperate with any investigation and prosecution related to the case, including testifying at the pending trial of Chaka Fattah Jr., son of U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, a Philadelphia Democrat.
NEWS
August 11, 2014 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
They sat in silent judgment for nearly two months as federal prosecutors laid bare one of the city's long-standing bastions of cronyism. But after acquitting five former Philadelphia Traffic Court judges accused in a wide-ranging, ticket-fixing conspiracy three weeks ago, the jurors who decided their fate want to make one thing absolutely clear: "We hated to see those guys walk," said Mark Nagle, 57, an electronics technician known in court...
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 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?"
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