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June 21, 2015 | By Jacob Adelman, Inquirer Staff Writer
One of Philadelphia's biggest landlords is part of a plan to build up to 10 stories of housing along what could be the city's last remaining cobblestone lane, but officials say the project should be scrapped. The proposal for the brick and limestone apartment block involving PMC Property Group would replace a parking lot at the corner of Arch Street and the narrow lane known as Little Boys Court, near Second Street in Old City, according to plans filed with the Philadelphia Historical Commission.
NEWS
June 19, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
Resolving questions about when a criminal defendant may withdraw a guilty plea, Pennsylvania's Supreme Court has unanimously reinstated the 30- to 66-year prison term of a Kensington man who admitted raping an 11-year-old girl. The high court ruled, 5-0, on Monday, reversing a Superior Court decision in 2013 that Jose Carrasquillo should be tried because the trial judge wrongly rejected his request to withdraw his guilty plea. "A defendant's innocence claim must be at least plausible to demonstrate, in and of itself, a fair and just reason for presentence withdrawal of a plea," wrote Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor.
NEWS
June 19, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
Pennsylvania's Supreme Court on Wednesday affirmed a lower-court ruling vacating the death sentence of convicted cop-killer Edward Bracey and ordering him to serve life in prison without parole. The state's high court ruled, 4-1, that Bracey may not be executed for the 1991 shooting of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Boyle because he is "intellectually disabled" and the U.S. Supreme Court barred such executions in 2002 in Atkins v. Virginia. First Assistant District Attorney Edward McCann said Wednesday that it was "very unlikely" his office would appeal.
NEWS
June 19, 2015 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
DOMINIC VERDI, a former deputy commissioner with the city's Department of Licenses & Inspections, sat by himself at the end of a wooden bench in the gallery of a federal courtroom yesterday. Mostly bald and heavyset, he appeared down in the dumps. Verdi, 59, dressed in a black short-sleeved shirt and tan pants, stood before U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth T. Hey moments later and pleaded "not guilty" to conspiracy, extortion and honest-services-fraud charges in a superseding indictment returned by a grand jury earlier this month.
NEWS
June 18, 2015
DOES THE NAME Michael Wojcik ring a bell? How about Emil Giordano? Christine Donahue? Anne Covey? They are all nominees to fill vacancies on Pennsylvania's three appellate courts: Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth. The odds are that at least one, and perhaps all of them, will be elected in November and take their seats on the bench, deciding every case appealed from local courts. If you flunked the ID test, you are in good company. Except for a relative handful of activists, judicial candidates are the electoral equivalent of question marks.
NEWS
June 17, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
LOUISE FAIRLEY CLAY was serious about entertaining, as evidenced by the 20 sets of china she accumulated over the years. But the dinners she loved to host featured more than good food. They featured laughter. "Laughter was a distinct feature of her dinner parties," said her granddaughter, Leah Smiley. "No games, no drama, no arguing, just good old-fashioned jesting. "It was easy to get offended at those family functions, but Louise would gracefully direct our attention and laughter toward herself.
NEWS
June 12, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - Ruling on a case that sparked acrimony between the new Democratic governor and top Republicans, a state court on Wednesday ordered Gov. Wolf to reinstate the Office of Open Records chief he fired just weeks after taking office. Republicans swiftly hailed the 4-3 Commonwealth Court decision that Wolf overstepped his authority in firing Erik Arneson, who had been appointed to a six-year term by outgoing Gov. Tom Corbett. Wolf quickly appealed to the state Supreme Court, setting the stage for a bruising fight that could further strain his rapidly deteriorating relationship with the GOP-controlled legislature.
NEWS
June 11, 2015 | By Andrew Seidman and Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
Gov. Christie on Tuesday claimed a significant legal victory in a yearlong battle with public-sector unions over pension funding, even as analysts warned that the state's long-term fiscal condition remained precarious. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the state could not grant public workers a legally enforceable contract to greater pension funding, even though Christie signed a 2011 law establishing just that. In a 5-2 decision, the justices said that the state constitution prohibited the governor and the Legislature from establishing such a contract without voter approval, because it would create a long-term debt.
NEWS
June 8, 2015 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
THE LAST two suspects accused of kidnapping a Jewelers' Row employee two months ago walked into a federal courtroom yesterday for their initial appearance before a magistrate judge. Basil Buie, 22, and Salahudin Shaheed, 35, dressed in forest-green prison jumpsuits, separately told Magistrate Judge David Strawbridge that they did not have attorneys and could not afford one. They were each appointed attorneys. Strawbridge granted a request for temporary custody by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeanine Linehan on the two men, who will face detention hearings on Monday.
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