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NEWS
February 28, 2014 | By Jeff Gammage, Inquirer Staff Writer
Daniel Dougherty has always insisted he's innocent, that he didn't set the fire that killed his two young sons in 1985. Nobody believed him. Not the officers who arrested him, 14 years after flames destroyed the family's Philadelphia home. Not the fire marshal who testified that the blaze was arson. Not the jury that took three hours to find him guilty of murder, and 31/2 more to sentence him to death. But in the 15 years between the fire and Dougherty's trial, and during the 131/2 years he's been in prison, something important changed: the science of forensic fire investigation.
NEWS
February 26, 2014 | By Jessica Parks, Inquirer Staff Writer
HARRISBURG - The Commonwealth Court has blocked a Radnor Township man from intervening in two lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage ban. In a hearing Monday, James Schneller, 58, said he wanted to provide a voice for "the more moral, ethical, and religious population" that opposes same-sex marriage and to present arguments that go beyond what the state's attorneys would say to defend the ban. Judge Dan...
NEWS
February 26, 2014
The Nutter administration has taken the rare and welcome step of choosing a company that doesn't expect millions of dollars in government assistance for the redevelopment of the old Family Court building. That would break the city's streak of subsidizing Center City hotel construction for more than 20 years. Better yet, the developer isn't fighting its obligation to protect the New Deal-era building's historically significant features. San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels has pledged to preserve the 73-year-old courthouse's facade, which was declared historically significant in 1971, as well as important interior features, including 37 extraordinary Works Progress Administration murals, lighting fixtures, handrails, and duct grilles.
NEWS
February 21, 2014 | By Andrew Seidman and Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
The legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge scandal on Wednesday asked a judge to order two former advisers to Gov. Christie to comply with subpoenas seeking documents about the September lane closures. The committee had asked Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff, and Bill Stepien, his former campaign manager, to produce documents by Tuesday. Kelly and Stepien have invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and Fourth Amendment right against illegal searches and seizures in declining to cooperate with the probe.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 20, 2014 | BY REGINA MEDINA, Daily News Staff Writer medinar@phillynews.com, 215-854-5985
HE NEWS coming out of the  New York Post 's Page Six yesterday not only seems par for the course, but also begs the question: When is  R. Kelly  not headed to court? Our gossip colleagues report that the R&B singer has fallen behind on child-support payments, failing to pay $20,833 a month that he owes his former wife, Andrea Kelly , and could potentially face the Big House. This, after he fell behind by $100,000 in payments last year to his ex, star of VH1's "Hollywood Exes.
NEWS
February 20, 2014 | By Jennifer Lin, Inquirer Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA It is not the biggest plan for converting the historic Family Court building at 1801 Vine St. into a luxury hotel. It calls for neither the most rooms or meeting space, and it does not carry the highest price tag. But the winning bid to retrofit the 73-year-old courthouse into a Kimpton Hotel was the most straightforward, Mayor Nutter said Tuesday. The Kimpton team, led by Peebles Corp. of New York City, beat out groups headed by the high-profile local developers Ken Goldenberg and Carl Dranoff.
NEWS
February 20, 2014 | By Michael Matza, Inquirer Staff Writer
Across a brightly lit room, three dozen immigrants sit shoulder-to-shoulder on three pew-like benches. Many look scared. Some murmur in Spanish, Arabic, Russian, and Haitian Creole. There is no bailiff; none but the judge to maintain order, call the cases, and render judgments, DIY-style. Lawyers waiting for clients' cases to be called pile up outside the four small courtrooms in the cramped corridor that one translator calls the "Hall of Anxiety. " With a backlog of 4,901 cases, Philadelphia's Immigration Court, housed on the fifth floor of a federal building in Center City, is chronically overburdened and thinly staffed, and reflects the workload crisis afflicting the nation's 57 other immigration courts.
NEWS
February 19, 2014 | By Jennifer Lin, Inquirer Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA In another major project for the Logan Square neighborhood, Mayor Nutter is expected to announce Tuesday that Kimpton Hotels will open a luxury hotel in the Family Court building at 1801 Vine St., according to people familiar with the project. Kimpton is working on the project with Peebles Corp. of New York City and local developers P&A Associates. The Kimpton group was one of three that submitted proposals for converting the 73-year-old building into a hotel. R. Donahue Peebles, founder of Peebles Corp., could not be reached for comment Monday.
SPORTS
February 13, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
The thoughts of Penn coach Jerome Allen on guard Dau Jok tells you all you need to know about the passionate senior from the Midwest by way of South Sudan. "He is what college basketball is all about, the ultimate student-athlete experience," Allen said Tuesday. "I thank God that I've had the opportunity to coach him. I think, to be honest with you, I've gained more from the relationship than he has. " Jok is among five Division I players named to the Allstate NABC Good Works Team, an honor recognizing a player for his commitment to community service.
NEWS
February 10, 2014
Pennsylvania's judiciary has produced a breathtaking run of scandal, from the highest court to the lowest (Philadelphia's Traffic Court); from kids sentenced for cash, the subject of a new documentary, to tickets fixed for crab cakes (Traffic Court again). It's small consolation, but consolation nevertheless, that it wasn't all for naught. As of July, the state's judges will be governed by a substantially strengthened Judicial Code of Conduct in line with national ethical standards. While the overhaul can't correct all the judiciary's flaws - especially the elections at the root of its problems - the new standards address many of the shortcomings revealed by the scandals of recent years.
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