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Family Court

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NEWS
December 27, 2001 | By Nora Koch INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
Officials will cut the ribbon today on the new home for the Gloucester County family court, although court will not convene until Wednesday. The structure will relieve cramped chambers at the Gloucester County Courthouse at Broad and Delaware Streets. The move to the former site of a First Union Bank at Broad and Cooper Streets will increase security for the family-court system, which handles divorce, custody, juvenile-delinquency and domestic-violence cases. The 40,000-square-foot, three-story building will contain five courtrooms.
NEWS
August 29, 2014 | By Jeff Gammage, Inquirer Staff Writer
The fast-paced growth of Philadelphia's lower Spring Garden neighborhood quickened Wednesday, with the official groundbreaking of a massive, $160 million luxury apartment complex. The project promises to further transform an area that 20 years ago was a dead zone, and that 20 years from now may be unrecognizable. "It's overused in real estate," said Brady Nolan, one of the developers, "but every great project must have three things: location, location, and Whole Foods. " A big Whole Foods - twice the size of the current market nearby - will anchor the building, just off the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
NEWS
May 27, 2010 | By Joseph Tanfani and Mark Fazlollah, Inquirer Staff Writers
After nearly two years and more than $10 million, Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille has killed the no-bid development deal for a new Family Court building. Castille decided to dismiss developer Donald Pulver after The Inquirer disclosed that Pulver had made lawyer Jeffrey B. Rotwitt a partner in the project - at the same time that Rotwitt was being paid as Castille's representative. Castille said Rotwitt had never told him about what he called a possible conflict of interest.
NEWS
September 5, 2007 | By Gail Shister, Inquirer Staff Writer
In the courtroom of life, there's not much order for Philadelphia judge Lisa Richette. She's been beaten and robbed on the streets of Center City - twice. She's been punched in the head while sitting in her car. She's had her chambers taken over by a deranged woman who donned her judicial robes. And now, at almost 79, the senior Family Court jurist has been assaulted by her own son, police say. Moreover, the day after his arrest, he exposed himself on camera to a TV reporter. It's a monster hit on YouTube.
NEWS
May 23, 2010 | By Inga Saffron, Inquirer Architecture Critic
I owe the architects at EwingCole an apology for trashing their Family Court building, planned for an empty lot across from JFK Plaza, at 15th and Arch Streets. It's not the designers' fault that the bulky, 14-story building, a clone of the original, mediocre Penn Center slab towers, will be a mean and frosty rendition of America's most noble architectural form, the courthouse. Thanks to Friday's Inquirer article on the Pennsylvania courts' casual oversight of the $200 million project, we now know that the real architect of this affront to democracy is Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille, who presided over the project while it was milked for fees by a pair of political insiders, lawyer Jeffrey B. Rotwitt and developer Donald W. Pulver.
NEWS
May 29, 1991 | by Mark McDonald, Daily News Staff Writer
In the latest state Supreme Court onslaught against city court spending, 88 Family Court employees have received layoff notices and Traffic Court President Judge George Twardy has been threatened with contempt of court. Supreme Court Justice Nicholas Papadakos, in charge of the budget cuts, said the Family Court layoffs, combined with the elimination of 22 vacant positions, will save more than $3 million. Family Court currently has about 650 employees. The layoff notices, the first in Family Court, were received over the weekend and take effect July 1. Family Court Administrative Judge Jerome Zaleski is on vacation and could not be reached for comment.
NEWS
January 21, 1986
Your Dec. 30 editorial on the crisis in the Family Court was most welcome. For years I have watched the court atrophy. Instead of serving children, families and the public with the best judges and most efficient operations, the court was left to languish like a lost child. Your editorial must be heeded. The court needs an adequate staff of well- trained, compassionate and learned judges. And, as you correctly noted, the court must also be staffed appropriately. The court currently has a critical shortage of probation officers and clerical staff.
NEWS
July 2, 1992 | by Mark McDonald, Daily News Staff Writer
One of the first tests facing Judge Esther Sylvester, the new administrative judge of the Family Court, will be a choice between patronage and reorganization. At the center of controversy is the court's medical branch. Its top two employees have been targeted for removal by the city's court czar. Executive Court Administrator Geoff Gallas issued a report that describes as "counter-productive and superfluous" the $53,331 job held by branch chief John J. Fitzgerald and the $51,961 job of his assistant, Margaret J. Sosnowski.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
August 29, 2014 | By Jeff Gammage, Inquirer Staff Writer
The fast-paced growth of Philadelphia's lower Spring Garden neighborhood quickened Wednesday, with the official groundbreaking of a massive, $160 million luxury apartment complex. The project promises to further transform an area that 20 years ago was a dead zone, and that 20 years from now may be unrecognizable. "It's overused in real estate," said Brady Nolan, one of the developers, "but every great project must have three things: location, location, and Whole Foods. " A big Whole Foods - twice the size of the current market nearby - will anchor the building, just off the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
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
July 28, 2014 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Francis J. McKibbin Jr., 67, of Center City, an architect who served as manager of major building projects in Philadelphia and elsewhere, died Friday, July 18, of sarcoma at Pennsylvania Hospital. Born in Germantown, he graduated from Father Judge Catholic High School for Boys. He earned a bachelor's degree in architecture from Pennsylvania State University. He worked for Day & Zimmerman Associates, which became the Vitetta Group. He joined Alta Management as a partner with Majid Alseya, and later founded his own firm, Three Peaks Management.
NEWS
June 27, 2014
Before lawmakers congratulate themselves on proposals to trim one of the most bloated legislatures in the nation, they need to scrap companion cuts slated for the state appellate courts. No question, there's room for spirited debate on the merits of shrinking the state House by 25 percent, from 203 to 153 members, and reducing the state Senate from 50 to 45 members. But the suggestion that the state's busiest appellate court could sacrifice four of its 15 judges, with another pair lopped off the state's seven-member Supreme Court, hasn't been tested.
NEWS
June 23, 2014 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
DONTE WALKER, the teen arrested in January for smuggling a gun into a Philadelphia charter school before it was used to shoot two students, was sentenced yesterday to 6 to 23 months in jail followed by three years of probation. The ruling by Common Pleas Judge Michael Erdos calls for Walker, 19, to be paroled from jail on July 5 and requires him to perform 30 hours of community service for each year he is on probation. He pleaded guilty May 27 to carrying a firearm in public, possessing a weapon on school property and recklessly endangering another person.
NEWS
May 14, 2014 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
The mother of a girl held captive and tortured for nearly a decade in Linda Weston's Tacony apartment should have objected earlier if she believed her daughter was in danger, and she cannot now sue the city for violating her parental rights, a federal judge has ruled. With that, U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick dismissed a civil suit filed by Weston's sister Vickie against various local officials she blamed for failing to ensure daughter Beatrice's care. Beatrice Weston - who was placed in her aunt's custody in 2002 - was found in 2011, days after police discovered four mentally disabled adults locked in Linda Weston's fetid basement.
NEWS
May 9, 2014 | By Robert Moran, Aubrey Whelan, and Vernon Clark, Inquirer Staff Writers
Zachary Woods was enjoying a pivotal time in his life. After spending five years working in China, the 27-year-old had just begun classes at the Wharton School on Monday. He was planning to propose to his girlfriend next month. But while walking to classes Tuesday, the native of New York state was struck by a car in a freak accident that flung him off an elevated section of Walnut Street. He died that night at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. A distraught family member who asked not to be identified recounted his life and his dreams, and struggled to understand how he could suddenly be dead.
NEWS
April 24, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
As 14-year-old Nathaniel Wells recalled, "We started busting on them. " It was Wells and two teen boys on one side of 19th Street in South Philadelphia and two teenage girls on the other, taunting each other about looks and clothes. It was harmless until it wasn't, when 14-year-old Azim Chaplin looked up and said: "I'm stabbed. " "I lifted up his shirt and just saw blood," Wells said. Wells' testimony on Tuesday persuaded a Municipal Court judge to order 15-year-old Amber Hellesten to stand trial on a charge of third-degree murder in the Feb. 11 stabbing that killed Chaplin in a confrontation in the 2100 block of Watkins Street.
NEWS
April 22, 2014 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
BILL McMONAGLE went to work every morning wearing a bulletproof vest. He needed it because part of his job was to go after deadbeat dads, who frequently weren't happy about having to fork over support payments to women they no longer loved. Bill was shot at, hit over the head with a banister post, and, of course, regularly threatened and raked by verbal abuse. It was part of the job. Bill McMonagle was head of the Philadelphia Family Court bench-warrant unit. He not only tracked down deadbeat dads, but he also found children who had been kidnapped by irate parents, usually fathers.
NEWS
April 11, 2014 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
AT LESS than 5 feet tall, Zaria Estes could have been mistaken for a middle-school student in court yesterday. She seemed unsure of the meaning of the word "waive" - as in waiving one's right to a preliminary hearing. But Estes, 15, who was arrested along with two of her friends last month, is the one accused of using a brick to attack a female Temple University student who was walking with her boyfriend on Norris Street near 17th, the District Attorney's Office said. During the March 21 attack, the Temple student was battered with the brick numerous times, causing extensive damage to her face and mouth, authorities said.
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