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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
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.
NEWS
December 6, 2010 | By Joseph Tanfani, Inquirer Staff Writer
As a state Supreme Court justice desperate to find a way to build a new Family Court building in Center City, Sandra Schultz Newman hired real estate lawyer Jeffrey B. Rotwitt to make the project happen. Two years later, as Rotwitt's firm was closing in on a $3.9 million payday, Newman - by then a lawyer in private practice - tried to make sure some of the Family Court fees went to her son, a former lawyer in Rotwitt's firm. The former justice sent an e-mail to Rotwitt in March 2008 saying her son Jonathan, who introduced her to Rotwitt, should get credit for scoring the deal for the firm, Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel.
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NEWS
December 14, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Seven aging bridges over the Vine Street Expressway (I-676) will be replaced over the next five years at a cost of $64.8 million, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said Friday. Buckley & Co., Inc., of Philadelphia, is the apparent low bidder to replace bridges carrying 22nd Street, 21st Street, Benjamin Franklin Parkway/20th Street, 19th Street, 18th Street, and the Free Library and Family Court pedestrian bridges over the expressway. The work is scheduled to start in February and be completed by the fall of 2019, PennDot said.
NEWS
December 2, 2014 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
COMMON PLEAS Judge Benjamin Lerner, with nearly 20 years on the bench, is respected by peers, prosecutors and defense lawyers. Next week, Lerner, 73, will be recognized by the Philadelphia Bar Association. He will receive the Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Distinguished Jurist Award at the bar association's annual luncheon meeting Dec. 9 at the Hyatt at the Bellevue. "Everybody who knows him knows him as a man of great integrity, vision and talent," said Bill Fedullo, chancellor of the bar association.
NEWS
November 23, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia's Family Court marked its move Monday into a shiny new $222 million courthouse with a new policy requiring juvenile detainees to be strip-searched before going to their court hearings. The policy lasted about as long as the ceremonial ribbon cut by court officials. By Tuesday morning, the strip-search policy had been abolished after complaints from child advocates who questioned the propriety and constitutionality of the procedure. "It did occur, and it was ceased," Charles Cunningham, the Defender Association of Philadelphia's first assistant, said Friday.
NEWS
November 21, 2014 | BY STEPHANIE FARR, Daily News Staff Writer farrs@phillynews.com, 215-854-4225
Children as young as 11 years old were allegedly strip searched in full view of other kids when they entered the new Family Court building this week, according to sources, but when court administrators learned of the practice they put a stop to it. The new Family Court building at 15th and Arch streets just opened this Monday, but for a building that was mired in controversy during its construction, this was yet another sticky, ugly hurdle....
NEWS
October 28, 2014 | Inquirer Editorial Board
The damage former Justice Seamus P. McCaffery did to the credibility of Pennsylvania's highest court by engaging in juvenile, if not illegal, conduct could be mitigated by his resignation - which, thankfully, he submitted Monday. McCaffery - who recently dropped an unrelated defamation suit against the Inquirer and Daily News - apologized last week for sending more than 230 pornographic e-mails to associates over a nearly four-year period. But he tried to downplay his outrageous conduct as simply a lapse in judgment.
NEWS
October 20, 2014 | By Inga Saffron, Inquirer Architecture Critic
Riding the escalator in Philadelphia's new Family Court after last week's ribbon-cutting ceremony, I overheard a woman remark that the building didn't turn out as bad as she expected, given the grubby scandal that accompanied its creation. I concur. Sure, Philadelphia's first new courthouse in a generation is a dispiriting example of bland, office-park architecture plunked in the civic heart of the city. The exterior has all the charm of a cardboard box - and the proportions to match.
NEWS
October 18, 2014 | By Joe Dolinsky, Inquirer Staff Writer
Following years of drama, litigation, and scandal, the ribbon was officially cut Thursday on the new $122.3 million Family Court building at 15th and Arch Streets. Speakers included a who's who among Philadelphia and state court officials, many of whom were inside the marble-laden lobby for the first time, including former Gov. Ed Rendell; Kevin M. Dougherty, administrative judge; and Ronald D. Castille, chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. "What they get will be equal to what they see here," Castille said.
NEWS
October 17, 2014 | By Chris Brennan
THE HARRISBURG porn circus consuming the state's Capitol added a third ring yesterday. The first ring: Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane last month released a selection of explicit emails sent and received by Gov. Corbett 's top deputies when he was attorney general. The second ring: State Supreme Court Justice Ron Castille and Justice Seamus McCaffery continued their long-running feud, swapping accusations this week after Castille disclosed that McCaffery sent and received many of the explicit images.
NEWS
October 10, 2014
ISSUE | GAY UNIONS Courts proper venue In the wake of the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, I have little doubt we will be treated to cries that the people should decide such an issue ("Court sends clear signal to states," Oct. 7). But should we really put equality up for a vote? Did racial segregation fall as a result of a vote? The courts are designed to protect all citizens and ensure that constitutional rights are accorded to everyone. That's what happened Tuesday.
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