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Family Court

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NEWS
February 9, 2015 | Mike Newall
Amber Hellesten had the small knife in her pocket that frigid night in South Philadelphia. Had it close. She was 15 and said she carried the knife because she was afraid. Afraid from years of abuse. Afraid of the men who beat her mother. Afraid of the man who attacked her when she was 13. She'd see that man outside the drug clinic some mornings on her walks to school. She didn't know Azim Chaplin. He was 14 and walking down Snyder Avenue with two friends last February. Azim and his friends followed Amber and her friend for blocks, taunting them with gibes over their clothing and sneakers and throwing ice balls and garbage.
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
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
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
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.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
January 29, 2016 | By Craig R. McCoy, Staff Writer
For the first time, two African American women will serve as the top judges in the Philadelphia court system, the state Supreme Court decided Wednesday. The high court appointed Judge Jacqueline F. Allen as administrative judge of the trial division of Common Pleas Court, which includes the system's busiest and most prestigious criminal and civil courtrooms. The court named Judge Sheila A. Woods-Skipper, already the president judge of Common Pleas Court, to chair the system's administrative governing board.
NEWS
January 17, 2016 | By Julie Shaw, Staff Writer
Just before he was to be sentenced Friday for setting an 11-year-old boy on fire last year in West Philadelphia, the teenage defendant told the court that it had been an accident, apologized to the victim's mother, and asked a Common Pleas Court judge for forgiveness. "I am very sorry for what I did," Rayfiq Tiggle, 16, of West Philadelphia, who was charged as an adult, told Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner. He said he had not intended to injure the boy. The incident, he said, was an accident that came about because he had been playing with a cigarette lighter.
NEWS
January 6, 2016 | BY JULIE SHAW, Staff Writer
ONE OF three juveniles who participated in a vicious attack on a homeless man at an Olney gas station in April pleaded guilty in Family Court on Tuesday to third-degree murder and conspiracy. Under a plea deal offered by the District Attorney's Office, the 14-year-old boy's case remained in Juvenile Court even though he was charged with murder. In all, six defendants - three juveniles and three women - were charged in the beating of Robert Barnes. After Barnes, 51, died Nov. 25, the D.A.'s Office charged the adults with murder, and said the juveniles also would be charged with murder.
NEWS
December 30, 2015
By Kevin M. Dougherty Guaranteeing the fair and impartial administration of justice for all is a massive and complicated undertaking for a jurisdiction as large as the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, which encompasses the city of Philadelphia. During my tenure as the administrative judge for the First Judicial District, I have worked with amazing judges, as well as the incredible women and men who comprise the district, to improve court efficiencies, while balancing the need for public safety and the reentry and integration of formerly incarcerated people back into our communities.
NEWS
December 23, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Staff Writer
The sign above Ian C. Rexach's barbershop just outside Northern Liberties proudly promises the "sharpest cuts in the city. " But when a Philadelphia Municipal Court judge found against his business in a 2012 tax delinquency case after he failed to show up in court, it was his mother - Common Pleas Court Judge Angeles Roca - who was quick with the cutting remarks. Roca was furious with Judge Dawn A. Segal for denying her son's request to reopen his case, and called Segal's colleague - Municipal Court Judge Joseph C. Waters Jr. - to complain.
NEWS
December 22, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Staff Writer
JOEL MOLDOVSKY wasn't really the king of the gypsies, but there was a high probability that if Philadelphia's gypsy population held a vote back in the day, Moldovsky would have been a shoo-in. It was in the late 1970s, when Moldovsky was a hotshot Philly defense lawyer and the cops decided to crack down on gypsy fortune tellers. Correction: The original version incorrectly referred to "the late F. Lee Bailey. " Bailey is still alive.  Moldovsky swooped in and represented 28 of the ladies of fortune, and got every one of them off. As quoted by the late Daily News columnist Larry Fields, Moldovsky told the judges, "Our city would lose some of its flavor without gypsy fortune tellers predicting good things for those who want to hear those encouraging words.
NEWS
October 22, 2015 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vellav@phillynews.com, 215-854-2513
THE FAMILY of the toddler found wandering in LOVE Park last week will have to wait a little longer to be permanently reunited with the boy. A Family Court judge continued the case of little Jeremiyah and his 4-year-old sister, Malaysia, until Oct. 29. In the meantime, their parents, Michael Jones and Angelique Roland, will be granted visitation rights twice a week in two-hour stints. "The court in these cases, in general, has a tendency to err on the side of caution," said Brian Jenkins, the executive director of Chosen 300, a Christian ministry that helped raise $12,000 for the family.
NEWS
October 9, 2015 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
A FORMER student at the Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, who had shot a friend to death in March, yesterday was sentenced in the tragic shooting. Ivan Oberholtzer was 17 at the time he shot and killed his friend, James Gerard Becker III, who was also 17 and a fellow classmate and senior at Kensington CAPA. Under a negotiated plea deal, Oberholtzer pleaded guilty in August to third-degree murder in adult court with the understanding that he would be supervised in both the juvenile-court system and the adult-court system.
NEWS
September 10, 2015 | By John F. Morrison, Daily News Staff Writer
It was a decision nobody should have to make. But the judge had no choice. The life or death of a woman suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - paralyzed, in constant pain, and begging to die, was his decision alone. It was probably the toughest call that Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Nicholas M. D'Alessandro would ever have to make. After interviewing Thelma Stussy, 51, who could only blink her eyes and nod, in her room at Neumann Medical Center in Kensington, along with members of her family, he ruled in April 1990 that the hospital could turn off the respirator that was keeping her alive.
NEWS
September 9, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
IT WAS a decision nobody should have to make. But the judge had no choice. The life or death of a woman suffering from amyotropic lateral sclerosis, paralyzed, in constant pain and begging to die, was his decision alone. It was probably the toughest call that Common Pleas Judge Nicholas M. D'Alessandro would ever have to make. After interviewing the woman, Thelma Stussy, 51, who could only blink her eyes and nod, in her room at the Neumann Medical Center in Kensington, along with members of her family, he ruled in April 1990 that the hospital could turn off the respirator that was keeping her alive.
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