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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
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
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
July 29, 1994 | By Nicholas Wishart, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
In a move designed to lighten the workload now shouldered by two judges, a third state judge has been assigned to Family Court in Gloucester County. State Superior Court Judge Mary Eva Colalillo, currently presiding in Camden County, will move to Gloucester County, effective Sept. 1, under an order signed yesterday in Trenton by State Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert N. Wilentz. Colalillo will join Superior Court Judges John J. Lindsay and Martin A. Herman, now handling most of the caseload in Family Court.
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NEWS
June 17, 2015 | BY JENNIFER WRIGHT, Daily News Staff Writer wrightj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5938
A PHILADELPHIA Common Pleas jury deliberated for about three hours yesterday morning before finding Aki Jones, 39, and Shaheed Williams, 23, guilty of attempted murder. The two also were found guilty of witness intimidation, aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy in the shooting of Michael Vessels, 46, who survived five gunshot wounds Sept. 26, 2011. Vessels had called police from his North Philly home after witnessing a man who fired a gun into the air at the scene of a fight involving teenage girls in November 2010.
NEWS
June 12, 2015 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
WHAT'S THE BEST way to cut down on the school-to-prison pipeline? Keep kids in school, according to District Attorney Seth Williams. The city's top prosecutor routinely recites the frightening statistics: High school dropouts in Philly are eight times more likely to go to state prison than their counterparts. They are also more likely to be murder victims. To tackle the issue, Williams wants to get tougher on truancy by sending letters to families of students who rack up 10 or more unexcused absences - with the threat of criminal charges if the kids don't straighten up. "I want the D.A.'s office to be the hammer for [Superintendent William]
NEWS
June 10, 2015 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
A MINISTER WHO was shot five times - and miraculously survived - emotionally testified before a Common Pleas jury Tuesday about the morning a gunman ambushed him. Michael Vessels, 46, was allegedly targeted because he witnessed a fight among teenage girls outside his then-North Philly home, in which a man, Aki Jones, then got out of a car with a gun and fired it into the air. Jones later pleaded guilty in federal court to possession of a...
NEWS
April 8, 2015 | By Robert Moran, Inquirer Staff Writer
Parts of the Vine Street Expressway will be closed during pre-commuting hours starting next week as part of a $64.8 million project to replace seven aging bridges in Center City. The roadway will be shut down between Broad Street and the Schuylkill Expressway from 12:01 to 5 a.m. starting next Tuesday and will continue to be closed during those hours through April 17, according to the state Department of Transportation. Traffic will be detoured onto John F. Kennedy Boulevard and Market Street.
NEWS
February 6, 2015 | By Helen Ubinas, Daily News Columnist
NO PARENT ever dreams their kid will become an addict. If that weren't obvious enough, it lay bare in the despair and desperation on the faces of many of the parents who attended a recent forum about young people struggling with substance abuse. Nancy and Kevin Peter, of West Mount Airy, were panelists at the Horsham Township Community Center forum last week. When it was their turn to speak, Nancy began with an admission that moved other parents to nod in agreement. When the Peters envisioned their only son's life, addiction wasn't part of it. "I suspect it's what happens when a child is suddenly hurt in an accident, or is stricken with a disease . . . parents have to 'recalibrate' the future they envisioned for their son or daughter," she later said.
NEWS
January 31, 2015 | By Chris Brennan, Inquirer Staff Writer
Jim Kenney and Kevin Dougherty grew up in the same South Philadelphia neighborhood, two kids from the block in Whitman who crafted careers in public service. The city councilman and Common Pleas Court judge are now aiming higher. And their ambitions align in a way that stands to benefit them both. Kenney, 56, resigned Thursday from his sixth term on Council and is now preparing a campaign for mayor. Dougherty, 52, is expected to announce in three weeks his bid for one of three openings on the state Supreme Court.
NEWS
January 15, 2015 | BY DANA DiFILIPPO, Daily News Staff Writer difilid@phillynews.com, 215-854-5934
To her family, 16-year-old Zaria Estes is a "considerate and caring" girl who likes tuna fish and dancing and doesn't always keep her room clean. But to Abbey Luffey's family, Estes is the cold and calculating monster who attacked Luffey, a Temple University student, last March as Luffey walked with her boyfriend on the edge of campus. As she and her friends hunted prey for their sadistic game of "knock a bitch down," Estes bashed Luffey in the face with a brick, leaving her with a broken jaw, palate and teeth - and a shattered sense of security.
NEWS
January 8, 2015 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
A FEDERAL JUDGE has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a niece of alleged kidnapper and torturer Linda Ann Weston against the city and a former Department of Human Services worker. In a judgment filed Monday and made public yesterday, U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick ruled in favor of the former DHS worker, Nefertiti Savoy, and the city, and against Beatrice Weston, 23, who filed the suit. The judge ruled that while Savoy - the DHS case worker who recommended to a judge that Beatrice live with her aunt and failed to investigate Linda Weston's criminal background - was negligent, she could not be found liable for the abuse Beatrice suffered by her aunt.
NEWS
January 5, 2015 | Inquirer Editorial Board
On leaving the city's old Family Court building, The Inquirer recently reported, some judges saw fit to take the fixtures with them to their new chambers. This neatly illustrated the distance between judicial impropriety and criminal guilt. No one - including the city officials who promised the court's antique accoutrements to the building's buyer - is planning to make a federal case out of this. Nor should they. Still, many Philadelphians are no doubt dismayed that their designated arbiters of justice appeared to stoop to stripping a public facility for parts.
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