March 11, 2016 |
Pennsylvania's Supreme Court on Wednesday signaled it was unlikely to reinstate a controversial law that gave the National Rifle Association the right to challenge municipal gun ordinances across the state. During arguments that focused less on the merits of the 2014 measure than the legality of the process that made it a law, some justices had tough questions for an attorney for the Republican legislative leaders who helped enact the bill. "If, by brute force, the majority of the General Assembly can cram through any number of regulations ...," Justice David N. Wecht said, "the constitution takes a backseat.
March 7, 2016 |
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - In January, a deputy attorney general and two agents walked into a judge's chambers here with questions. They wanted to discuss a meeting decades earlier that had ended with a "monster" priest being allowed to go free. Back in 1985, Cambria County Judge Patrick T. Kiniry had been a local prosecutor, and met with Bishop James Hogan to discuss a priest suspected of sexually abusing children. As leader of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese, the bishop had outsize influence in the area.
March 7, 2016 |
Five years ago, Valerie Furlong's life was in turmoil. Both of her teenage sons, raised in South Jersey about 20 minutes from Camden, had become addicted to opiates. Yet when she tried to get them into rehabilitation centers, one of them was denied outright and the other was deemed ready for outpatient care after just two weeks, which would have put him right back into the environment where he became addicted - before it was safe to do so, Furlong said. That experience led Furlong to dedicate herself to ensuring that a 2008 federal law that requires insurance plans that cover mental illness and addition to treat those conditions the same as physical ailments.
March 5, 2016 |
Four years ago, Landon Hacker needed a lawyer after his drug abuse and repeated brushes with the law landed him in prison. Hacker was headed in a bad direction, a cocaine and heroin junkie and homeless. A New Jersey judge predicted that Hacker would probably spend most of his life in prison. He managed to turn his life around, thanks to a state drug court program that gives offenders a second chance. He also moved a step closer this week to becoming a lawyer. Hacker, 28, of Burlington City, gave the keynote address Thursday in Mount Holly at two drug court commencement ceremonies, the same program he graduated from in 2014.
February 29, 2016 |
All things being equal, Frederick Steiner probably would have stayed in Austin as dean of the University of Texas' prestigious architecture program. But last week, he announced he was leaving to take the identical job at the University of Pennsylvania's somewhat less-stellar design school. The deciding factor? Steiner didn't want to police a new Texas law allowing licensed gun owners to bring concealed weapons to class. Although gun-rights advocates have promised that the looser rules will keep college campuses safe from mass shooters, Steiner concluded that he would be better off in Philadelphia, where - let's be honest - the homicide rate is nothing to brag about.
February 19, 2016
IF YOU'VE DEFAULTED on federal student loans, you can breathe more easily. You won't be arrested for simply failing to make payments. For a hot second, people were panicking after a Houston television station reported that a local man, Paul Aker, had been arrested because he owed $1,500 for a federal student loan he took out in 1987. "What's the worst that can happen to you if you don't pay your old federal student loans?" the anchor began the segment. "Garnishment, something on your credit report?
February 18, 2016 |
The job market for law school graduates improved dramatically last year, with law firms competing aggressively to recruit the best prospects, a study released Tuesday shows. Major law firms made offers to 95.3 percent of all summer interns, the highest offer rate since the 2008-2009 recession, according to the study by the National Association for Law Placement. The number of summer internships, a stepping-stone to full-time employment, also was significantly higher, said NALP, a Washington-based group that tracks lawyer hiring.
February 18, 2016
THE PHILADELPHIA Police Department has all but quit enforcing traffic laws on Philadelphia streets. That's an exaggeration, but the number of tickets written to motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians all took a nosedive in 2015. It was the third straight year of decline for motorists, the second for bicyclists, and the first for pedestrians. Enforcement is as low as a snail's belly. This year, I'm adding tickets written for skateboarding. Two were written in 2013, 14 in 2014, and a lonely one in 2015.
February 13, 2016
ISSUE | GOVERNMENT Imbalance of power? John Yoo has again demonstrated the propensity of conservatives to cite only specific Federalist Papers to support arguments ("A call for action against federal overreach," Sunday). Yoo noted Federalist Paper 70 and presidential eagerness to disregard enacted laws, but he didn't address arguments and fears in other Federalist Papers (73) against the propensity of the legislative branch to overreach by enacting bad laws and not working with the executive.
February 13, 2016 |
Philadelphia could soon become the next city to ban pet stores from selling commercially bred dogs and cats, a move that prioritizes adoption of rescue animals and is aimed at stopping the growth of so-called animal mills. Advocates acknowledge that the legislation is preventative; they know of no pet stores in Philadelphia selling animals from breeders. But they say it is needed nonetheless, in part because breeders searching for spots to sell their animals will have to avoid cities with these laws on the books.