December 23, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - It was a strange experience for Jim Gerlach: After more than 20 years in public office, he was sitting out an election. Gerlach, a Chester County Republican, had decided to leave office after a decade in the state legislature and 12 years in Congress - making for some odd feelings as he saw campaigns ramp up last fall without him. Gerlach, 59, is one of three local members of Congress who leave office Jan. 3. He, Jon Runyan (R.,...
December 22, 2014 |
It's not just your parents moving back into an in-law suite - more often these days, it might be your adult children. In-law suites are more popular than ever among homeowners. These suites add value to the home and might allow three generations to live under one roof. Contractors and builders say they're having trouble keeping up with demand for in-law suites - renovations, say, of a porch or a garage, or for an addition to customers' existing homes. Dave Martin, president of Remodeling Concepts in Langhorne, hears this from his clients.
December 20, 2014 |
Philadelphia prosecutors agreed Thursday to halt efforts to seize the homes of two of the lead plaintiffs in a widely publicized federal suit challenging the city's use of civil forfeiture laws in drug cases. But Christos Sourovelis and Doila Welch, both of whom saw their houses threatened after police arrested a relative dealing drugs on their properties, said they intended to keep on fighting. In agreements of dismissal filed in Common Pleas Court, the District Attorney's Office agreed to drop its cases against properties owned by Sourovelis and Welch as long as both owners took "reasonable measures" to ensure no further drug crimes occurred there.
December 17, 2014 |
Even in good times, borrowing by local government tends to be politically contentious, triggering taxpayer angst. It is about to become a bit more tumultuous. Ever since the 2008 financial-market collapse, municipal governments across Pennsylvania and New Jersey have been under duress. And while economic conditions have improved - more so in Pennsylvania than in New Jersey - balance sheets have ticked only slightly upward. As Bill Rhodes, a municipal-bonds lawyer at Ballard Spahr L.L.P., explains, this has partly to do with conditions that are unique to local-government finance, which is based in large measure on property taxes.
December 16, 2014
ACROSS THE country this past weekend, thousands of people marched in protest of police actions against Michael Brown, Eric Garner and others, adding to a steady drumbeat of protest that was ignited weeks ago when two separate grand juries refused to indict police in the deaths of the two black men. For many, this calls to mind a level of protest that this country hasn't seen in at least 50 years . . . and many would say that the issues are the...
December 15, 2014 |
How would you incorporate a company, settle a fight with a tenant, or get a lawyer in a criminal case? Jargon-free legal information is at hand from a variety of sites and mobile apps. One of the best places to start is Nolo.com. Its extensive area for free legal information can give you detailed pointers on debt management, LGBT law, personal finance, and many other issues. The immigration-law page covers what to do if you think you qualify for deferral under the program that President Obama recently took executive action to expand.
December 11, 2014 |
The Delaware River Port Authority has paid about $72,500 this year to the law firms of two DRPA commissioners to represent the pair in an ongoing federal grand jury investigation. The two commissioners, William Sasso and Jeffrey L. Nash, were among several DRPA officials subpoenaed late last year by the grand jury that is investigating millions of dollars of politically connected "economic development" spending by the DRPA. Sasso and Nash, both attorneys, were permitted by the DRPA board to be represented by their own law firms, at DRPA expense.
December 6, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane will not defend a new law that effectively stripped municipalities of the right to enact their own gun measures, raising the prospect that the controversial statute might not take hold. A spokeswoman on Thursday said Kane had exercised her authority to decline representing the state in a challenge to the law filed by Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Lancaster, and area lawmakers. Instead, she is deferring to lawyers working under Gov. Corbett - who in six weeks will relinquish their offices to a new Democratic administration.
December 4, 2014 |
In a brief but poignant gesture, students at the University of Pennsylvania Law School made a silent statement of protest Tuesday over the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. At noon, more than 60 law students, black and white, gathered in the law school's Great Hall and lay on the marble floor for 41/2 minutes of silence in what they described as a "die-in. " The quick, quiet protest was a reference to the 41/2 hours that Brown's body lay on the street on Aug. 9 after he was fatally shot by Officer Darren Wilson.
December 3, 2014 |
Barbara Mancini, the Philadelphia nurse prosecuted for handing her 93-year-old dying father his prescription morphine, has quit her job and is devoting herself to advocating for state "Death With Dignity" laws. Mancini, 58, has been traveling the country, telling audiences that she was wrongly prosecuted, that her father's end-of-life wishes were clearly stated and cruelly ignored, and that the hospice involved failed him. She is haunted by what happened to her father and to her. "I'm trying in my mind to make this right for my dad. I'm doing it for him," Mancini said after speaking to 70 senior citizens at the Free Library of Philadelphia branch on Rittenhouse Square.