September 6, 1990 |
A Southwest Philadelphia man convicted of killing a Lower Merion Township police officer in 1988 was denied a new trial yesterday by the state Superior Court. The appeals court said Kendell Lee Hatfield, 25, was properly found guilty of first-degree murder, but mentally ill, by a jury on Sept. 21, 1989. He was sentenced to life in prison. Hatfield was to begin his confinement in a mental institution. When he is ruled competent, he will to be placed in a state prison to complete his term.
August 24, 1988
When they drafted the current state budget, it was easy for Gov. Casey and the state legislators to ignore the December ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that required state government to pay for the entire Pennsylvania court system. Why? Because no one in the court system asked for the money - estimated to be an astounding $300 million to $500 million a year. Now, a good salesman always asks for your business after making his pitch, and that's apparently what the Supreme Court's administrative arm is about to do. The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts is in the process of collecting figures on the full-time personnel costs for the courts and court- related agencies in all 67 counties.
November 6, 1998 |
The four-year quest of Joseph L. LaPorta, suspended Gloucester County roads supervisor, to reclaim his job does not fall within the jurisdiction of federal court, a U.S. district judge ruled yesterday. Judge Joseph E. Irenas heard oral arguments in the case yesterday afternoon in federal court in Camden and then ordered that LaPorta must pursue his aims in New Jersey Superior Court. LaPorta, 59, of Monroe, filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against Gloucester County and its Board of Chosen Freeholders in January 1997, seeking his job, back pay and compensatory damages.
June 17, 2012 |
In a case that could result in her permanent removal from the bench, Chester County District Judge Rita Arnold has been cited by the state court of judicial discipline for "improper conduct" for her handling of a harassment summons given her son after a family altercation. The court said Arnold had failed to officially docket the summons at a time her son was under scrutiny for potential parole violations. Arnold not only slowed official review of the summons in a way that kept the information from parole officials, benefiting her son, according to the court, she also encouraged a court employee to mislead officials investigating the matter.
May 22, 1987 |
A sharply divided state Supreme Court yesterday overturned a longstanding doctrine, ruling that post-arrest statements given by criminal defendants no longer must be suppressed merely because the state does not promptly arraign the defendants. The 4-3 decision, which prompted five different opinions, strikes down a 10-year-old doctrine prohibiting prosecutors from using as evidence statements by defendants not arraigned within six hours of arrest. Justice Nicholas P. Papadakos, the author of a court opinion joined by Justice Rolf Larsen, wrote that the court's experience with that "rigid rule" had "shielded the guilty for no reason relevant to the individual circumstances of their case.
April 9, 1987 |
A lawsuit brought by a West Philadelphia family who was victimized by a Youth Study Center escapee has been dismissed by the state Supreme Court. Nevertheless, one justice, in a concurring opinion, stated that negligence at the Youth Study Center "may have been the cause-in-fact for the injuries" suffered by the family. Those injuries included the rapes of a woman and her 11-year-old daughter and the subsequent suicide of the man who was the woman's husband and the girl's father.
July 10, 1998 |
Yet another court ruling upholding the state's school-funding system throws more cold water on claims that Harrisburg does not pay enough for public education, and further dampens hopes the Philadelphia School District can get more state cash through litigation. Even though Philadelphia's financially troubled district is seeking more money in three major legal cases still pending - one in federal court, two before the state Supreme Court - yesterday's decision by state Commonwealth Court cannot boost district spirits.
May 21, 2008
ALAWSUIT FILED this week tied to the 2005 legislative pay grab is a walk down memory lane - or maybe a peek under the rock of state politics. I can't let it alone. If it's true, it means that the fix is in on stuff of statewide significance. If untrue, it still feeds the fears of those who think the fix is in. Either way, it can't help the image of the state court system. And the state court system is striking back, threatening retaliation. Ah, Pennsylvania. The League of Women Voters, in a 17-page federal civil action, alleges that in its challenge to the state's 2004 gambling law, its right to due process was violated by a too-cozy, inappropriate relationship between the Legislature and the state judiciary.
January 11, 1996 |
Yet another higher court ruling has left Delaware County officials feeling that they've gotten the shaft. A Commonwealth Court decision last month limited the county sheriff's ability to collect fees from banks at sheriff's sales. The county will lose $600,000 to $750,000 - the amount generated by 1 mill of tax, Sheriff Ann A. Osborne said yesterday. Delaware County is not alone. All Pennsylvania counties are affected by the ruling, which returns sheriffs' charging policies to their status before 1992.
March 3, 1998 |
In what could be a mortal blow to the Philadelphia School District's legal effort to get more money from Harrisburg, Commonwealth Court ruled yesterday that the court has no jurisdiction to interfere with legislative decisions on educational policy and funding. The district's chances to get the $95 million it says it needs to balance next year's budget are rapidly dwindling. The governor and state legislature have adamantly declined either to bail out the city schools or to seriously consider an overhaul of the school funding system.