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NEWS
September 6, 1990 | By Dave Racher, Daily News Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
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.
NEWS
November 6, 1998 | By Larry Lewis, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
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.
NEWS
June 17, 2012 | By Chris Mondics and INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
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.
NEWS
May 22, 1987 | By Fredric N. Tulsky, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
April 9, 1987 | By Michael B. Coakley, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
July 10, 1998 | by John M. Baer, Daily News Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
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.
NEWS
January 11, 1996 | By Angela Paik, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
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.
NEWS
March 3, 1998 | By Dale Mezzacappa, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER Inquirer staff writers Russell E. Eshleman Jr. and Richard Jones contributed to this article
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.
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NEWS
February 11, 2015 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
Commonwealth Court Judge Anne Covey on Monday slammed the judicial-evaluation process of the Pennsylvania Bar Association as "unethical, unprofessional, and less than forthright," contending that she was being pressured to drop her run for the state Supreme Court. Covey, of New Hope, said in a letter to association president Francis X. O'Connor that as a consequence of her treatment, Robert Morris, chairman of the Judicial Evaluation Commission, should resign. "I will not be a victim and I will not remain silent regarding the unethical and unprofessional activities I experienced with the . . . JEC," Covey wrote.
NEWS
December 6, 2014 | By Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Staff Writer
Score one for the beach bums of Margate in their quixotic fight against Gov. Christie's 127-mile sand dune. In court in Camden on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb told the state it can't just take Margate's land with an administrative order to expedite its shore protection project. She ordered her temporary restraining order continued until at least Dec. 17, a setback for the state that, in effect, allows Margate to stand in the way of a $74 million portion of the project ordered by Christie.
NEWS
November 1, 2014 | By Chris Brennan
IN CRISIS there is opportunity - this well-worn but still prescient political trope is on the minds of at least nine judges considering the three open seats on the state Supreme Court next year. The high court has seen more jabs and pummeling than jurisprudence lately, as Chief Justice Ron Castille maneuvered to oust Justice Seamus McCaffery . McCaffery retired Monday after Justice J. Michael Eakin accused him of making threats. Castille has to step down Dec. 31, having reached the mandatory retirement age of 70. And time is up next year for Justice Correale Stevens , appointed last year to finish the term of former Justice Joan Orie Melvin , who was convicted of using her staff to do political work.
NEWS
September 11, 2014 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
An attorney for a Philadelphia charter school urged the state Supreme Court on Tuesday to rule that the School Reform Commission overstepped its authority when it suspended parts of the state school code to cap charter-school enrollment. Robert W. O'Donnell, the lawyer, also argued that the 1998 law that led to the takeover of city schools violates the state constitution because it allows the SRC to suspend parts of the code "at will" without providing any standards to guide the suspensions.
NEWS
June 28, 2014 | By Martha Woodall and Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writers
In what the Philadelphia teachers' union hailed as a major victory, the state Supreme Court said Thursday that it would not get involved in whether the School Reform Commission has the authority to bypass seniority and impose other work rule changes. In the spring, the commission asked the state's top court to declare that it had the power under the state takeover law to impose the changes, including disregarding seniority for teacher assignments, transfers, layoffs and recalls. The 11,000-member Philadelphia Federation of Teachers opposed the SRC's moves.
NEWS
May 29, 2014 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court gave a rare bit of good news Tuesday to the cash-strapped Philadelphia School Reform Commission. The top court unanimously reversed a lower-court ruling that said the school district had illegally capped enrollment at Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School. The lower court had said the school should be paid $1.3 million from the district for students it had enrolled above the 675 enrollment maximum in its signed agreement. The Supreme Court overturned the lower court, said the charter was bound by the terms of an agreement it had signed with the district in 2005, and was not entitled to the additional money.
NEWS
August 8, 2013 | By Jessica Parks, Inquirer Staff Writer
A state court has agreed to an expedited review of Montgomery County's issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but it did not bar the county from issuing more licenses in the meantime. Commonwealth Court ordered the state to submit an argument by Monday against the marriage licenses' issuance. The county will then have until Aug. 19 to file an opposing argument. After that, the nine-member court will schedule arguments and issue a ruling "on an expedited basis," according to an order filed Tuesday morning.
NEWS
June 26, 2013 | By Colleen O'Dea, NJ SPOTLIGHT
In what one advocate called the most important victims- rights ruling in New Jersey history, the state Supreme Court ordered Monday that a criminal defendant does not have an absolute right to skip his sentencing hearing. While crime victims have legal and constitutional protection in the state, including the right to tell the court how the crime affected them, there is no statutory requirement that the person who committed the crime has to appear in court to listen to the victim's impact statement.
NEWS
June 19, 2013 | By Peter Jackson, Associated Press
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania's highest court on Monday unanimously rejected a challenge to a constitutional provision that requires judges to retire by the end of the year in which they turn 70. The state Supreme Court ruled on two lawsuits filed by judges who argued that the mandatory-retirement provision, part of a 1968 amendment, conflicted with an older section of the constitution that bars age discrimination. Writing for the majority, Justice Thomas Saylor said, "Theoretically at least there is some possibility that a constitutional amendment might impinge on inherent, inalienable rights otherwise recognized in the constitution itself.
NEWS
June 9, 2013 | By Troy Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
The state Supreme Court on Friday denied Mayor Nutter's request to hear arguments on whether the city should be allowed to impose a contract on 6,800 municipal workers represented by AFSCME District Council 33. The city filed suit in Common Pleas Court in February seeking to impose terms on its blue-collar workers. The proposal includes modest raises, potential furloughs, reduced overtime, and a new pension model for future employees. D.C. 33 employees, along with their white-collar counterparts in District Council 47, have been working without a new contract for nearly four years.
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