October 6, 2013 |
JERRY LEWIS, uh-huh, that Jerry Lewis, the slapstick comic, looks Muhammad Ali right in the eye, and screeches, "You're a big bag of wind. " A startled Ali interrupts, sputtering. Lewis finally yelps, "Shut up and let me finish . . . you're a big bag of wind but you're one of the greatest entertainers . . . " It's just a moment in "The Trials of Muhammad Ali," a lively new documentary being shown at the Ritz at the Bourse. A defining moment? Entertainer? Is that what Ali was?
September 6, 2013 |
THE VINCE FUMO legal saga is marching on, possibly to its biggest stage yet. The former state senator, who is under house arrest in Spring Garden after leaving federal prison last month, is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn his 2009 conviction, arguing in part that the jurors saw media reports of evidence excluded from the trial and may have been biased against him. A date with the Supreme Court is an unlikely next chapter for Fumo's...
August 29, 2013 |
TRENTON - New Jersey drivers face fines for texting while driving and prison time when they cause death or injury. Now, a state appellate court has decided it's not just drivers who can wind up in trouble for texting: Message senders can also be held responsible in civil cases, if they know the recipient is driving and likely to read the text while behind the wheel. In an opinion published Tuesday, the appellate court agreed with a Morris County Superior Court judge's decision to dismiss a claim against a 17-year-old girl who texted 18-year-old Kyle Best before his pickup crossed the center line of a road and struck a husband and wife on their motorcycle.
August 27, 2013
A FEW DAYS before its 50th anniversary, we think of the March on Washington, and the civil-rights movement that it embodied, as a triumph of democracy. In the grand sense, this is true. Protest is by no means exclusive to democracies, but it's more at home in a democratic system than any other. The civil-rights movement extended the promise of democracy to many who had been denied it. But there were also aspects of the movement's victories that could be spun as undemocratic. Many Southern whites decried the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as an imposition of external values on the majorities of residents in their states (the internal value they were protecting, of course, was the right to discriminate)
August 26, 2013 |
The intense, searching eyes of Rand Spear beam out at you from a giant billboard as you drive north on I-95 in Philadelphia near the Cottman Avenue exit. It is really, really hard to look away, and that is the idea. "He Eats Insurance Companies For BREAKFAST!" proclaims the advertisement for Spear's personal-injury law firm, Spear, Greenfield & Richman P.C. Yum! Can I have a side of subrogation with that and maybe an order of joint and several liability? For decades, the rules of professional conduct banned attorney advertising.
August 24, 2013 |
The state's Gaming Control Board said Wednesday that local investors in the SugarHouse Casino had no legal standing to challenge the agency's awarding of a second casino license in Philadelphia. The board also asserted that under the state's gaming act, any challenge to its actions had to be made to the state Supreme Court, not Commonwealth Court. On July 29, minority investors in SugarHouse filed a complaint in Dauphin County Court to stop the board from reissuing a second license for a Philadelphia casino.
August 23, 2013
IN WHAT could be its most significant church-state case in decades, the Supreme Court will decide whether official prayers at government meetings that overwhelmingly favor one religion violate the First Amendment. Although the case involves a town in New York, not the federal government, the Obama administration has filed a "friend of the court" brief that is distinctly unfriendly to the separation of church and state. According to Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., the town council of Greece, N.Y., did not engage in an unconstitutional establishment of religion "merely because most prayer-givers are Christian and many or most of their prayers contain sectarian references.
August 22, 2013
Gov. Christie's latest Supreme Court nomination makes it clear that his destructive feud with Senate Democrats over the court's composition continues. For the second time, Christie broke with long-standing tradition by refusing to reappoint a sitting justice in good standing. Justice Helen Hoens' service will therefore come to the same undeserved end as that of John E. Wallace Jr. in 2010. Christie last week tapped Camden County Superior Court Judge Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina to take Hoens' place when her term expires in October.
August 22, 2013 |
How bad is witness intimidation in Philadelphia's criminal court system? Consider the case of Devin Smith, 27, charged in the beating death of 49-year-old Ramona Bell in a house on Salem Street in Frankford. Smith had a preliminary hearing Tuesday that ended after two hours with Municipal Court Judge Patrick F. Dugan ordering Smith to stand trial for murder despite two witnesses "going south" - and a member of the public being charged after taking pictures with a cellphone. Courtroom 306 in the Criminal Justice Center - murder court - is where all homicide preliminary hearings are held.
August 8, 2013 |
The state Court of Judicial Discipline has permanently removed Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas M. Nocella from the bench, saying he brought the court into disrepute by failing to disclose legal problems that included $1.7 million in tax liens and judgments. In an order issued Monday, the court barred Nocella from ever again holding a judgeship in Pennsylvania. The disciplinary court said Nocella misrepresented his qualifications to win the Philadelphia Bar Association's coveted designation as a "recommended" candidate for a judgeship.