June 9, 2014
With the exception of a slightly sore thumb, Carol Anne Bond's attempt to poison her husband's mistress missed the mark. But the Lansdale microbiologist's potion - mixed from chemicals gleaned from her workplace, at Rohm & Haas, and, alarmingly enough, some browsing on Amazon.com - had an intoxicating effect on the Supreme Court. Not only did Bond v. United States culminate last week in a Supreme Court opinion loaded with unappetizing references to toxic burritos and poisoned fish.
June 4, 2014 |
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday threw out the conviction of a Lansdale woman who tried to poison a romantic rival, ruling unanimously that federal prosecutors in Philadelphia overreacted by charging her under antiterrorism law. Though her lawyers called the decision a victory, it came too late for Carol Anne Bond, 42, who served six years in federal prison after pleading guilty to chemical weapons charges in 2007. In an opinion dripping with sarcasm, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. chided prosecutors in Philadelphia for equating "an amateur attempt by a jilted wife to injure her husband's lover" with an attack prohibited under a 1997 treaty banning chemical weapons.
May 18, 2014 |
The state Supreme Court has granted a temporary restraining order that bars the Philadelphia School Reform Commission from taking action against a charter school. It marks the first time the top court has entered the dispute over the powers the commission has to ignore state law in order to protect its finances by managing charter enrollment. On Thursday, the court approved West Philadelphia Achievement Charter Elementary School's request to decide whether the law that led to the state takeover of the district in 2001 permits the SRC to suspend parts of other laws to deal with the district's financial crisis.
May 10, 2014 |
Pennsylvania's Supreme Court agreed Thursday to resolve the contested key legal theory underpinning the landmark 2012 prosecution of the first Catholic Church official charged in the clergy child-sex-abuse scandal. The state's highest court will thus decide the future of Msgr. William J. Lynn, the former Archdiocese of Philadelphia official responsible for investigating and recommending punishment for priests accused of sexual and other misconduct. It could also dictate the standards for prosecutors to bring future charges against any church officials accused of covering up misconduct by clergy they supervise.
April 27, 2014 |
MEDFORD New Jersey's appeals court has upheld a 2012 Superior Court ruling that dismissed developer Stephen D. Samost's $60 million lawsuit against Medford Township. Samost and one of his firms, Medford Village East Associates, sought the compensation on the ground that the township was obliged to make good on a failed arrangement to redevelop a 280-acre Samost-owned site off Route 70 near Eayrestown Road. First proposed in 1996, the project envisioned a shopping center to be called Medford Crossings and a residential component, Medford Village East, that ultimately called for 750 single-family homes and apartments.
April 25, 2014
'Simplistic" is how Justice Sonia Sotomayor described the reasoning of a Supreme Court majority that effectively upheld laws in seven states banning affirmative action by colleges and universities. She's right. The 6-2 decision suggests a nation that no longer needs to directly address the vestiges of past discrimination, which have left minority communities poorer, sicker, and educationally deprived. Beyond that, the ruling suggests the courts need not intervene when a state executes a law that was properly enacted through a viable democratic process.
April 16, 2014 |
THE PHILADELPHIA School Partnership and PennCAN, two controversial education-reform groups, want the state's highest court to decide whether the School Reform Commission can impose work-rule changes on teachers. The two pro-school-choice organizations sought the review in an amicus brief filed yesterday with the state Supreme Court. It "is crucial for this Court to fully consider this case and breathe life into the legislative command that the [SRC] is to be empowered with the flexibility to quickly respond in times of budgetary crisis and provide for the long-term sustainability of City public education," the filing read.
April 13, 2014 |
PHILADELPHIA It's been 18 months since Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Willis W. Berry Jr. retired on the day he was to pay a $180,000 civil fraud judgment involving a property that a jury found he acquired by deceiving a client. Now, that same ethical violation has cost the 71-year-old Berry his license to practice law for the next year. The state Supreme Court on Wednesday approved without comment the suspension recommended in October by its lawyer Disciplinary Board. The board's report called Berry's violation "serious misconduct" that requires suspension to "protect the public and preserve the integrity of the legal profession.
April 9, 2014 |
The Philadelphia School Reform Commission told the state Supreme Court on Monday it's important for the court to rule quickly on whether the commission has the power to impose work rule changes for teachers next fall. The SRC's filing is the latest volley in a legal dispute between the SRC and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers over the powers granted to the commission by the law that led to the 2001 state takeover of city schools. Two weeks ago, the commission asked the state's top court to declare that it has the authority to make unilateral work-rule changes, including disregarding seniority for teacher assignments, transfers, layoffs, and recalls.
April 5, 2014 |
The Philadelphia teachers union on Thursday asked the state Supreme Court to toss out the School Reform Commission's request for unilateral authority to change work rules for teachers. In its filing, the 11,000-member Philadelphia Federation of Teachers challenged the commission's assertion. The PFT said nearly every change the SRC wants to make on its own - including disregarding seniority for new teacher assignments - has been subject to collective bargaining for years. "This action by the SRC and its new chairman, Bill Green, is just the latest attempt by the commission - an unelected and unaccountable body - to strip teachers and other school employees of their rights, but even more important, the SRC's actions do nothing to improve the learning conditions for our city's children," PFT president Jerry Jordan said in a statement.