May 15, 2015 |
Voters may know the names of three candidates for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, but probably not as famed jurists. Dwayne Woodruff was a Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback for 13 years. Kevin Dougherty's brother is union leader and Philadelphia political player John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty. David Wecht is the son of forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht, renowned for investigations into the deaths of Elvis Presley and JonBenet Ramsey. In Tuesday's primary, the name may be the thing that gets them votes.
May 7, 2015
TODAY, LET'S think about possibility. Specifically, the possibility our state Supreme Court upholds the Constitution more often than when the mood strikes it to do so. I mention this because of a record three vacancies on the seven-member court to be filled by election this year, and because, you know, one can always hope. Let's concede that law can be a malleable thing, subject to circumstance and politics. In this state it's massaged into various shapes, sometimes avoiding constitutional dictates.
May 5, 2015
JUDICIAL ELECTIONS are like chloroform: colorless and capable of rendering one unconscious. That we hold them statewide is an affront to common sense. Nobody knows the candidates. Their campaigns are funded by those seeking favor with the court. And qualifications to serve are almost immaterial. But that Pennsylvania is one of just six states holding partisan elections of state judges is no surprise. We are, after all, the Land of Low Expectations. Take our Supreme Court - please.
May 4, 2015 |
When Gov. Christie takes his case to the state Supreme Court this week in a dispute over pension funding, his administration will make a highly unusual argument: that a law the governor signed in 2011 is unconstitutional. Legal experts say it's a rare approach, perhaps unprecedented in New Jersey. Lawmakers are closely watching how the Supreme Court will rule; its decision could have significant ramifications for the state budget, for the fiscal year that ends June 30 and for the next.
May 1, 2015 |
A COMMON PLEAS judge yesterday ordered Monsignor William Lynn - the nation's first Catholic Church official convicted of endangering children in his role as a supervisor - back to prison. Lynn, 64, dressed in a white turtleneck, gray sweatshirt and blue jeans, his pink-hued face appearing rounder than it did when he was released from prison in January 2014, seemed resigned to his fate. During the half-hour hearing before Judge M. Teresa Sarmina, Lynn solemnly looked in front of him, his head bowed, his hands clasped on the defense table.
April 29, 2015 |
The landmark child-endangerment conviction of Msgr. William J. Lynn - the first Catholic Church official found guilty for his role supervising priests in the clergy sex-abuse scandal - was reinstated Monday by Pennsylvania's Supreme Court. Writing for the 4-1 majority of the state's high court, Justice Max Baer said Superior Court erred when it reversed Lynn's conviction because he did not directly supervise children. At issue was whether a 2007 amendment to the child-endangerment statute, which specifically included supervisory personnel as open to criminal culpability, expanded the original 1995 law or simply clarified it. If the amendments just expanded the law, Lynn would have been unconstitutionally convicted for acts that predated the amendments.
April 17, 2015 |
A month before the primary election, millions of dollars are flowing into the unprecedented race to fill three seats on Pennsylvania's Supreme Court. Topping the money list of the 12 candidates is Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Kevin Dougherty, thanks in part to a group not typically associated with the high court: organized labor. Of the $707,931 he had collected through March, more than half came from laborers and at least $302,000 from one union: the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers - led locally by his politically influential older brother, John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty.
April 8, 2015 |
New Jersey's highest court will hear the Christie administration's appeal in a case over funding of the state's pension system. The New Jersey Supreme Court on Monday issued an order that set oral arguments in the case for May 6. The order comes as Gov. Christie seeks to reverse a judge's February decision that said the governor broke the law in June when he slashed the state's payment to the pension system for public employees by $1.6 billion for...
April 2, 2015 |
Update : Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, to whom office the case has been referred, said Wednesday that in view of the state Supreme Court's decision, her office would review the grand jury case and investigate further if need be before determining if harges are warranted "against any individual. " Earlier Story: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected state Attorney General Kathleen Kane's challenge to a grand jury's recommendation that she face criminal charges.
April 1, 2015 |
IT'S THAT TIME of year when those seeking to be elected to a judgeship get judged themselves. A dozen bench candidates in the May 19 primary would likely object - if they could - to the "not recommended" rating they received from the Philadelphia Bar Association. Four others, however, were the first to receive the newly added "highly recommended" rating. Also for the first time, the bar association has rated appellate court candidates from Philadelphia. Bar association chancellor Albert Dandridge said a record 59 candidates for Common Pleas Court and Municipal Court will be evaluated this spring.