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NEWS
November 4, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis and Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writers
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin's emails were "juvenile and repugnant," and offensive to women and minorities, but any discipline for his conduct should be left to the Judicial Conduct Board, a special counsel to the high court has concluded. The special counsel's 25-page report, however, left unanswered a key question: whether two previous reviews of the justice's messages had failed to flag the offensive content, and if so, why. The report released Monday found that Eakin, using a personal email account, exchanged messages containing crude jokes between 2008 and mid-2014 that "would be offensive to women, African Americans, immigrants, and other groups.
NEWS
October 28, 2015 | By Robert Moran, Inquirer Staff Writer
State Sen. Anthony H. Williams called Tuesday for the resignation of a state Supreme Court justice embroiled in the porn email controversy. The Philadelphia Democrat said the removal of J. Michael Eakin was an important first step toward restoring public confidence in the integrity of the state's judiciary. "His existence on the bench is a major distraction for the highest court in Pennsylvania," Williams said in an interview after making similar comments at a news conference in Harrisburg.
NEWS
October 28, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - The state Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a lower court decision that Gov. Wolf overstepped his authority when he fired the state's Office of Open Records chief just weeks after taking office. In a 3-1 decision, the justices said Commonwealth Court was correct when it forced Wolf in June to formally reinstate Erik Arneson. The ousting of Arneson from the $140,000-a-year job was Wolf's brashest move in his first month, sparking acrimony between the new governor and the Republican-led legislature that has lingered through the year.
NEWS
October 27, 2015
IT SORT OF makes sense. An ongoing porn mess paints the state's highest court and the extended criminal-justice system as some lewd lodge of lascivious men. A certain attorney general suggests that all her legal woes, maybe all that's evil anywhere, is due to a cabal of crass, craven men. So the solution seems simple: Let women run things. And that's exactly what's proposed by an unlikely source: the Pennsylvania Business Council, whose more than 150 members include major corporations, such as U.S. Steel, PECO, PNC, Shell and Hershey.
NEWS
October 27, 2015 | BY WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writer benderw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5255
CLAUDIA Brenner survived five gunshot wounds from a deranged mountain man near the Appalachian Trail - only to be humiliated on the witness stand by a defense lawyer who wanted to portray Brenner and her dead girlfriend as reckless lesbians who might've brought the shooting on themselves. Brenner's girlfriend, Rebecca Wight, 28, was killed that day in 1988 along the Rocky Knob Trail in south-central Pennsylvania. The gunman, Stephen Roy Carr, was convicted of first-degree murder and is serving a life prison sentence.
NEWS
October 26, 2015 | By Chris Palmer, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - The low-wattage contest for Pennsylvania's Supreme Court got a few jolts of energy last week, thanks to a blitz of television ads and the release of pornographic emails tied to a sitting justice. Probably not what the seven candidates envisioned when they launched their campaigns. After all, their race is the only one nationwide this year for a state's high court. And it's the first time since a British monarch ruled the state that three of the court's seven seats are simultaneously up for grabs - meaning either party could secure a majority on a bench tasked with interpreting far-reaching laws.
NEWS
October 26, 2015 | Inquirer Editorial Board
Three hundred eleven years ago, the last time Pennsylvania's highest court had three vacancies, their replacements were up to the royal governor and, by extension, the queen. The three court vacancies to be filled on Nov. 3, two of them due to scandal, don't reflect the best work of the democracy that determines the composition of today's state Supreme Court. Dramatic reform, not to say another revolution, is in order. Fortunately, Pennsylvanians have the power to reshape the court this time, as well as a field of promising candidates to do so. How to retrieve a high court from a low point?
NEWS
October 26, 2015 | By Craig R. McCoy and Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Staff Writers
After months of punishing headlines, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane has struck back hard. She took another swipe at a familiar target: the so-called old boys' network. In doing so, she proved the merit of a well-worn political adage: when in trouble, change the subject. On Oct. 1, the day she was charged with a fresh count of perjury, Kane accused a Supreme Court justice of exchanging emails that included "racial, misogynistic pornography. " On Thursday, the day the suspension of her law license took effect, she made public 48 crude emails of Justice J. Michael Eakin's.
NEWS
October 22, 2015 | By Mark Fazlollah, Inquirer Staff Writer
Former Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas M. Nocella, who was removed from the bench after being found to have committed numerous misdeeds, now has lost his law license, the state Supreme Court announced Tuesday. The decision is the latest action against Nocella, 71. In 2013, he was permanently barred from holding a judgeship for a variety of reasons, including failing to disclose to the Philadelphia Bar Association such things as judgments against him and his troubles with the city ethics board.
NEWS
October 16, 2015 | BY WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writer benderw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5255
PENNSYLVANIA Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin broke his silence yesterday and apologized for his involvement in a convoluted email scandal that continues to smolder around the state. Eakin is facing renewed scrutiny after the Daily News last week reported on inappropriate emails he had sent or received using a Yahoo email address he created under the name "John Smith. " The emails - some containing nudity and racist or sexist jokes and videos - wound up on state servers because the sender or one of the recipients was an employee of the state Attorney General's Office and used their government email address.
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