HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a controversial bill today prohibiting abortion after a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome. The legislation would create a new crime of performing an abortion if the patient has chosen to have the procedure because of the diagnosis.
HARRISBURG - Centre County District Attorney Bernie Cantorna announced today that the State College police officer who shot and killed Osaze Osagie will not be charged with criminal wrongdoing. Osagie, a 29-year-old African-American man, was killed in his home in March when officers were serving a mental health warrant.
PITTSBURGH - The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania announced a settlement this afternoon in its federal civil rights challenge against the McKeesport Area School District for the district’s refusal to approve a proposed Black Student Union club. Under the terms of the settlement, the 11 students represented by the ACLU of Pennsylvania will be able to form their club within ten days of submitting an application. The agreement also requires the district to extend the “same rights, privileges and benefits that they provide to any other non-curricular student activity.”
PHILADELPHIA - A federal appeals court ruled today that the city of Philadelphia is entitled to require its taxpayer-funded child welfare agencies to abide by its nondiscrimination requirements. Catholic Social Services in Philadelphia had sought the ability to use religious criteria to turn away same-sex couples as prospective foster families.
PHILADELPHIA - The Mahanoy Area School District filed a notice of appeal today in B.L. v. Mahanoy Area School District. The school district seeks reversal of a district court ruling that the school district violated a student’s free speech rights when it removed her from the cheerleading squad as punishment for a Snapchat post containing profanity that she made on the weekend, off campus, and on her own smartphone.
PITTSBURGH - Eleven students from McKeesport Area High School filed a federal civil rights lawsuit today against the school district for denying the students permission to form a student club called the “Black Student Union.” The students, who are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, proposed the establishment of the McKeesport Black Student Union, but school administrators consistently diverted the students by requiring new conditions and eventually by refusing to approve the club. District Superintendent Mark Holtzman, Jr., who has publicly expressed his displeasure with both the name and mission of the Black Student Union, recruited a group of students to form another club called the McKeesport Student Union, for the purpose of “fun activities,” according to a press report.
HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed legislation today known as Marsy’s Law, which amends the state constitution to add language related to the rights of victims of crime. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania has criticized the legislation out of concern that it will diminish the ability of people who are accused of crimes to defend themselves and that it will give the government more power in prosecuting cases.
HARRISBURG - On Wednesday, an officer employed by the State College Police Department in Centre County shot and killed Osaze Osagie, a 29-year-old African-American man who appeared to be having a mental health crisis. Officers were serving a mental health warrant, which is issued when a person may be subject to involuntary commitment under Pennsylvania law, on Osagie at his apartment.
HARRISBURG – The team of public interest lawyers who brought two federal civil rights challenges against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for its policy of copying and storing legal mail announced today that they had reached the final terms of a settlement with the department. The settlement was finalized in a filing with the federal district court overseeing the cases.
PITTSBURGH – After a jury in Allegheny County this evening found former police officer Michael Rosfeld not guilty for killing teenager Antwon Rose II in East Pittsburgh borough last summer, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania responded with a statement calling for reforms in policing that promote transparency and accountability.