HARRISBURG - In response to a legal challenge to the cash bail practices of Philadelphia courts, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania announced yesterday that it will open an investigation into the “alleged systemic failures” of the Philadelphia bail system. The court agreed to hear the case under its “King’s Bench” powers, through which it supervises lower courts and which the court reserves for matters it considers of “great public importance.” The court assigned Judge John M. Cleland, a senior judge of the Court of Common Pleas of McKean County, as special master to oversee the inquiry.
HARRISBURG - The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania today filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Pennsylvania State Police and seven troopers on behalf of 10 motorists, alleging that the troopers targeted the motorists for vehicle stops because they are Latinx and then unlawfully detained them - some for hours at a time - to investigate their immigration status.
HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Senate today passed legislation, known as Marsy’s Law, to amend the state constitution to include language related to the rights of alleged victims of crime. The Senate vote follows passage by the House earlier in the legislative session, so, because the bill has passed in two consecutive sessions, the proposed amendment to the constitution will presumably be considered by voters in the general election in November.
PHILADELPHIA - A state court heard its first arguments today in a constitutional challenge to Pennsylvania’s absentee voting deadline. The hearing before the Commonwealth Court, which convened in Philadelphia, centered around motions to dismiss parts of the lawsuit filed by Pennsylvania legislative leaders, Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar, and Governor Tom Wolf .
PHILADELPHIA - An investigation published by Buzzfeed News today reveals that hundreds of officers in the Philadelphia Police Department have used Facebook as a platform for celebrating police violence and demeaning people in the communities where they work, especially people of color.
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court today declined to hear Doe v. Boyertown Area School District, allowing school districts to continue to support transgender students by allowing them to use restrooms that match their gender.
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.