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PBA President Issues Statement on Suspension of Justice McCaffery

The Pennsylvania Bar Association today released the following statement to the statewide media:

Pennsylvania Bar Association President Issues Statement on Suspension of Supreme Court Justice Seamus P. McCaffery

HARRISBURG (Oct. 21, 2014) — Pennsylvania Bar Association President Francis X. O’Connor today issued the following statement about the sending of inappropriate email by Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus P. McCaffery and his suspension from duties:

“The recent discovery of the sending of inappropriate email by a member of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has cast a cloud over our Commonwealth’s highest court. In suspending Justice McCaffery, the Supreme Court has taken steps to deal with this unfortunate situation in order to protect the dignity of the justice system and promote public confidence in the judiciary.

There are almost a thousand judges within the Commonwealth, many of whom go to work early in the morning, work until late in the day and do a commendable job for the residents of Pennsylvania. They deserve nothing less than the respect we give them.

As members of Pennsylvania’s legal profession, we hope that our justices will deal with this regrettable situation in a professional manner, and the designated disciplinary bodies will perform their work efficiently and effectively.”

PBA Launches 2014 Public Information Campaign on Education Rights

From the Pennsylvania Bar Association

PBA Public Education campaign

The PBA and 25 county bar associations launched an October 2014 statewide informational campaign, “Have a Voice in Your Exceptional Child’s Education,” which provides parents and guardians an overview of the special education rights of students with disabilities and mentally gifted students.

"In Pennsylvania, there are educational rights in place designed to protect children who have mental and physical challenges that hinder their development,” said Francis X. O’Connor, PBA president. “There also are education rights in place for children with outstanding intellectual and creative abilities. In creating this campaign, the PBA felt it important to provide some basic information to parents and guardians about these rights, how the assessment processes to identify disabilities and giftedness get started, and where parents and guardians can turn when they need more information."

The campaign is funded by the PBA and a grant from the Pennsylvania Bar Insurance and Trust Fund. It is the 12th in a series of statewide public education efforts waged under the direction of the PBA Community and Public Relations Committee. The PBA Legal Services for Exceptional Children Committee served as a partner in the effort.

Local bar associations from the following counties are participating in the campaign: Beaver, Berks, Butler, Centre, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Fayette, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, Washington, Westmoreland and York.

Get the brochures:

Education Rights for Students with Disabilities

Education Rights for Mentally Gifted Students

New Certificate of Readiness form adopted, effective immediately

A new Certificate of Readiness form was adopted by the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County on September 18, 2014, and is effective immediately. The order and form can be accessed online at http://www.westbar.org/local_rules.

Notice on civil/orphans' court motions

NOTICE: President Judge McCormick, Jr. will not be hearing civil and orphans’ court motions on the following Fridays: October 31, 2014, and November 7, 2014.

Judge Marsili will handle President Judge McCormick, Jr.’s motions on November 7, 2014, only.

This Just In: Board Issues Public Discipline Press Releases to Local Media

From the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

Historically, the publication of news of the disbarment or suspension of attorneys has been low-key. Notices were issued to newspapers in the area where the lawyer practiced, for publication in the little-read legal notices section of the classified ads. Public discipline is also posted on the Board’s website. The Disciplinary Board believes that communities should know when discipline is imposed on one of their bar, so that practice is changing. The Disciplinary Board has begun issuing press releases of disbarment and suspension cases to media outlets in the market where the disciplined lawyer practices.

“As members of the Disciplinary Board, our duty is to assist the Supreme Court in protecting the public, preserving the integrity of the legal profession and safeguarding the reputation of our courts and the legal system,” said R. Burke McLemore, Jr., Chair of the Disciplinary Board. “By raising awareness of attorney discipline, we highlight our commitment to achieving these goals by demonstrating to the public how the profession is policing itself.”

The decision to focus additional efforts on raising public awareness of such actions arose in part from an incident earlier this year when a Dauphin County lawyer failed to notify his clients that he was forced to surrender his law license.

2015 Civil Court Calendars

NOTICE: The 2015 Civil Court Calendars are available in the Court Administrator’s Office, Civil Division Room M10.

Civil trial lists on the Web coming soon

 Notice from the Court Administrator

Beginning with January, 2015, the Civil Trial Lists will be posted on the Court’s Web Page, and updated one week prior to the trial term. Copies of the trial lists will no longer be mailed to litigants and attorneys.

Once a Certificate of Readiness is filed, all objections decided, and a Pretrial Conference Set, the parties will be responsible for checking the trial lists posted at www.co.westmoreland.pa.us.  That posting will be the only Notice you receive.

Free Casemaker Webinars This Fall

 From the Pennsylvania Bar Association

Casemaker legal research
Casemaker, the PBA's online legal research "Preferred Partner," is offering free, one-hour webinars this fall geared specifically to the Pennsylvania lawyer. Click on any of the following dates to sign up for a webinar: 
Tuesday, Sept. 23, noon to 1 p.m.; Tuesday, Sept. 30, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.; Tuesday, Oct. 14, noon to 1 p.m. Casemaker is free to PBA members, and the webinars are being made available to non-members so they can see what they're missing in Casemaker's easy-to-use suite of premium services. Lawyer non-members, find out more about Casemaker in these tutorial videos, read about all the benefits of PBA membership, including free online legal research, and join the PBA now.

In re: Publication of Social Security Numbers

IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS of WESTMORELAND COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA 
CIVIL DIVISION 
CRIMINAL DIVISION
ORPHANS’ COURT
Number 3 of 2014

IN RE: PUBLICATION OF SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS

ORDER

AND NOW this 28TH day of August, 2014, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the order dated August 21, 2014, IN RE: Publication of Social Security Numbers and Confidential Information, is RESCINDED.

From this date forward, the Westmoreland County Prothonotary, Register of Wills and Clerk of Courts will make a copy of any filing that contains a Social Security Number and redact the Social Security Number on the copy prior to scanning the copy for public view. The un-redacted original shall be filed in the official case file.

In the event a party requests the removal of a Social Security Number from an already scanned document, the appropriate Records’ Office shall, without further Order of Court, remove the scanned document and replace it with a scanned redacted copy. The un-redacted original shall be filed in the official case file.

BY THE COURT:
/s/ Richard E. McCormick, Jr., PJ

Notice on audit of accounts

All audits scheduled for Tuesday, September 9, 2014, are continued to Tuesday, October 7, 2014.

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