Notice from the Butler County Register of Wills & Clerk of Orphans' Court

From Judith Moser, MS, Butler County Register of Wills & Clerk of Orphans’ Court

December 12, 2012: Due to an increase in the instances of returned personal and non-attorney checks, the Butler County Register of Wills & Clerk of Orphans’ Court, finds it necessary to establish the following policy for payment of all fees and monies due the Register.

Beginning March 1, 2013 and thereafter, the only acceptable form of payment will be a certified check, attorney check, attorney trust fund check or U.S. money order.

Attorneys should notify their clients of this pending policy revision. 

Notice from the Court Administrator

Conflict Counsel Positions Available

The Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas will be hiring conflict counsel to work under a contract at the rate of $40,000 on the assignment of 75 court cases per year. Conflict Counsel will represent criminal case defendants for whom it is a conflict for the Public Defender’s office to represent. Conflict counsel will not represent defendants who are charged with murder and will not be required to handle appeals under the Post Conviction Relief Act. Interested attorney may apply by sending a letter of interest to the Court Administrator’s office, Attention: Tami Silvis, as soon as possible.

Notice on Civil/Orphans' Court Motions

Judge McCormick, Jr., will not be hearing civil or orphans’ court motions on Friday, December 21, 2012. Counsel should make arrangements to present motions on a prior or subsequent Friday.

Notice from the Court Administrator

Attention Family Court Attorneys

As a reminder all Custody Complaints, Custody Modification and Contempt Petitions, and Emergency Custody petitions that are filed with the the Prothonotary’s office should include a copy for the Family Court Administrator along with the original. The Prothonotary’s office will forward the copy to the Family Court Administrator. Thank you for your cooperation and assistance in this matter.

New forms break down language barriers for families

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s Judiciary is offering protection from abuse forms in multiple languages to help address domestic violence issues in families who are not proficient in English.

The new forms underscore the state court system’s long-standing commitment to promote equal access to justice regardless of racial, gender and ethnic background. Posted online to provide easy access, the forms are an important part of civil court proceedings, and failure to understand and complete them properly can delay or invalidate proceedings.

“Court proceedings can be hard to understand, even if you speak English,” said Chief Justice of Pennsylvania Ronald D. Castille. “These new forms help ensure that all citizens have full access to the court system and its resources by being able to access documents in the person’s native language.”

More than a dozen forms related to the process of obtaining protection orders — in 10 of the state’s most common non-English languages — now are posted on the Unified Judicial System’s website: Visitors can access the forms at the bottom of the home page under the area labeled “Forms.”

The forms are available in: Arabic, Simplified Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Khmer (Cambodian), Korean, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian and Vietnamese. The documents are in a bilingual format with the left hand column in English, and the right hand side in the foreign language.

Senior Judge Courtroom now open

From Paul Kuntz, Court Administrator

REMINDER: The Senior Judge Courtroom, located between the Pro Bono Office and the Lawyers Meeting Room on the fourth floor of the Courthouse Annex, is now open. Most senior judge proceedings will be held in this new facility. Please check your Notice and report to the Senior Judge Courtroom if so indicated.

Notice from the Court Administrator

Attention Criminal Defense Attorneys

As a reminder, if your client is accepting a tentative plea, ARD, etc. that was offered at the Magisterial District Judge level, both you and your client MUST appear on the scheduled formal arraignment date. This is the date that the plea, ARD, etc. will be taken by the Judge.

Notice on Civil/Orphans' Court motions

President Judge Caruso will not be hearing civil/orphans’ court motions on Friday, September 28, 2012, or Friday, October 19, 2012. Counsel should make arrangements to present motions on prior or subsequent Fridays.

Judge McCormick, Jr., will be hearing civil/orphans’ court motions on Thursday, September 27, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. and not on Friday, September 28, 2012.

Judge Marsili will not be hearing civil/orphans’ court motions on Friday, September 28, 2012. Counsel should make arrangements to present motions on a prior or subsequent Friday.

Judge McCormick, Jr., will hear motions on October 5, 2012, for President Judge Caruso.

Supreme Court redistricting hearing will be telecast live by PCN

HARRISBURG – The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania announced that its entire Sept. 13 oral argument session, which includes hearings on the state’s second legislative redistricting plan and the voter ID law, will be televised live on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN). The hearings are being held in the court’s Philadelphia City Hall courtroom.

Oral arguments will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Supreme Court’s Philadelphia courtroom, room 456 of City Hall. Strict decorum will be observed. Because of limited seating, observers will be admitted on a first come, first served basis. Once the courtroom is full, those not admitted may wait in line to take a seat as those who were seated leave.

The sessions held on the 11th and 12th will be taped for future airing by PCN.

Attorneys representing abused and neglected children receive new training tool

HARRISBURG—A new training video, believed to be the first of its kind in the country, will assist guardians ad litem—attorneys who represent the specific legal needs of abused and neglected children in dependency courts.  
The video is another tool to help the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reach its goal of moving abused and neglected children to safe and permanent homes without delay.

“Guardians ad litem who represent children in dependency matters have very specific responsibilities,” Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Max Baer said.  “The training is designed to ensure that abused and neglected children, those often least capable of articulating their own interests before the court, are receiving high-quality legal representation.  We are confident these efforts will significantly help in our overall goal to ensure that every child grows up in a safe, nurturing and permanent family.”
The specialized training for guardians ad litem meets requirements of the Federal Child Abuse Treatment and Prevention Act and will allow Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare (DPW) to continue receiving approximately $950,000 annually of critical federal dollars supporting the services to abused/neglected children and their families.
New guardians ad litem will be required to complete the pre-service video training if the county wants to receive future funding from the DPW’s Office of Children and Youth to help pay for guardian ad litem services in dependency cases.  The training video was developed by the Supreme Court’s Office of Children and Families in the Courts (OCFC) in conjunction with DPW's Office of Children, Youth and Families, and a Legal Representation Workgroup which included judges, attorneys, and children welfare professionals, co-chaired by Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Kelley Streib and Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Administrative Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy.
The training video follows OCFC’s 2011 efforts to provide specific training to more than 600 attorneys who had been representing children and parents in dependency cases.

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