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.

Judicial Conduct Board releases 2011 annual report

From Joseph A. Massa, Jr., Chief Counsel, Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania

The Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania has issued its 2011 Annual Report which is available on line at the Board’s website: The Report provides comprehensive information on the Board’s authority and procedures, statistical data on Board cases, summaries of disciplinary action, and an index of all pending case filings, identified only by case number.
The Board received 711 complaints during the 2011 calendar year reflecting a greater scrutiny of judicial conduct.

Notice from the Register of Wills

Michael Ginsburg, Register of Wills for Westmoreland County is pleased to announce his office is accepting credit and debit cards for all fees excluding inheritance tax payments. Mike Ginsburg further reports that his office will gladly accept card payments over the phone for office services that had previously required the mailing of a personal check. This will dramatically improve the turn around time for constituents receiving genealogy information, short certificates and certified copies of marriage licenses. For your convenience Visa, Master Card and Discover is accepted.

Notice from the Clerk of Courts

Please be advised that the following Order was issued by the President Judge Gary P. Caruso on July 9, 2012

AND NOW, to wit, this 9th day of July, 2012 I direct, pursuant to 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 9728(g) that, effective on the 1st day of August, 2012, a one-time administrative fee of Eleven Dollars and fifty-cents ($11.50) be imposed in all cases disposed of by the Court. Payments of any and all court-imposed financial obligations must be allocated to satisfy the payment of this fee, thereafter, allocation is administered by the Clerk of Courts as required.

Westmoreland Law Journal rates to increase August 1, 2012

The WBA Board of Directors approved an increase in advertising rates for the Westmoreland Law Journal, effective August 1, 2012. Download a new rate card at, or call 724-834-7260 to have one mailed to you. The new rates are as follows:

  • Change of Name* > $100.00
  • Corporate Notice* (Articles of Incorporation, Certificate of Authority, Certificate of Organization, Dissolution, etc.) > $100.00
  • Estate** (effective July 1, 2012) > $100.00
  • Fictitious Name* > $100.00
  • Trust* (Runs three consecutive weeks) > $100.00
  • Other Notices > $2.50 per line, per week
  • Proof of Publication > $3.00 each
  • Annual Subscription (E-mail or regular mail delivery) > $52.00

* Cost includes one proof of publication. This notice must be PREPAID. Make check payable to: Westmoreland Law Journal.
** Through Register of Wills office when filing Petition for Letters. Cost includes one proof of publication.

Notice on Civil/Orphans' Court Motions

Judge Anthony G. Marsili will not be hearing civil or orphans’ court motions on Friday, July 13, 2012.

President Judge Gary P. Caruso, Judge Anthony G. Marsili, and Judge Richard E. McCormick, Jr., will not be hearing civil or orphans’ court motions on Friday, July 27, 2012.

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