Berks County Bar Association Board of Directors Statement
on Judicial Independence
In light of recent, critical comments by the President of the United States directed at members of our judicial branch of government while litigation was pending, and in light of the fact that judges who have been criticized, by rule, are not permitted to respond publicly, the Board of Directors of the Berks County Bar Association has decided that it is appropriate to issue this statement in support of our Federal Constitution.
Access to Courthouse/Family Dockets
Looking for a Lawyer?
Have you just been served with a complaint seeking to foreclose on your home or to change the child custody arrangement or to evict you from your apartment? Or are you considering bankruptcy?
You need to consult with an attorney. Our members are skilled attorneys who can fight for your rights, draft valid legal documents and stand by you in the courtroom. Don’t be misled by television ads for online legal forms. Notaries and petition preparers cannot give legal advice or accompany you to court. And “do-it-yourself” law is a fast lane to disaster. Our members know Pennsylvania law, are available for personal consultations and are accountable to you.
If you feel overwhelmed looking for the attorney right for you, go here for more information on what the Berks County Bar Association can do for you.
Foreclosure Mediation Program Continues
The Berks County Bar Association, in conjunction with the Berks County Courts and Neighborhood Housing Services, have created a program by which those threatened with the loss of their home can seek relief. The program began January 1 and is continuing. Those served with a complaint in a consumer debt or home mortgage case may take advantage of the program.
Read More› for a description of the program.
House approves tax reform bill
[JURIST] The US House of Representatives [official website] approved HR 1 [text, PDF], a bill which will overhaul the US tax code, by a vote of 227-205 [NYT report] on Thursday. The bill proposes a $1.5 trillion dollar tax cut for business and individuals throughout the country. The legislation currently proposes a cut in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. This would be a permanent drop in the tax rate with no set expiration date. Additionally, companies would also be allowed to deduct the cost of new machinery and equipment for five years and will also... Full Story››
Chief judge of EU Kosovo mission resigns alleging corruption
The chief judge of the EU's rule of law mission in Kosovo, Malcom Simmons, resigned Thursday over frustrations with corruption, he alleged in an interview [text, in French] with the French newspaper Le Monde. The mission, known as EULEX, exists to promote the rule of law in Kosovo, mentor lawyers and judges in that young nation's justice system, and participate in trying sensitive cases, specifically war crimes. The British judge Simmons says the reality of EULEX is a political mission backed by the EU. Before becoming the mission's chief judge he was pressured by then chief judge Charles Smith to... Full Story››
Russia lawmakers approve foreign media law
Russia's State Duma [official website, in Russian], the lower house of parliament, voted unanimously [legislative materials, in Russian; legislative materials, in Russian; legislative materials, in Russian] Thursday to require foreign media organizations to label their materials as the work of foreign agents. Additionally, the law could potentially force media organizations to disclose [AI report] their sources of funding, finances and staffing. Two broadcasters with ties to the US, which operate seven regional affiliates throughout Russia, stated they received letters [Current Time report, in Russian] from the Russian Justice Ministry indicating they could be affected should the bill become law. Next,... Full Story››
Transgender woman sues Massachusetts Department of Corrections for treatment in male prison
An unnamed transgender woman being held in an all-male prison in Massachusetts filed suit [complaint, PDF] Wednesday alleging unfair treatment. The lawsuit, filed by GLAD Legal Advocates and Defenders [advocacy website] in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts [official website], names the Massachusetts Department of Correction, Commissioner Thomas A. Turco III, MCI-Norfolk [official website] Superintendent Sean Medeiros, Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator James M. O'Gara Jr., and Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Clinical Services Stephanie Collins. Jane Doe's claim alleges that defendants have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act, and the Equal Protection and... Full Story››
LGBT Activist files federal lawsuit challenging Tennessee therapist law
An LGBT rights activist filed a federal lawsuit [complaint, pdf] Monday challenging a Tennessee law [text, pdf] that allows counselors to refuse to serve clients based on religious views. The law, signed in April 2016 [JURIST report] by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam [official website], allows therapists to refuse to treat patients based on religious objections, when that patient's "goals, outcomes or behaviors" conflict with the counselor's "sincerely held principles." The lawsuit was filed by activist Bleu Copas, a former Arabic translator and linguist for the US Army, who was honorably yet involuntarily discharged [AP report] in 2006 pursuant to the... Full Story››