Montgomery Bar Association | Montgomery County, PA
Domestic Violence Awareness and Pro Bono in Montgomery County
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Montgomery Bar Association | Montgomery County, PA
Magazine SIDEBAR COMMITTEE MEMBERS Co-Chairs Gary J. Friedlander, Esq. Dennis R. Meakim, Esq. Regular columnists: Joel B. Bernbaum, Esq. Jack Costello Peter J. Johnsen, Esq. Carla Marino, Esq.
In Every Issue : 4 President’s Message 17 Montgomery Bar Foundation 31 Restaurant Review 32 Book Review 36 Wiretaps 39 Upcoming Events
Jim Mathias Jules J. Mermelstein, Esq. Gail P. Roth, Esq. Denise S. Vicario, Esq. Nancy Walsh Robert R. Watson, Jr., Esq.
MBA STAFF George Cardenas IT Manager Jack Costello Marketing Manager Jim Mathias Director of Marketing, Communications and Public Affairs Nancy R. Paul Executive Director Nancy Walsh Program Coordinator The SIDEBAR Committee invites articles and news information of interest. Please send content to: MBA, c/o SIDEBAR Committee, P.O. Box 268, Norristown, PA 19404-0268 or email: email@example.com. The SIDEBAR Committee reserves the right to edit any material submitted and/or to omit the same from publication. Most articles are written by members for members.
MONTGOMERY BAR ASSOCIATION Serving the Profession and the Community since 1885
2016 OFFICERS Carolyn R. Mirabile, Esq., President Eric B. Smith, Esq., President-Elect Mary C. Pugh, Esq., Vice President Gregory R. Gifford, Esq., Treasurer Patrick J. Kurtas, Esq., Secretary
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PRO BONO 6 The Many Benefits of Pro Bono Work 8 Legal Aid is Ready to Help 9 .Legal Aid – 2016 Campaign for Justice 10 Cary Flitter Presents Cy Pres Award 11 Pro Bono: The Attorney/Paralegal Partnership 12 Legal Aid Golf Classic 14 Pro Bono Volunteers in the Court
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS 20 A Domestic Violence Victim’s Nightmare 21 Montgomery County Domestic Violence Resources 22 PFA Court Gets a Little Help From Some Friends 23 24-Hour Emergency PFA Relief 24 Domestic Violence Legal Network 24 Laurel House 25 Victim Services Center 26 .Women’s Center of Montgomery County 26 .Montgomery County Office of Children & Youth 27 Montgomery Child Advocacy Project Delaware Valley Legal Expo PA Mechanics’ Lien Law Changes I Survived the Tour De Shore MCAP Update Welcome Hon. Joseph P. Walsh A Word from USI Affinity MBA Celebrates National Night Out in Norristown Annual MBA Clambake Diversity Committee Honors Judge Daniel J. Clifford and Lindette C. Hassan, Esq. Sneak Preview – New MontgomeryBar.org SIDEBAR Magazine is published by Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc. 2921 Windmill Road, Reading, PA 19608 | HoffmannPublishing.com | 610.685.0914 FOR ADVERTISING INFO CONTACT: Karen Zach, 484-924-9911, Karen@HoffPubs.com
Carolyn R. Mirabile, Esq. Montgomery Bar Association President
MONTGOMERY BAR ASSOCIATION BUSINESS HOURS: Monday thru Friday 8:45 AM - 4:45 PM ADDRESS: 100 West Airy Street P.O. Box 268, Norristown, PA 19404-0268 PHONE AND FAX: Phone: 610-279-9660 Fax: 610-279-4321 & 610-279-4846
’m nearing the midpoint of my tenure as President of the Montgomery Bar Association and although much as been accomplished, there is still so much more to be done. It is an important time for the MBA, one where the fusion of long-held traditions and exciting new changes will place us at the starting gate of the MBA of the future. The lazy days of summer have ended, and we find ourselves immersed in the busy months of fall – a season of harvest, a call to action. These days of renewed vigor present the perfect opportunity to focus on some of the most important work that must be done by those of us who play a role in our justice system. October is both Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Pro Bono Month, aimed at focusing attention on two closely aligned issues, and this edition of SIDEBAR features articles which call our attention to – and call us to action for—both. Domestic Violence is a pervasive issue which affects us all, at least indirectly. Across the United States, 1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime; in addition to the unfathomable physical and emotional toll on its victims, the societal costs associated with this epidemic reach approximately $6 billion annually. This is not an issue reserved for a small pocket of the community, and clearly not one we can ignore. Throughout the month of October, individuals and organizations dedicated to providing crucial services to victims of Domestic Violence will be working to educate the entire community about the issue, available resources, and how to help. Of course, victims of Domestic Violence, as well as victims of countless other acts of injustice, often must rely on the assistance of generous volunteers. As attorneys, we are uniquely positioned to address specific needs which otherwise go unmet; quality legal assistance is essential to virtually all of these victims, but is often simply unattainable to those with limited resources. For example, in the past, low income individuals seeking a divorce would have to wait 6 to 8 months to wade through the process – sometimes even years if they were unable to attend a clinic provided bi-annually by Legal Aid. On behalf of the MBA, I asked for more volunteer attorneys and thanks to their efforts, the wait time for low income individuals seeking a divorce through Legal Aid is currently down to as low as 3 months.
Other examples of the impact of such generosity are abundant. Currently, nearly 250 MBA members serve as MCAP advocates, representing and protecting abused and neglected children throughout the county; these dedicated volunteers are a strong representation of the intersection of two important issues in the spotlight this month. Without the support of MCAP advocates, these children would have no voice in the courtroom; dedicated volunteers ensure that the interests of these young victims are represented and protected. Countless other pro bono volunteers donate their time and talents to worthy individuals and organizations throughout the community. Pro Bono month is dedicated to honoring those noble attorneys who generously provide this assistance to the most vulnerable members of our community, and to encourage ALL attorneys to join in on the effort. The Bar’s Access to Justice initiative provides a variety of opportunities which make it easier for even the busiest of attorneys to do their part. In honor of Pro Bono month, I strongly encourage each of you to make a commitment to reserve a small portion of your busy schedules for this important work. You can contact Nancy Walsh, the Access to Justice Coordinator at the Bar, to get your name on this ever-growing list of dedicated volunteers, whom the Bar will be honoring in various ways this month and throughout the year. As a family law attorney, I am specifically invested in the two important issues on which we focus this month, and ask for you to make October – Domestic Violence Awareness and Pro Bono Month – a time for new (or renewed) commitment to increasing your awareness of and assistance with both.
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Domestic Violence Awareness & Pro Bono MONTH
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The Many Benefits of Pro Bono Work By Nancy Walsh
The most important step in ensuring the success of the MBA’s Access to Justice initiative is to increase the number of members who regularly include some form of pro bono work in their already burdensome routines.
Of course, many already do. This Association is filled with people who endlessly give their time and talents to those in need, and their efforts are inspiring. Each has his or her own reason for committing to such work, and certainly needs no persuasion of its value—people who do pro bono work tend to keep doing it. This appeal is for those of you who remain unconvinced. Quite a few factors prompt attorneys to devote time in their busy schedules to volunteer efforts. Some commit to the work because they are compelled by the sheer volume of need. Indeed, that need is great, and ever-increasing. Currently, state funding for civil legal aid is only one-quarter of the inflation-adjusted level of 40 years ago, and only 20% of low-income people who need an attorney are able to obtain one1. Generally, when people are in need of legal assistance, they are experiencing the most vulnerable and challenging times of their lives; being forced to navigate those challenges without the much-needed expertise of a lawyer magnifies the vulnerability exponentially. The existence of this large access to justice gap in our community serves as the impetus for many to commit to pro bono service. In short – somebody needs to help those who cannot help themselves – and for some, that is reason enough. Some are more persuaded by the fact that pro bono and volunteer efforts simply make smart business sense. Pro bono
work provides an excellent training ground for attorneys looking to expand their areas of expertise; they then bring those increased skills and experiences back to their paying clients. Pro bono work builds networks, and networks equate to greater numbers of potential clients and business opportunities. Pro bono work brings recognition and enhances the reputation of the legal profession. At a time when an increasing number of people are turning to online legal services, genuine connections forged by community-invested attorneys are essential to counteracting the ubiquitous nature of faceless competition. Many incorporate pro bono work into their workload because of the professional obligation to do so. Rule 6.1 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct strongly encourages all attorneys to provide pro bono service. While the phrase “strongly encourages” stops just shy of a mandate, many nonetheless feel such service is indeed a duty. Increasing numbers of pro se litigants are making the justice system more challenging for all, and judges, attorneys and clients of all income levels must deal with the detrimental effects. As agents of justice, many attorneys feel a professional responsibility to preserve the efficient operation of our court system by assisting with these un- and under-represented individuals. Most of you have heard all of these reasons, and if you are not currently participating in pro bono activities, a reiteration of them here is not likely to be any more compelling than when they were presented dozens of times before. While all of these reasons often lead people to think about volunteering, perhaps the most persuasive incentive for actually doing it is simply how it makes
you feel. Past-President of the Cleveland Bar Association, David A. Kutik, eloquently conveys what all those who commit to pro bono work understand:
Doing pro bono connects us to people. We make the law and the justice system work for people who have nothing to give us but their gratitude. We empower them. We give them hope; we help them when they have nowhere else to turn. It makes us feel like a lawyer [sic]. It makes us feel that our training, our experience, and our judgment can do some good. It makes us feel that we are better people. And we are. When you do pro bono, everybody wins. Our communities are served by the most talented of its [sic] citizens. Our needy get the help that they require. And the concrete examples of lawyers doing good can counter the public’s negative impression of lawyers.2 In addition to the positive emotional effects of volunteering, significantly beneficial health benefits have been correlated with volunteer activities as well. This is certainly not a well-kept secret; in fact, a Google search of “How doing good helps people lead better, healthier lives” yields 19 million hits3. Countless studies demonstrate improvement in the health and longevity of those who regularly help others. One study of a “large, ethnically diverse sample of older adults showed…that those who gave social support to others had lower rates of mortality than those who did not…”(Brown et al., 2005). Similar studies show a reduction in pain and disability in people with chronic pain; a reduction in depression after a heart attack; and higher levels of happiness, self-esteem and sense of purpose – all seen in those who volunteer4. The positive effects of volunteering have become hard for researchers to ignore; in fact, a recent article in The Atlantic notes “new findings that further a case for adding volunteering to the list of things that physicians recommend to all patients5.” When you engage in work that uses your talents and interests, addresses urgent need, builds your network, AND improves your health and well-being, everybody wins. Of course, many truly want to assist those most in need, but cannot devote countless hours to protracted involvement in pro bono cases. No matter how compelling the reasons to volunteer for worthy causes, we still only get 24 hours each day, and for most of you, few of those hours are unaccounted for. With this in mind, the MBA has focused on developing a variety of volunteer opportunities which align with the specific interests, skills, and most importantly, availability, of our members. In addition to more traditional involvement in pro bono cases, you can also: volunteer to mentor new pro bono volunteers; help with occasional community service events; participate in clinics; assist non-profit administrators with administrative issues and questions; or serve through other community outreach
opportunities. We are also looking for additions to the Pro Bono Committee who will continue to develop fresh ideas to address the legal needs of the underserved in ways which also meet the needs of our members. With each member devoting whatever time he or she can to one or more of these opportunities, the MBA will make a significant impact on the community – and on the health and well-being of our membership. There is no better time than now (which happens to be the middle of Pro Bono Month!) to claim your role in this important effort. Complete the online survey emailed earlier this summer, and again this fall, to let us know your interests, or contact Nancy Walsh, Access to Justice Coordinator, (610-994-3663 or firstname.lastname@example.org) to get your name on our evergrowing list of members eager to reap the benefits of volunteering through the MBA.
1 Source: http://www.pacourts.us/assets/files/newsrelease-1/file-3014.pdf 2 Kutik, David A. “Pro Bono: Why Bother?” GPSolo Magazine. October/November 2005. 3 http://createthegood.org/articles/volunteeringhealth 4 https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/health-benefitsvolunteering 5 http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/12/altruism-for-abetter-body/422280/
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A New Record Sealing Opportunity in Pennsylvania: Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania is Ready to Help as Act 5 Becomes Law By Barbara Overholser, Communications Manager, Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania
egal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania (LASP) is ready to help more Pennsylvanians get back to work and support their families as Act 5 becomes law on November 14, 2016. Act 5 offers new record sealing opportunities for people with certain misdemeanor convictions. It means that at least some of those unable to find work and trapped in poverty because of an old criminal conviction will have a chance for a fresh start. Act 5 and Pennsylvania’s current criminal record expungement process are important ways to remove barriers to employment for certain individuals. With the new law, LASP expects to see an increase in record sealing work. So as part of National Pro Bono Celebration, October 23 – 29, we are offering two CLEs, free for pro bono attorneys, on Act 5 and expungement work. Visit www. lasp.org for registration information. Act 5 applies only to people who were convicted of certain nonviolent second and third degree misdemeanors and have maintained a clean record for 10 years. Once the records are sealed they will no longer be available to employers, landlords or others, and thus will not be an impediment for employment or housing. Research shows that people with nonviolent misdemeanor convictions who do not commit another crime within four to seven years are no more likely to commit a crime in the future than the general population. Yet prior to Act 5, Pennsylvania residents were trapped by lifetime barriers caused by an old minor criminal record regardless of their years of upstanding conduct. Each year, LASP staff and pro bono attorneys also help hundreds of people under the state’s current law, which lets people
expunge certain minor criminal records. One of these clients was Ms. T*, a 42-year-old single mother of two, who had been unable to get a decent paying job because of a retail theft conviction from 14 years ago. Ms. T was trying to move forward, but this one blemish on her record continued to prevent her from being hired for jobs that would help her earn enough to provide for her family. LASP filed a petition and got Ms. T’s record expunged. While the expungement was pending, LASP also provided letters for Ms. T to give to potential employers explaining the expungement process and how criminal records should be considered by employers. Just a few months after the petition was granted, Ms. T’s employment income increased by almost $34,000 a year. LASP’s work helped Ms. T raise her earnings, giving her the means to support her family. Now, with Act 5, more people will have stories like Ms. T’s. LASP is also establishing a pilot project to obtain restricted licenses for people who need to drive to work but who have lost their driving privileges. Our 2016-17 Equal Justice Works/ AmeriCorps Employment Opportunity Legal Corps Fellow will play a key role in educating potential clients about Act 5, representing people who want to seal their records, and will be launching the new project. Attorneys who are interested in assisting with licensing, expungement or other LASP Pro Bono cases in Montgomery County are encouraged to contact Mike Kelley at email@example.com. *Name has been changed but the story is real.
2016 Campaign For Justice IS OFF TO A STRONG START! The Montgomery Bar Association and its members are getting the 2016 Attorney Campaign for Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania (LASP) off to a running start. Thanks to the generous attorneys and law firms listed below, the campaign heads into the fall with almost $18,000 raised toward a goal of exceeding last year’s campaign total of $50,500.
Defenders of Justice ($1,000 - $2,499) Anonymous Lawrence Sager Cozen O’Connor Foundation Timoney Knox, LLP High Swartz LLP
The generosity of the Montgomery County legal community is coming through in a remarkable way!
Benefactors of Justice ($500 - $999) Peter E. Bort George C. Corson, Jr. State Representative Kate Harper R. Kurtz Holloway Aimee L. Kumer Louis P. Lombardi, II
Donald J. Martin The Honorable Stanley R. Ott Michael F. Rogers Jack A. Rounick Marc Robert Steinberg
Supporters of Justice ($250 - $499) Anonymous (2) Kevin S. Anderson Ford & Buckman, PC Keenan, Ciccitto & Assoc., LLP
George Luskus Edward A. Skypala John G. Younglove
Friends of Justice (Gifts of up to $250) Anonymous (4) Mary Ellen Reilly Robert A. Bacine Everett K. Sheintoch Maribeth Blessing Siemens Caring Hands David A. Feldheim Giving Campaign Bernard Granor Steven E. Speece Bottomline Technologies Harvey and Suanne Strauss William J. Levant Ann Tydeman-Solomon Ms. Elizabeth Madden Thomas L. Hoffman McLafferty & Kroberger, P.C. Richard E. Wells Mr. Samuel D. Miller, III Diane H. Yazujian D. Barry Pritchard, Jr.
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S P E C I A L F E AT U R E : P R O B O N O
Cary Flitter Presents $70K Cy Pres Award to Legal Aid O
n August 3, longtime MBA member Cary L. Flitter, Esq., of Flitter Milz, PC in Narberth, presented Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania (LASP) with a cy pres award in the amount of $69,068.46. The funds were the result of a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of 2,500 Montgomery County residents against a Washington state-based debt collector for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. After the class action members claimed their respective $100 from the settlement fund, Mr. Flitter designated LASP as the recipient of nearly $70K that remained unclaimed. Mr. Flitter has procured over $100,000 in cy pres funds for LASP in 2016 alone. He states, “LASP and their Norristown office was the natural choice for the residual funds. Liz Fritsch and her staff do a great job and these cy pres awards go a long way towards filling budgetary gaps and helping low-income consumers.” Of the gift, LASP Executive Director Elizabeth Wood Fritsch, Esq. remarks “Cy pres awards play an important role in supporting LASP’s work for low-income and vulnerable people, and help ensure that the justice system remains fair and equitable.”
The Attorney/Paralegal Partnership By Annette M. Long-Tulio, CRP, Pa.C.P.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead
he first line of the US Constitution establishes the meaning of justice in America and the closing words of our Pledge of Allegiance are “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” These documents reflect the fundamental American values of access to justice. However, as Americans continue to struggle with employment, home ownership, and providing basic necessities for their families, the need for civil legal assistance continues to increase. The Problem: Legal Assistance is needed Studies show that the collective legal aid effort is meeting only about 20% of legal needs. The top legal arenas for legal assistance include the areas of family law, employment and housing. Individuals who require the most legal assistance include the elderly, homeless, victims of domestic violence, troubled and underprivileged youth and children in the legal system. The Cause: Poverty levels and legal issues in Pennsylvania are on the rise The Pennsylvania Legal Assistance Network indicates that only one in five poverty-level persons with legal issues will ever see an attorney. According to a study by the American Bar Association, 40% of low and moderate-income households will experience a legal problem each year and the PA Department of Human Services reports that poverty in Montgomery County is at 6.8% of the total population. Interestingly, as the poverty level increases, federal funding for legal services has declined. Because the demand for services continue to outweigh the ability of legal service organizations and volunteer attorneys to handle the caseload, the use of trained and experienced paralegals may help ease the burden and enhance services to the public. With attorney supervision, paralegals may perform intake interviews, research, write and draft documents and may represent clients at administrative hearings.
The Paralegal Model Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Canon 1.4, as adopted by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA); every paralegal is urged to contribute twenty-four (24) hours of pro bono services each year. The American Bar Association also highly encourages the use of paralegals in pro bono activities through its Model Guidelines for the Utilization of Paralegal Services. The Montgomery County Paralegal Association is a prime source of pro bono volunteers. As an association, we have actively supported Wills for Heroes, Legal Aid, MCAP, Mission Kids and many other organizations. Focusing on community needs, legal service programs, and non-profit agencies, our paralegal membership is ready, willing and able to assist. In addition to pro bono, financial support for non-profit legal service organizations throughout the county exists via direct contribution to the organization as well as through the Montgomery Bar Foundation. Without funding, more Americans will be unable to effectively access the court system to protect their legal interests. The time has come for attorneys and paralegals alike to increase their involvement and commitment to pro bono services and financial support of legal aid programs. Providing access to justice ensures that fair treatment is not confined to those who can afford legal assistance.
The Solution: Pro Bono Publico work and Financial Support The goal of Pro Bono Publico, Latin for “the public good,” is to enhance access to justice to persons of limited means. In April of 2015, Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor’s letter to attorneys reinforced the urgency for volunteers and the Access to Justice Act ensures that a percentage of court filing fees are applied towards legal aid resources.
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LEGAL AID Golf Classic JUNE 24, 2016
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A Snapshot of Who We Are:
Pro Bono Volunteers in the Court It would be easy to assume that busy attorneys, meeting the innumerable demands of practicing law, have neither the time nor the desire to go beyond those daily commitments to give back to their communities. Perhaps elsewhere this may be the case, but not at the Montgomery Bar Association, where a passion for service provides the foundation of an engaged membership. Our committed members devote countless hours to MCAP, Legal Aid, Mission Kids, Wills for Heroes, MBA pro bono work, and other causes close to their hearts. It is virtually impossible to accurately represent the amount of time our members give as they quietly respond to requests for help at every turn. However, a snapshot of just one component of the pro bono work performed by MBA members provides an awe-inspiring representation of the commitment to service which defines our entire Association. Recently, Denise Vicario, the Chief Deputy Administrator of the Montgomery County Courthouse, provided some impressive numbers about MBA members who provide pro bono service for Court-sponsored programs. This year alone, the Court has already benefited from 768 hours of service from MBA pro bono attorneys. This number, of course, does not fully quantify the amount of time these attorneys give in preparation for the work they do in Court on a pro bono basis, but it certainly provides insight into the level of giving the Court has come to expect from our members. Court-appointed volunteers in several programs help keep the busy system running efficiently. The Civil Court division has four types of volunteer masters: Assessment Appeal Masters mediate Board of Assessment Appeal matters; Civil Case Masters handle civil case management conferences for the Court; Discovery Masters, volunteers in a 20 year-year old program, handle discovery case management conferences for the Court; and Mortgage Foreclosure Masters, volunteers in a new program that launched in July, handle mortgage foreclosure conferences. The Family Court Division relies on many volunteer Friends of Court Facilitators who assist with Protection from Abuse hearings. All of these pro bono volunteers, like the countless pro bono volunteers outside of the Courthouse, are crucial components of a justice system that is efficient, fair, and accessible to all citizens [see sidebar]. Seven hundred and sixty-eight hours…in less than one year…through just one piece of a very large puzzle. This impressive tally represents a mere fraction of the amount of time MBA members devote to volunteer efforts as varied in nature as our members themselves. As we celebrate Pro Bono month, the Montgomery Bar Association thanks each of you for going above and beyond as you provide measurable proof of our commitment to service, advocacy and community in Montgomery County and beyond. We want to hear about the great work YOU are doing -- please contact Nancy Walsh, Access to Justice Coordinator (nancywalsh@ montgomerybar.org) and fill her in on your volunteer efforts! 14 SIDEBAR
Thank you to the following members that currently serve as volunteer courtappointed masters: Civil Division Masters (4 types of volunteer masters) 1. Assessment Appeal Masters mediate Board of Assessment Appeal matters. Robert L. Brant, Jr., Esq. Mark S. Cappuccio, Esq. J. Edmund Mullen, Esq. 2. Civil Case Masters (new program for 2016) handle civil case management conferences for the Court. Philip L. Gazan, Esq. Robert F. Morris, Esq. Wendy G. Rothstein, Esq. Daniel J. Sherry, Esq. Michael G. Trachtman, Esq. Paul C. Troy, Esq. 3. Discovery Masters (20 years old program – volunteers) handle discovery case management conferences for the Court Andrew L. Braunfeld, Esq. James F. Mannion, Esq. Bruce Pancio, Esq. William H. Pugh, IV, Esq. William H. Pugh, V, Esq. Jacqueline M. Reynolds, Esq. Marc Robert Steinberg, Esq. Marvin L. Wilenzik, Esq. Cheryl L. Young, Esq. 4. Mortgage Foreclosure Masters (new program effective July 2016) handle mortgage foreclosure conferences Alfred Abel, Esq. Edward J. DiDonato, Esq. Samantha A. Fagnan, Esq. Mark S. Harris, Esq. Rochelle N. Bobman, Esq. Pamela M. Tobin, Esq. Bernadette A. Kearney, Esq.
Family Division Masters 1. Friend of the Court Facilitators assist with Protection from Abuse (PFA)Hearings. Steven Auerbach, Esq. Cynthia L. Bashore, Esq. Jean M. Biesecker, Esq. Mark E. Bleczinski, Esq. Rochelle N. Bobman, Esq. Melissa M. Boyd, Esq. Deborah Brand, Esq. Colleen F. Coonelly, Esq. Christina M. DeMatteo, Esq. Bernard D. Faigenbaum, Esq. Randee B. Feldman, Esq. Ellen S. Fischer, Esq. Lynn Fleisher, Esq. Maria Etzrodt Gibbons, Esq.
Jonathan T. Hoffman, Esq. Bonnie-Ann Brill Keagy, Esq. Abigail Silverman Leeds, Esq. Betty Lupo, Esq. Kelley Menzano Fazzini, Esq. Amy S. Newman, Esq. Jonathan C. Noble, Esq. Marguerite Mary Nocchi, Esq. Sharron L. Rex, Esq. Nancy B. Schneider, Esq. Gerald L. Shoemaker, Jr., Esq. Patricia Baxter Small, Esq. Andrew D. Taylor, Esq.
Returns Nov. 10
n November 10, the Delaware Valley Legal Expo returns to the Sheraton Valley Forge Hotel in King of Prussia. For the past 20 years, the Legal Expo has provided members of our local legal community the opportunity to explore developing trends, test-drive new technology, happen upon fresh ideas, devise solutions, connect with friends and colleagues, and look beyond the day-to-day details of their busy lives to consider new horizons. Now in its 21st year, the Delaware Valley Legal Expo is once again organized and presented by the Association of Legal Administrators – Independence Chapter and the Montgomery Bar Association. As they did back in 1995, the two organizations have come together to bridge the gap between the business and legal communities. Last year’s smashing success at the newly-renovated facility made the decision to return to the venue for 2016 quite easy for organizers. Conveniently located just minutes from the PA Turnpike, Routes 76, 202, and 422, the Sheraton Valley Forge offers ease of access to and from Montgomery and surrounding counties, as well as a vast, unobstructed exhibit space with a tasteful, modern décor. Once again, attendees will have ample opportunities to win countless valuable door prizes, including an Amazon Echo, tickets to various sporting events, gift cards to local restaurants and retail outlets, unique gift baskets, and many other surprises. Add to that free admission, delicious hors d’oeuvres served by a friendly and attentive wait staff, refreshing cocktails and an atmosphere buzzing with excitement, and it becomes clear why this event is a perennial favorite. Close the office early on Thursday, November 10, gather your colleagues and staff, and head to the 21st Annual Delaware Valley Legal Expo. Be a part of the success. For registration and information, visit www. dvlegalexpo.com and follow the MBA on Facebook and Twitter (links on www.montgomerybar.org).
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Big Changes Are On The Horizon For Construction Projects In Pa By Robert R. Watson, Jr., Esq. Chair, MBA Construction and Public Contract Law Committee
he PA Mechanics’ Lien Law provides contractors, subcontractors and suppliers with an important tool to protect and preserve their right to payment for labor and materials supplied in the improvement of a particular piece of real estate. The ability to file a lien claim against a private property, and if necessary to take that claim to judgment, affords construction professionals and their attorneys the opportunity to directly attach the land and buildings where work was performed. In the ongoing effort to get paid on a job, the leverage afforded by timely exercise of mechanics’ lien rights is often the difference between prompt resolution of a dispute versus long and drawn-out litigation between contracting parties. The same rights of construction tradespeople protected by the Lien Law are many times seen as problematic by property owners, developers and lenders, who regularly are not in privity with those entities seeking payment, with little ability to properly trace the flow of payments on a given project beyond the checks cut to firsttier general contractors. In response to this tension between owners, contractors and subs/suppliers, Act 142 was signed in Harrisburg on October 14, 2014. This new legislation is set to take effect on January 1, 2017. It dramatically changes the approach Pennsylvania contractors, subcontractors and suppliers will be required to plan for and take in order to preserve their rights to file mechanics’ lien claims against any construction project with a total value in excess of $1.5 Million. These $1.5M+ projects can become “searchable projects,” for which an owner may opt into a new online Construction Notices Directory being prepared by PA Department of General Services. If an owner opts into the Directory, it will give notice to everyone working on the site that the job is “searchable,” and property and project data will be uploaded to a website database. Once a project is entered into the database and notice is given to others working at the site, any contractor, sub or supplier who wishes to preserve its right to file a lien claim must enter its own particular information onto the database as well. Failure to do so by the contractor, sub or supplier will waive the ability to proceed with a mechanics’ lien claim should one be necessary down the road. Projects which start prior to 1/1/17 will not be affected.
Pursuant to Act 142, a searchable project will allow four new notices to assist in management and the flow of payment. A notice of commencement initiates the use of the online database, and will be filed by owners, contractors or their project representatives. Designed to identify contractor, job location and whether payment bonds have been secured, the notice of commencement signals to subs and suppliers they must use the system to protect lien rights. Within 45 days of starting a job, subs and suppliers must file their own notices of furnishing, which will identify who each participating business is and its role on the project. Failure to submit a timely notice of furnishing will forfeit a party’s right to file a lien claim in the future. Practitioners must still remember that subs and suppliers who are not in privity with a project’s owner continue to be required to serve written notice of intention to file lien claim no later than 5 months of their last work on a job, and 30 days before actually filing a lien claim. All lien claims must be filed no later than 6 months from a claimant’s last work on a project. Act 142 also allows for the optional filing by the owner of a notice of completion of work within 45 days of a project’s conclusion. This notice is not required, and may not be used by a court to define with certainty the date a job is completed – a fact which still must be established by additional evidence if necessary. Finally, aggrieved subcontractors and suppliers will have the opportunity to file a notice of nonpayment to the Directory. While for informational purposes only, and not intended to supplement other conditions prerequisite to notice and filing of a lien claim under the statute, such records may prove useful to all involved on the project, from owners through subs and suppliers, to track job status. I’ve been in touch with those charged with preparing the database in Harrisburg, and have attended planning sessions to review beta versions of the website database. DGS does plan to meet the January 1, 2017 deadline, and is partnering with trade organizations across the state to get the word out. Because participation in this new database is necessary for owners, developers, contractors, subs and suppliers on commercial projects over $1.5 Million who wish to manage lien rights, it is imperative that close attention be paid to integrating the use of this new Construction Notice Directory into regular client operations.
NEW FELLOWS PROGRAM… AND HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MBF! T
he Montgomery Bar Foundation will soon reach an impressive and exciting milestone: it has been giving voice to those silenced by injustice throughout our county for 30 years this January. Since its beginning, the MBF has provided essential support to organizations like Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Laurel House, Women’s Center, Victim Services, Montgomery County Child Advocacy Project, Mission Kids, and the Senior Law Center, as well as community-based initiatives like Coffee with a Cop, as they ensure that the most vulnerable in our community are protected and heard. As the justice gap in Pennsylvania continues to grow, the Foundation is working harder than ever to fulfill its mission to improve, facilitate and support justice and fair treatment for all and to celebrate three decades of giving—by growing its number of generous supporters and affecting more change than ever before. The Foundation is committed to making 2017 its most powerful year yet. As the MBF honors 30 years of important work and generous contributions, it asks all MBA members to join in the commitment to making an even greater impact in the years to come. The lifeblood of any effective foundation like the Montgomery Bar Foundation is the generous, sustained giving of its most steadfast supporters. To help ensure that the Foundation can continue to give voice to the voiceless for as long as there is need, it is launching a new and improved Foundation Fellows Program, which will serve as a vehicle for the Foundation to publicly recognize the generous contributions of its Fellows and to encourage increased participation throughout the legal community: A “Fellow” of the Foundation will include any attorney or Judge who has contributed a minimum of $1,250 during his or her lifetime, including members of the Stefan Circle, Taxis Circle, and Founders Program, or who has pledged to contribute $1,250 within five consecutive years. Paralegals will achieve the Fellow designation with a minimum lifetime contribution of $500. Many have already demonstrated a long-standing commitment to the important work of the Foundation. Many more will. To honor that, the Trustees of the Montgomery Bar Foundation have also established additional levels of Foundation Fellow membership: A “Bronze Fellow” of the Foundation will include any attorney or Judge who has contributed an aggregate lifetime minimum
of $3,000. Paralegals will achieve “Bronze Fellow” status with an aggregate minimum contribution of $1,500. A “Silver Fellow” of the Foundation will include any attorney or Judge who has contributed an aggregate lifetime minimum of $5,000. Paralegals will achieve “Silver Fellow” status with an aggregate minimum contribution of $2,500. A “Gold Fellow” of the Foundation will include any attorney or Judge who has contributed an aggregate lifetime minimum of $10,000. Paralegals will achieve “Bronze Fellow” status with an aggregate minimum contribution of $5,000. A “Platinum Fellow” of the Foundation will include any attorney or Judge who has contributed an aggregate lifetime minimum of $25,000. Paralegals will achieve “Platinum Fellow” status with an aggregate minimum contribution of $12,500. Fellows will receive special badges at MBA events to identify their respective levels of giving, and their names will be displayed on a special plaque prominently displayed in the Bar building. All Foundation Fellows, and any attorney or Judge who contributes a minimum of $250 in a given year, will also be invited to that year’s Fellows event (Paralegals may contribute a minimum of $100/ year to attend). This special annual event provides a wonderful opportunity for Foundation supporters, wholly committed to the cause of justice, to learn more about the organizations they have helped support and to celebrate yet another year of advancing the cause of justice in their community. This year’s Fellows event will be one for the books, and promises to celebrate this incredible milestone, and all those who have helped make it possible, in a manner befitting the accomplishment. Stay tuned for more exciting details! Thirty years of affecting change in the community is a success which calls for celebration. However, as Rose Kennedy noted, “Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments.” This remarkable achievement is the result of countless moments when each MBF supporter personally chose to make a difference and joined the Foundation in its quest of justice. As we honor this milestone, let us remember that much remains to be done, and commit to ensuring many more such moments in 2017 and in the years ahead. To learn more about the MBF, visit www. montgomerybarfoundation.org and keep an eye out for our Annual Appeal letter later this Fall. *https://www.paccwings.com/ FA L L 2 0 1 6 1 7
I SURVIVED THE TOUR DE SHORE By Michael F. Dunn, Esq.
n Sunday, July 17, my daughters, Christy (age 28) and Catherine (age 26), and I participated in the 29th Irish Pub Tour de Shore. The Tour de Shore is a 65-mile bike ride that begins at the Irish Pub on 20th and Walnut Streets in Philadelphia and ends at the Irish Pub in Atlantic City. The Tour de Shore is held each year in July. This was the fourth consecutive year that I rode in the Tour and the third for my daughters. We were proud to ride as members of the “Wheels of Justice” team. Wheels of Justice is the official team of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. However, the team is composed of approximately 220 riders consisting of Assistant District Attorneys, County Detectives, Sheriffs, other members of Montgomery County’s law enforcement community and their family and friends. All of the supporting details of the ride are expertly organized by team captain Marc Azeff, who is Lieutenant with the Montgomery County detectives. The Tour de Shore was established to raise money for various fallen officer associations and children’s charities in the Philadelphia area. In order to participate, each rider must raise a minimum of $200 per person for the fund. This year, the Wheels of Justice team alone raised almost $70,000. The Tour teams combined totaled approximately 2,500 riders and raised over $1 million. When I announced to my family four years ago that I was going to do a bicycle ride from Philadelphia to the shore, they thought that I was nuts (not the first time) and that I would probably pass out while on the way. They insisted that I periodically update them with progress reports while en route. After I successfully completed the Tour that first year, my two oldest daughters decided to join me. The ride leaves downtown Philadelphia at 7:00 am and if you are coming home from Atlantic City via the bus, you must catch the bus from the Plymouth Police Station at 5:00 am, making for a 3:30 am wake up call. So, while the more practical members of my 18 SIDEBAR
family - my wife Terri and youngest daughter Caroline—blissfully slept in their air conditioned comfort, Christy, Catherine and I crept out of the house at 4:15 am to begin our odyssey. When the ride starts, the first mile or two are extremely crowded as the 2,500 riders jockey for position down the narrow streets of Center City. However, you soon turn on to wider streets where you get more space between riders. One of the biggest thrills of the ride occurs early as you ride over the Ben Franklin Bridge, which is closed to automobile traffic during this event. You never notice how much of a rising grade there is going over the Ben Franklin Bridge until you do it on a bicycle. After cresting the arch of the bridge, you pick up a good amount of speed as you proceed downhill towards the toll booths. Unfortunately, due to the combination of speed and congestion, this area has been the scene of several ugly bike accidents over the years. Shortly after clearing the toll booths, all riders are directed off the highway onto back roads, which you follow for the majority of the ride. You pedal nonstop from the starting point to the first rest stop, located at mile 17.5 in Berlin. Some super-riders bypass some of the rest stops, but not me. The rest stops are as welcome to me as an oasis to a Sahara traveler. The Tour de Shore is extremely well organized, as evidenced by the four rest stops. There, volunteers provide water, Gatorade, cold wet towels, fruit and sandwiches. While I would have loved to linger at each rest stop, my daughters would crack the whip on me to move on after ten minutes, which to me seemed like ten seconds. When doing a 65-mile bicycle ride in July, the weather is always a critical factor. The weather cooperated during the first two years. Last year, however, the air temperature was 96° F and the high humidity produced an energy-zapping 104° heat index. This year, the weather was not quite as bad but still the temperature rose to 94° and it was very muggy, making this ride tough on my 63-year-old body.
Fortunately, as you pedal through the back roads and small towns of New Jersey almost every signal-controlled intersection is manned by local police who do their best to make auto traffic yield to the bike riders. This enables you to continue pedaling non-stop through most intersections on the entire route. That helps to make for a somewhat easier ride since while you are pedaling, you create your own wind-cooling effect and when you have to stop you really feel the heat radiating from the asphalt. After rest stop one, there are three other rest stops located every 10 to 12 miles, all with volunteers providing the same amenities. In addition, mobile teams are constantly following the riders, providing mechanical help and first aid for any riders who require assistance. As my spinning class-conditioned daughters breezed through the miles of corn fields, blueberry farms and Pine Barrens, I huffed and puffed on their heels fantasizing about hitching a tow rope from their bikes to mine. The last rest stop is in Egg Harbor, approximately 12 miles from the finish. After the Egg Harbor stop, riders have to endure the most brutal section of the course: the dreaded “Abescon Death Strip.” My daughters and I christened the last ten miles the Absecon Death Strip for numerous reasons. It’s the last ten miles so you are already beat from doing the first 55. It’s through the tidal marshes outside of Atlantic City so there is not a tree nor a spot of shade to be had. You usually arrive there between 11:00 am and noon so it is the hottest part of the ride. Auto traffic going into Atlantic City is often backed up so you are the unwilling recipient of the heat and fumes from the cars. If all that isn’t enough, you almost always get a stiff head wind coming in from the ocean, which makes you pedal much harder just to maintain any momentum. You never really appreciate the Irish blessing, “May the wind be always at your back,” until you are a bike rider. When you arrive at the finish line, you are greeted by supporters who welcome you with cheers, signs and cowbells. You are then treated to a lunch and cold beverages. Many Wheels of Justice members stay overnight and enjoy a team party that evening. Despite the exertion involved, the Tour de Shore is a rewarding experience which benefits some very worthy charities. You are invited to join us next year. Remember, if I can do it, you can do it! FA L L 2 0 1 6 1 9
A Domestic Violence Victim’s Nightmare By Kristen Kelly
y experience with the legal system in Montgomery County dates back to September 2005 when I was 19 years old. I was kidnapped from Limerick at knifepoint by my ex-boyfriend and taken to a basement in Philadelphia where I was physically and sexually assaulted. He also tried multiple times to kill me by doing things like smothering me with a t-shirt doused in lighter fluid and trying to break my neck over the course of 3 horrific days. There were also threats made against my sisters who were minors at the time. I eventually managed to escape and get help. The county detectives were involved because the perpetrator took me across county lines. I filed for an Emergency PFA and the process was a nightmare. The trauma, the embarrassment of a rape kit, and the questioning by detectives was like rubbing salt in a wound. I waited for an hour before anyone would even speak to me, I was given paperwork and told to write out why I needed a PFA and questioned on everything in my statement. I spent 4½ hours at the Courthouse in order to get my protective order. It was awful. I was thankful they at least allowed me to include my sister’s names, so they were protected as well. PFA Court was a circus. It seemed like hundreds of people were crammed in one hallway. Victims and Defendants were not separated. After my traumatic experience, it made my stomach turn knowing I was in a mixed crowd of people who may have hurt others sitting around me. I waited for my name to be called to testify and explain the details of what occurred. This was in a crowded courtroom of people who knew nothing about me. My ex-boyfriend was seated at the table in front of me and kept smiling and laughing the entire time, to which the judge did nothing! I felt like I was a victim all over again. Worse, the judge refused to extend the protection to my sisters. I walked out of that courtroom feeling more unsafe than when I was locked in that basement. He was not in custody and now he had every legal right to approach my sisters at their bus stops, because the legal system had failed me. I was not offered counseling services. No one to help me. I had to look over my shoulder, terrified, until he was finally sent to jail. After 10 months, he was offered a plea bargain and only received time served; 10 months for trying to take my life; 10 months for years of therapy, living in fear and not being able to speak his name without shaking uncontrollably. I wish the process had been different for me. Had I not been re-victimized while looking for help, not been embarrassed and ashamed like it was my fault (as told by members of the court system because I was a white girl who dated a black man), not treated like a circus attraction, maybe my healing process would have been different. If my story can help one person have a better experience than I did, I will shout it from the rooftops and share it with everyone I know.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESOURCES By The Honorable Kelly C. Wall, Administrative Judge, Montgomery County Family Court
fter reading the account of a domestic violence victim and her experience with the Court system, we can say, “We’ve come a long way baby !!!” October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and even though we have not eradicated Domestic Violence, Montgomery County is proud to have improved resources to provide services to victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. These resources provide much need services including emotional, physical, financial and legal assistance to help victims heal from their wounds and gain their independence with dignity. This issue of SIDEBAR is dedicated to the many men and women who have devoted their time, energy and resources to help victims of DV. I would like to recognize the agencies, volunteers and resources that collectively work together to aid the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault who turn to the legal system for help. Those include: Domestic Violence Legal Network (DVLN); a collaborative effort among 18 dedicated agencies (many of whom are listed below) to work together to make vital services available to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault through the sharing of resources and expertise among law enforcement, government and community agencies. Laurel House; a domestic violence shelter and supportive services agency that provides domestic violence counseling, emergency shelter services, transitional housing program (which includes weekly case management, counseling, life skills training, emergency financial assistance, children’s services, and connections to community resources) and a 24/7 Hotline. Laurel House has an immediate response program known as DART (Domestic Abuse Response Team) to assist at the scene of incidents, at police departments, and hospital emergency rooms.
from Sexual Violence and Intimidation Act, individual and group counseling and prevention education ranging from child abuse prevention to elder abuse. Montgomery Child Advocacy Project (MCAP); provides advocacy services to children who are the victims of physical, sexual or mental abuse. The child advocates are volunteer attorneys who tirelessly give of their time to represent children in PFA and criminal court cases. Office of Children and Youth (OCY); the agency mandated to investigate all reports of suspected abuse, neglect or dependency of children from birth to emancipation. OCY also works with families to coordinate services and resources to improve family conditions. Friend of the Court; volunteers are family lawyers who serve as facilitators in PFA Court to educate nonviolent litigants about the options that are available in custody, support or family court, and in general, guide the parties toward agreed orders and to encourage parties to resolve their differences. Mission Kids Advocacy Center; brings together a local comprehensive multidisciplinary team of professionals to observe children who are victims of abuse relate their experiences in a warm environment with a trained forensic interviewer. Legal Aid; provides legal services for victims of abuse. A special thanks to each of you for your collective role in ensuring that victims of domestic violence and sexual assault who turn to the legal system for help are afforded the dignity and services they so desperately need to heal.
Please visit www.montgomerybar.org for additional Women’s Center; provides counseling services as well as a 24-hour resources, including: domestic violence hotline and crisis response which provides safety - PFA defendant instructions planning, counseling and assistance with locating affordable or - Domestic violence abuse intervention services/batterer emergency housing. The Legal Advocates are an invaluable resource treatment programs in PFA court and educate the parties on their legal options. - State and federal laws regarding obtaining or possessing a weapon when there is a PFA in effect Victim Services Center; the rape crisis center for Montgomery - Tips for victims of domestic violence County, provides advocacy for victims including the new Protection
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PFA COURT GETS A LITTLE HELP FROM SOME FRIENDS By The Honorable Kelly C. Wall
ou only need to spend a day in Protection from Abuse (“PFA”) court to see the range of emotions that exist when parties are undergoing the breakdown of relationships, experiencing the fear of loss of children, homes or financial resources, or suffering from the effects of mental health or substance abuse issues. The parties that appear in PFA court are angry, afraid or emotionally distraught, and a majority of these litigants are not represented by counsel. However, there are several resources in place to help victims, defendants and children, including the Legal Advocate volunteers who are present in the courtroom every Tuesday and Thursday, and the volunteers from the Montgomery Child Advocacy Project (MCAP), who are appointed to represent children involved in PFAs. The Legal Advocates and the Child Advocates play an integral role in assisting the court with PFAs. In many cases, the advocates are successful in helping families resolve cases while protecting the interest of children. With the enactment of the new Protection from Sexual Violence and Intimidation Act, which became effective on July 1, 2015, the Court is now assisted by the Victims Services Center. While the volunteers from the Women’s Center and MCAP are instrumental in helping resolve PFAs, the Friends Program (“Friends”) takes it one step further to help diffuse tension and steer parties with family-related matters toward Family Court where the parties can address their underlying issues. Friends grew out of a need to assist families with custody, support or family issues caught up in PFA court. Although the Family Court Judges preside over cases where the parties are mentally and physically abused, a majority of the PFA cases involve issues of support, custody or special relief rather than true physical abuse. Friends fulfills a need to assist those cases and meets with the parties in a private environment. The goal is to facilitate written agreements, encourage more communication and set up boundaries. The program has been extremely successful and has resulted in many voluntary withdrawals of PFA petitions. Montgomery County will very shortly have a “how to” video to guide victims through the process of filing for protection orders. The video walks the victim through the courthouse to the various offices where the original paperwork is processed and then into the courtroom for the brief hearing on the temporary protection petition. The video also shows what will happen on the day of the hearing for the final protection order and introduces the parties to the resources available and the role each plays. The video will soon be available on the county website and in various offices in the courthouse.
24-HOUR EMERGENCY RELIEF FROM ABUSE, SEXUAL VIOLENCE OR INTIMIDATION By Denise S. Vicario, Chief Deputy Court Administrator
ecent changes have been enacted to improve the quality of service for those petitioners that are seeking an Emergency Protection from Abuse, Sexual Violence or Intimidation Order in Montgomery County. In Pennsylvania, all Judicial Districts are responsible for ensuring that a Judge or Magisterial District Judge is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to accept and decide on petitions for emergency protection until a temporary Court Order can be issued, and if necessary, a final Order of Protection entered. In Montgomery County alone, our magisterial district judges issue approximately 150 emergency protection orders per year. Until recently, petitioners contacted the Emergency Communications Center for non-business hours emergency orders; however, it was apparent that many callers did not really need an emergency protection order, but information on services for those in domestically volatile situations. In order to remedy much of this confusion, callers are now first put in touch with the Domestic Violence Hotline before being directed to the Emergency Communications Center. The Domestic Violence Hotline staff is rigorously trained to deal with callers in domestically volatile situations, and the hotline staff can sensitively probe to determine if the caller truly needs to request some type of emergency protection order or if he or she needs to be linked with some other service or services. Many times people are not sure what to do, and they think seeking an emergency protection order is a panacea, when in reality there are other issues that need to be addressed and other services that can be provided that are not covered by an emergency protection order. Most importantly, the Domestic Violence Hotline staff links callers with the right resources including the Emergency Communications Center who will contact the on-call magisterial district judge who can determine if an emergency protection order is necessary.
Over the first six months since implementing this change, this process has proven to be far more helpful and reduces the anxiety of the potential petitioners. They are directly put in touch with trained Domestic Violence staff that has the proper resources to help. Clearly, it is important to mention that the Domestic Violence Hotline does not make a determination if an Emergency PFA should be granted or denied since that is a decision that needs to be made by a Judge. The Domestic Violence staff simply ascertains if the caller needs to pursue an emergency protection order or be connected with special resources or perhaps both. Indeed, this process is helping potential victims receive the right relief.
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The Domestic Violence Legal Network of Montgomery County T
he Domestic Violence Legal Network (DVLN) was established to assist in making vital services available to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault through the sharing of resources and expertise among law enforcement, government and community agencies. DVLN is a collaborative effort through 18 dedicated agencies which work together to end domestic violence and sexual assault via the following goals: • Enhance communication between victims and service providers to secure safety and relief. • Help victims to remove stumbling blocks in the way of their ability to gain relief. • Maintain a current profile of service providers. • Act in coalition on behalf of victims through legislative action and policy reforms.
DVLN is composed of representatives from the Victim Services Center, Women’s Center, Laurel House, Montgomery Child Advocacy Project, Office of Children and Youth, Law Enforcement, District Attorney’s office, Court Administration and Judiciary. DVLN accomplishes its goals via educational and outreach programs. It publishes periodic articles related to domestic violence and sexual assault on the Montgomery County website and provides live training to people who come in contact with domestic violence and sexual assault within their field of expertise. Speakers include service provider agencies, law enforcement and judicial contingents. DVLN also sponsors a yearly domestic violence awareness event where state and local officials, pertinent agencies and social agencies gather to discuss domestic violence issues and honor a leader who has done an outstanding job in supporting issues related to domestic violence and sexual abuse. For more information on DVLN, visit www.montco.org/dvln
In Montgomery County, Laurel House, our highly respected and long-standing non-profit domestic violence shelter and supportive services agency, recognizes and seeks to address some of the many impediments to surviving and thriving without the abuser. By Colleen F. Coonelly, Esq.
Why doesn’t she just leave? 1. She’s afraid of losing her children; 2. Leaving is dangerous;
Laurel House offers: • emergency shelter services; • a transitional housing program (which includes weekly case management, counseling, life skills training, emergency financial assistance, children’s services, and connections to community resources);
3. She is dependent on the abuser; and
• domestic violence counseling; and
4. She needs legal representation.
• a 24/7 Hotline: 1 800 642 3150
Why doesn’t she just leave? That is the relentless, exasperated, question that has been posed over the years. The answers are as complicated as are human beings and society. It is long, hard work to increase self-sufficiency and independence. It doesn’t “just happen.” The type of support needed often must come from outside of the victim’s friends or family.
Additionally, Laurel House has an immediate response program to assist at the scene of incidents, at police departments, and hospital emergency rooms. The DART (Domestic Abuse Response Team) Program partners with local police departments and health care professionals. DART is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and provides crisis counseling, safety planning, resource referrals, assistance with the Protection from Abuse Order process, court
accompaniment, and other follow-up services. Supportive services are critical for survivors to achieve their goals for independency. For example, Laurel House counselors assist women to secure custody of their children by establishing a stable home and financial resources. Supportive services are also critical in order to successfully separate from an abuser and are determinative in the criminal law context. Imagine a woman and her children who are financially dependent on a batterer. The woman reports a criminal act of domestic violence in May. The police come to the home that night and a criminal case is initiated. When the case is finally scheduled for a hearing in November, it is not uncommon for a victim to recant or testify for the batterer
if the victim does not access supportive services, does not separate from the abuser, and remains financially dependent. As Assistant District Attorney Alec O’Neill, who has prosecuted many cases of domestic violence in Montgomery County, can attest—when a victim is supported by DART services during the period from the violence until (and during) the criminal prosecution, the prosecution has a far greater likelihood of success.
Victim Services Center: Expanding Victims’ Rights: Protection from Sexual Violence and Intimidation Act July 2015 By Mary Onama, LMSW Executive Director, and Lauren Keeley, VSC Volunteer Coordinator
n July 2015, The Protection from Sexual Violence and Intimidation Act (PSVI) was signed into law giving victims of sexual violence and/or intimidation civil remedies that were previously unavailable. The PSVI Act provides victims of sexual violence and/or intimidation a civil remedy that requires the offender to stay away from the victim regardless of whether the victim seeks criminal prosecution. Although the PSVI Act was modeled closely on the Protection from Abuse (PFA) Act, the key difference is the relationship between the victim and the offender. While PFAs require an intimate or household relationship between the parties, the PSVI does not and is available to all other victims of sexual violence and or intimidation who do not fall under the PFA category. Victim Services Center of Montgomery County (VSC) and other Pennsylvania victim services agencies welcomed the passing of this law which took many years of advocating for victims’ rights in order to be passed. Before the PSVI Act became a part of the law, victims of sexual violence and or intimidation that had no relationship with the offender had limited options. As the rape crisis center for Montgomery County, VSC was identified as the agency that will provide services to victims seeking relief under this act.
Thanks to the collaboration efforts of Judge Kelly C. Wall, Court Administration, victim advocates from VSC, Women’s Center, Laurel House, Mission Kids, Montgomery Child Advocacy Project, Office of Children and Youth, law enforcement, District Attorney’s office, lawyers and other concerned individuals, the Montgomery County PSVI procedures and policies were developed to ensure that victims receive the assistance they need. As a result of this Act, victims have expressed gratitude in knowing that there is a civil remedy to keep the abuser away from them even if they do not participate in a criminal remedy. The PSVI Act has provided hope and options to victims. VSC helped 18 victims seeking protection from Sexual violence and 27 victims seeking protection from intimidation during the first year the Act was in effect. VSC advocates recognize that the PSVI Act has given victims of sexual violence and/or intimidation a safety measure that was not previously available. Though the PSVI Act may not solve all the issues that victims may face, knowing that a victim can go to court and seek a protection order under the law is empowering. If you need more information and/or training on the PSVI, contact Victim Services Center’s 24-hr hotline at 888-521-0983. Or visit the website www.victimservicescenter.org.
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of Montgomery County DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROGRAM By Maria Macaluso, Executive Director
n explaining the impact of our work with domestic violence victims, there is perhaps no better expression than the words we hear every day from our victims and the recognition from our community partners. From a Survivor: “… I remember how scared and unsure I was about taking this first step, but with the kind encouragement from the hotline counselor, I did it. Now I know it was one of the best steps I have ever taken. I am happy to say, that due to my relationship with the Women’s Center, I am not walking on egg shells any more, I am not isolated any longer, and I am not a domestic violence fatality statistic. I am divorced, still living in my home, still have my job, and I am much healthier and happier than I have been in 30 years!” The Women’s Center advocates were nominated for the 2011 Women’s History Month Community Service Award for their selfless dedication and herculean efforts for the hours of service they provide to assist Family Court and PFA cases. Established in 1976, the programs of the Women’s Center are supported by paid staff and more than 180 trained volunteers. WC has several offices located across the County and Abington/ Jefferson and Holy Redeemer Hospitals. Our Domestic Violence Program, which served 5,288 domestic violence victims in 2015/2016, is guided by our unifying goals of Prevention, Intervention and Empowerment. Our services include: Intervention services; a 24-hour domestic violence hotline, crisis response which provides safety planning and individualized in-person and telephone counseling. Legal Advocacy; court accompaniment, legal options counseling for victims including PFAs and defiant trespass education. We also provide assistance with locating affordable or emergency housing, Crime Victim Compensation and Victim Impact statements.
For more information contact Maria Macaluso, Executive Director, at 215-635-7340 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE OF CHILDREN & YOUTH:
Is Your Child Being Hurt? By Michele Kristofco
t is hard to determine exact numbers, but research has shown that in households where there is domestic violence, children living in those households are at increased risk for being victims of violence themselves. Some children are directly abused. Children may be beaten, punched, slapped, kicked, and more by an angry abusive adult, some children may be injured while trying to protect a parent from violence, and some children may be sexually assaulted or violated by an angry or hostile adult in the home. Are you concerned about your child? Children have a right to a life free of violence and to a home that is safe and secure. Children do best in a home environment where there is a sense of routine and normalcy. Children need adults in their lives who value them, listen to them and protect them. Our youngest children are the most vulnerable victims. If you are concerned for the health and safety of your children, you are not alone. Many adults struggling with domestic violence have these concerns. Take steps to protect yourself and your children. 1. Make a plan 2. Gather resources 3. Seek out community supports and the assistance of family and friends
4. Consider whether formal child protection services are needed Remember, this is not a problem that only exists in your household. There are many other people dealing with issues of violence. Domestic violence is a local, national and global problem in our society today. We must work together and support each other in order to be safe and free of violence and to keep our children safe, happy and healthy. What we do for our children today helps them develop into the adults and the leaders they will become tomorrow.
Resources available at the PA Child Abuse Resource Portal: www.keepkidssafe.pa.gov 26 SIDEBAR
MONTGOMERY CHILD ADVOCACY PROJECT ~MCAP By Jill M. Moffitt, Esq.
ontgomery Child Advocacy Project (MCAP) provides free legal representation to children who are victims of abuse and neglect in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Children are harmed every day, often by someone close to them. Our mission is to end and prevent child abuse and neglect in Montgomery County through legal services, advocacy and education. We envision a world in which every person has the opportunity to grow up healthy, resilient and free from the adversity and trauma of childhood abuse and neglect.
So many court cases affect a child’s life significantly and it is important for them to know that they have input. We are the only child victims’ center in Pennsylvania that represents children in all arenas of the Court system in which children appear: protection from abuse/family, criminal, dependency, custody and termination of parental rights cases. We represent children of all ages, from newborns to 18-year-olds. In special cases, children have even elected to keep their MCAP after turning 18 until the age of 21 if their case was ongoing. Of course, the number of hours that we estimate MCAP advocates spend representing a child is conservative, as we know MCAP advocates sometimes represent a child over a span of years. In 2015, we estimate that MCAP advocates donated a total of $957,250 in legal services.1
Adam’s Story Adam* was being abused by his mother’s boyfriend. After arresting the boyfriend, the court ordered Adam’s mother to keep her boyfriend away from the child and referred the case to the Office of Children and Youth for further evaluation. When Adam’s mother found out her boyfriend was being arraigned, she literally jumped into the nearest taxi cab—with Adam—and went to the courthouse to post bail and bring her boyfriend home. She left 2-year-old Adam sitting alone in the cab for over an hour with the driver, a stranger, while she went inside to post the bail. Bail to bring home Adam’s abuser. The incident was brought to the attention of the Office of Children and Youth who recognized the need for Adam to have an advocate. An MCAP attorney volunteered to take his case and give his needs a voice in court. The MCAP advocate represented Adam’s best interests throughout hearings where it ultimately was determined that it was best to terminate his mother’s parental rights while he was in the foster system. The MCAP advocate continued following Adam’s case, assuring his needs were being met. Ultimately, Adam found an adoptive family and is thriving in a safe and caring home. *names have been changed to protect the identity of the children we serve 1 150 hours of brief and 4,760 hours of normal donated legal services was provided with an estimated value of $175 per hour for a total of $957,250.
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S P E C I A L F E AT U R E : D O M E S T I C V I O L E N C E
MCAP Update By Mary C. Pugh, Esq., Executive Director
hope that you all enjoyed a restful and memorable summer. For MCAP, this summer certainly has been memorable – and anything but restful. MCAP continues to serve abused and neglected children and has helped more than 4,470 children in over 2,970 cases. One wonders where these helpless children would be without the independent neutral advocates representing their unique perspectives. With the 2015 changes to the Child Protective Services Law, the introduction of the Protection from Sexual Violence or Intimidation Act, and the increase in trafficking in our area, MCAP has experienced a 31% increase in the number of cases compared to this time last year. We appreciate our 125+ volunteer attorneys who dedicate their time and talent to helping children heal and overcome abuse.
distributed food, and cheered the successful runners and walkers. Amy and Schuy from Balance Chestnut Hill warmed up the crowd while the Phillie Phanatic excited everyone with his usual silly antics. Although the official heatwave supposedly broke prior to the race, all who participated were on fire. The combination of the contagious enthusiasm and the wonderful sponsors created a successful and memorable day. MCAP is always trying to educate and engage the community in child abuse awareness. Currently, we are launching an essay contest entitled “Who is your MCAP (Hero)?” for high school kids to share their stories about who helped them in a tough situation and made a difference in their lives. Learn more about the contest at www.mcapkids.org. We are busy planning important educational and friendraising events. Please mark your calendars for upcoming events: FAMILY FUN HALLOWEEN BOWLING DAY Facenda Whitaker Bowling Lanes Sunday, October 30th, 11:30 am – 2:00 pm MCAP CLE – THE ART OF REPRESENTING CHILDREN IN THE LEGAL ARENA Montgomery Bar Association Friday, October 21st MCAP LUNCH & LEARNS Thursday, October 27th, noon Thursday, December 1st, noon
Thank you for helping to make the 29th Annual Run for the Hill of It a tremendous success. On Saturday, July 30th, more than 300 participants ran or walked along the beautiful path in Fairmount Park. Eager volunteers registered the participants, manned water stations,
MCAP REFRESHER & REFRESHMENTS Montgomery Bar Association Thursday, November 3rd, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm MCAP SALUTE TO HEROES HONORING THE HONORABLE WILLIAM T. NICHOLAS Philadelphia Marriot West, Conshohocken Saturday, November 19th Details for all of the events can be found on our website at www.mcapkids.org or feel free to call MCAP at 610-279-1219. Thank you all for supporting MCAP and allowing us to give children chances to live in safe and healthy environments. If you are not an MCAP, please contact our offices and find out how to get involved. Your services will make a difference in a child’s life and help unlock the Superhero inside every child.
Meet the Newest Member of the Bench: The Honorable Joseph P. Walsh By Jessica Bowman, Esq., and Jennifer Franks, Esq.
Honorable Joseph P. Walsh
ince beginning his professional career 25 years ago, the Honorable Joseph P. Walsh has assumed numerous roles in our community, including: attorney, township supervisor, and school board director. On August 19, 2016, he assumed his greatest role yet, as Judge in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.
A native of Philadelphia, Judge Walsh is a proud Saint Joseph’s University Hawk, and obtained his Bachelor’s degree from Saint Joe’s in 1988. In 1991, Judge Walsh graduated cum laude from Widener University School of Law. During his time at Widener, he served as the Research Editor for The Law Review and was on the Executive Board of the Moot Court Honor Society. He also received numerous awards, including the Order of the Barristers and American Jurisprudence awards. Upon graduation, Judge Walsh gained experience in a wide range of legal matters, including zoning, corporate and civil matters. In 2007, Judge Walsh and his former law partner, Bruce Pancio, Esquire, founded Walsh Pancio, LLC and focused on insurance defense and civil litigation matters. During that time, Judge Walsh successfully tried countless jury and non-jury trials, arbitration matters and appellate arguments in state and federal court, including the first UM/UIM case before a jury on behalf of his long-time client, Erie Insurance Exchange. Judge Walsh was beloved by his clients and was known for providing high-quality, no-nonsense legal representation with a strong attention to detail to each and every matter. Judge Walsh will be the first to tell you that an attorney’s commitment to the practice of law does not end when he exits the courtroom. Judge Walsh is a career-long member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Montgomery Bar Association, and has held numerous positions within the MBA. Most recently, Judge Walsh served as the Chair of Government Relations, and was responsible for working directly with Pennsylvania legislators to solve the most eminent problems facing attorneys in Montgomery County. Judge Walsh also served as a volunteer attorney for the Montgomery Child Advocacy Program (MCAP) to provide free legal representation to children who were victims of abuse and neglect. In 2015, he was appointed to be a Civil Case Master in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, where he utilized his many years-experience as a litigator to resolve discovery disputes.
While maintaining his prolific private practice, Judge Walsh continued to find new ways to serve his community. During his career, he served as solicitor of the Montgomery Township Zoning Board, as Chair of the Montgomery Township 300th Anniversary Planning Committee, as Solicitor for the North Penn Police Athletic League, as School Director of the North Penn School District Board of Directors, and most recently, as Chairman of the Montgomery Township Board of Supervisors. Recognizing the importance of service to others, Judge Walsh also served as a Civics and Law Instructor to teach middle school civics courses in Norristown, as a coach for Montgomery United Girls’ Soccer, and a member of the Knights of Columbus. In May 2014, Judge Walsh also organized a 5K charity run for the Wounded Warrior Project. Though Judge Walsh maintains an impressive resume of achievements, those who have had the pleasure of working with him know that he is among the most humble and gracious of men. There is, however, one thing that he is unabashedly and unapologetically proud of: his family. Judge Walsh will be the first to boast about his wife, Nancy, who is currently the Program Coordinator at the Montgomery Bar Association, where she heads up the Leadership Academy and Access to Justice Program. He will also be quick to tell you about his latest trips to visit his daughters, Shannon, at the University of Georgia, and Bridget, at the University of Pittsburgh, or how his youngest daughter, Maggie, was recently elected class president at North Penn High School. Judge Walsh has often said that it has been a life-long dream of his to be a judge. Judge Walsh has truly embodied the spirit of hard work and determination in reaching that goal. He looks forward to bringing his extensive trial experience, as well as his passion for and commitment to Montgomery County, to his role as judge, and will undoubtedly be an invaluable asset to the Montgomery County bench. FA L L 2 0 1 6 2 9
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Lovely Lucca is a classy addition to
Conshohocken’s ever expanding restaurant scene By Denise S. Vicario, Esq.
rom the moment you drive into the parking lot adjacent to Bar Lucca on Hector Street in Conshohocken, you feel welcomed by the happy sunflowers (season permitting, of course) and sense that you are in for a culinary treat. Indeed, Bar Lucca is a marvelous spot to relax and share small plates in an atmosphere that is both warm like the Tuscan sunshine that inspired owner Brian Pieri – and as lively as any good bar should be. As you walk through the bar area and enter the restaurant past the brick-oven that wafts the undeniable smell of fresh pizza, it is evident that much forethought went into the renovations that transformed the location of the classic Totaro’s into a rustic spot that is highlighted by tastefully appointed tokens from what one would guess are personal experiences in Lucca, Tuscany. The music is a nice, welcoming touch too! The staff is not only friendly, but is engaged (more to come on that point) in ensuring that every customer has a good experience, and they love making suggestions allowing for an adventure of ordering small plates and pizzas as you go. Colleen, the assistant manager, made a point to check on our table twice during our meal. The beverage menu is extensive and the red Melagrana Sangria ($9) with brandy and pomegranate, and the white Pesca Sangria ($9) with vanilla, vodka, and peach were refreshing libations as we perused the menu. Questions about anything related to the menu – and restaurant – are welcomed and answered with a thoughtful smile. So about that menu: selections include crafty categories, including ‘Snacks & Salads,’ ‘Boards and Bruschettas,’ ‘Fresh Pasta,’ ‘Neapolitan Style Pizza,’ ‘Tuscan Thin Crust Pizza,’ ‘Meat & Fish’ and ‘Contorni,’ that encourage lots of sharing and put some adventure into your ordering. As someone who grew up with Italian traditions, there are a few things that any good Italian Restaurant must get right…clearly the humble, but omnipresent meatball ($10) is one! Bar Lucca did not disappoint while providing a different twist on this staple of Italian cuisine. The piping hot and promptly served ‘snack’ was freshly made and ladled onto a rich broth – not sauce or gravy – with roasted tomatoes, mozzarella and parmesan. The ‘special salad’ ($12) of the evening was arugula with goat cheese, plentiful pine nuts and fresh fig in citrus vinaigrette. Undeniably, our meal was off to a great start!
Next, we were served the Homemade Ricotta ‘Board’ ($14) garnished with warm, salted bread and roasted asparagus. Indeed, the creamy ricotta was homemade, luscious and perfect to spread on the warm homemade bread. The Boards are a great portion for sharing, and a fun addition to the meal. The choices are plentiful and distinctive enough from each other that you are tempted to order more than one. But since we were very interested in the pizza selection, we decided to forego another Board or Bruschetta for the Rucola Tuscan Thin Crust Pizza ($16). The pizza had a paper-thin crust that included fresh and buffalo mozzarella with asiago, arugula and prosciutto. The pizza arrived to the table piping hot, very well sized and perfect for heating up the next day. A nice touch was the holding of any leftovers in a doggie bag until the end of the meal. The other thing an Italian Restaurant must get right is pasta. The homemade gnocchi ($14) was light and divine…and as any Italian cook will tell you, this is no easy feat. Served with black garlic cream, pancetta, green onion and parmesan crisps, this gnocchi was the kind of Italian dumplings that not only Italians who grew up eating them, but anyone, can appreciate. The portion was not large, but a sufficient small plate to share. If there was any criticism of the meal, it was the main fish course. The otherwise succulent scallops ($25) had a little too many flavors competing with a cider glaze, lemon-oregano jam, heirloom carrots and saffron parsnips. The scallops were fresh and tasty, but were overwhelmed by all those additions. The perfect conclusion to the meal was the trio of gelatos with the crusty biscotti ($7) (flavors change daily, but if you can get the cinnamon or fig you will not be disappointed). The frothy cappuccino is a must, too ($4). Bar Lucca is open daily and serves Lunch and Dinner with a Sunday Brunch, and of course, a lively bar! Prices range from $6 and upwards for the ‘Snacks and Salads’ to mid-twenties for larger portion ‘Meat and Fish’ entrees. The parking lot is medium sized, but affords much appreciated no cost parking in Conshohocken, and there is street parking if you can find it. P.S. In all my years of filling out ‘tell-us-about-your-diningexperience’ cards I have never had any expectations of response, until I received a lovely ‘Bar Lucca’ thank you note from our server who not only remembered a personal detail of our conversations, but remembered to include a particular comment on my order. Lovely Bar Lucca is keeping it classy in Conshohocken, too!
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BOOK REVIEW: American Heiress by Jeffrey Toobin By Jules J. Mermelstein, Esq.
hose of us of a certain age remember the kidnapping of Patricia Hearst, which occurred on February 4, 1974. For my wife and I, in particular, it resonated deeply. At the time, Patricia Hearst was a 19-year-old college student with long brown hair engaged to be married. My wife and I were 18-year-old college students engaged to be married. My wife, then fiancé, also had long brown hair. Patricia Hearst was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) because she is the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst. For those of you who don’t remember your late 19th century US history, William Randolph Hearst was one of the pre-eminent newspaper publishers of that time. [For you young’uns out there, think of a newspaper as a hard copy of Philly.com delivered to your home each day.] While Hearst actively published the New York Tribune and Joseph Pulitzer actively published the New York World, they created what is known as “yellow journalism” – creating outrageous headlines (sometimes stories) to sell newspapers. These were the two main publishers affected by the famous newsboys strike, popularized by the musical Newsies. Randy Hearst was one of William’s sons and Patricia Hearst’s father. She was known as Patricia to everyone else until the kidnapping. Post–kidnapping, she quickly became known to the public as “Patty” because her father was the family representative who most often spoke to the press and that is what he called her. The previous year, the SLA had assassinated a school superintendent from Oakland, CA named Marcus Foster, who was originally from Philadelphia. In taking Hearst, they committed the first political kidnapping in the history of the United
States. At the time of the kidnapping, it turns out they had no idea what ransom they were going to demand. Eventually, they asked for a food program for the poor of California to be paid by Randy Hearst. Author Jeffrey Toobin takes us through this fascinating time in US history, reminding us how violent it was. For instance, an average of 1,000 bombs per year were going off throughout the country in political protest. Toobin compares the 1960s and the 1970s. “The 1960s were hopeful, the 1970s sour; the 1960s were about success, the 1970s about failure; the 1960s were sporadically violent; the 1970s pervasively violent.” Although Patricia Hearst would not cooperate with Toobin in his research for this book, Toobin obtained and read all of the law enforcement files, all of Patricia Hearst’s writings and transcriptions of her statements and interviews, the hundredpound transcript of her eight week trial, and many other documents. He interviewed many people including former members of the SLA and law enforcement. As with all non-fiction books, it is important to notice which statements are based on evidence and which are based on conjecture or the author’s evaluation of the evidence. Toobin freely gives us his opinion as to who was telling the truth with various aspects of the story. Although I don’t doubt that what he says could be true based on what he found, it is important to keep in mind that other experts in other fields, such as traumatic stress, may have a different take on the evidence.
Toobin points out the basic question that most people who followed the details of the kidnapping and trial had. “Few people in American history have been subjected to as dramatic a transformation of circumstances as Patricia Hearst. In an instant, her life of ease and privilege vanished, replaced by an ordeal of pure terror. And then – most remarkably of all – she responded to this extraordinary trauma by becoming a member of the very group that took her freedom away. Or did she?” One interesting detail provided was the role Sara Jane Moore, who would later attempt to assassinate President Gerald Ford, played in the saga. No, she was not part of the revolutionaries who kidnapped Patricia, but she participated in the organization formed to deliver free food to the poor, based on the SLA’s initial demand. Also, Toobin gives his opinion on various legal strategies, obviously with the benefit of hindsight. One might agree with Toobin on some or all of his conclusions, but it is important to analyze any legal strategies using information that the attorneys knew at the time. In addition to being the first political kidnapping in the United States, this case also involves the first defendant who received a commutation from one president and a pardon from another one. As Toobin points out, the average convicted felon does not get this kind of attention. The book is a really interesting read, especially for those of us who lived through the Patty Hearst saga. With the caveats I’ve listed, I strongly recommend this book.
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Annual MBA Clambake June 30, 2016 The Barn at Mermaid Lake, Plymouth Meeting, PA
Diversity Committee Honors Judge Daniel J. Clifford and Lindette C. Hassan, Esq. The MBA Diversity Committee held a reception on June 22nd to honor two distinguished members of our bench and bar. The Honorable Daniel J. Clifford was acknowledged for serving as the founding chair of the Diversity Committee and for being the first LGBT member of the bench of the 38th Judicial District of Pennsylvania Common Pleas Court. Lindette C. Hassan, Esq., of Fox Rothschild, LLP, was also honored for serving as the first diverse lawyer to lead the Young Lawyers Section and the MBAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first officer of color.
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MEMBERS in the News Taylor A. Smith has joined Kaplin Stewart in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania as an Associate in the Estate and Trusts group. Her practice focuses on all stages of estate planning and estate administration. Ms. Smith’s practice also includes general tax practice. She earned her Juris Doctorate from Temple University and her Bachelors of Science in Mathematics and Bachelors of Arts in Political Science at Villanova University. Ms. Smith is licensed to practice law in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Marc D. Jonas served as a panelist at a Solicitor’s Roundtable at the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Commissioners’ Annual Conference on June 24, 2016 in King of Prussia, PA. Mr. Jonas discussed the land use process, including strategies, the reciprocal burden of good faith, and the implications of recent court decisions. Mr. Jonas has also been named the 2017 Lawyer of the Year for Land Use and Zoning Law in Philadelphia by The Best Lawyers in America®. Only a single lawyer in each practice area and community is honored with a “Lawyer of the Year” award. Since 2012, Mr. Jonas has been repeatedly selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® in two fields — Land Use and Zoning Law as well as Litigation in Land Use and Zoning. Mr. Jonas and Michael J. Savona were selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2017 edition. The law firm of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin is pleased to announce that three of its attorneys were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2017 (Copyright 2017 by Woodward/White, Inc. of Aiken, SC). Steven H. Lupin was selected in the area of Commercial Litigation, and J. Edmund Mullin and Carl N. Weiner were selected in the area of Land Use and Zoning Law. J. Edmund Mullin co-chairs the Real Estate and Land Use Department of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin. Practicing real estate and land use law for over 40 years, he has established a noted reputation in the areas of municipal and land use law. Carl N.Weiner co-chairs the Real Estate Group of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin. For over two decades, he has handled an enormous array of real estate law matters for Delaware Valley clients, ranging from zoning and land development to real-estate financing and acquisition. He is widely regarded as one of the area’s leading attorneys in association law, based on his work in the development of over 100 condominium and homeowners’ associations and ongoing representation of numerous associations. Marc Robert Steinberg, partner at the law firm of Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford, P. C., has received his Board
Recertification as a Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Certification is the highest, most stringent, and most reliable honor an attorney can achieve. Approximately three percent of American lawyers are board certified and Mr. Steinberg is a member of a very select group who has taken the time to prove competence in his specialty area and earn board certification. Mr. Steinberg has now been certified six times as a Criminal Trial Advocate having received his original Certification on May 1, 1986. Amy R. Stern, also of Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford, P.C., was elected co-chair of the Montgomery County Women’s Center’s Board of Directors. The Women’s Center of Montgomery County is a volunteer community organization with a primary focus on freedom from domestic violence and other forms of abuse. Their programs, policies and procedures reflect a strong commitment to empowering women. Ms. Stern has been a member of the Board of Directors for the past four years. Wisler Pearlstine, LLP is pleased to announce that James J. Garrity and Joseph M. Bagley, partners with the firm, recently addressed the 91st Annual Conference of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Commissioners on the subject “Solicitor’s Roundtable: Six Signs that Someone May Be About to Litigate with the Township.” In addition, Lawrence D. Dodds, partner with the firm, recently presented on the topic of “Divorced Parents and the IDEA – From Evaluations and IEPs, to Field Trips and School Events” at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s Snapshots of Special Education Program. The session offered strategies for dealing with IEP changes, custody issues, FAPE, and more. The Honorable Mason Avrigian, Sr., also of Wisler Pearlstine, LLP, has been appointed chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Insurance Fund and Trust Fund. He will serve a two-year term, beginning July 1, 2016 and ending June 30, 2018. The Pennsylvania Bar Insurance Fund “was established to provide insurance plans for the Association’s members and the latter’s employees who desire to participate in such plans. The Trust Fund was established to promote educational and charitable activities within the legal profession and administration of justice, particularly in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” Michael E. Peters was elected to the Board of Bucks Beautiful. In this capacity, he will work with Board members and local and state government offices to expand the organization’s reach into communities throughout Bucks County. Mr. Peters has a
keen appreciation for the work completed by Bucks Beautiful, a contributing factor in the pride he has as a resident of the Central Bucks community. Friedman Schuman, P.C. is pleased to announce that Greg Emmons has joined the firm as a Principal. Friedman Schuman, P.C. is a 25-attorney full service law firm located in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. As a member of Friedman Schuman’s Financial Services and Real Estate Departments, Greg will continue to support his Bucks County clients while being able to offer his vast experience to an extended client base. Greg will handle commercial and residential real estate, banking, business and title matters for the firm. He will also continue to handle real estate brokerage and appraisal regulatory matters. As a result of his experience, Greg is qualified to serve as an expert witness in real estate, business, banking and title matters. Greg has published a number of legal text books and has considerable experience as an educator and mediator. Steven F. Fairlie, of the North Wales law firm Fairlie & Lippy, P.C., appeared on The American Law Journal’s broadcast of “From OJ to Cosby to ‘Making of a Murderer’: Criminal Justice on Trial?” which has just been nominated for a 2016 Emmy in the Interview/Discussion Program/Special Category of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Mid-Atlantic region, in the fourth largest TV market in the country and surrounding states. The law firm of O’Donnell,Weiss & Mattei, P.C. was founded in 1955 and has been operating out of their original office location in Pottstown at 41 E. High Street in Pottstown for the last 61 years. In January 2006 OWM Law opened an additional, fully-staffed office, at 347 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, PA. This year OWM Law is excited to be celebrating the 10th Anniversary of opening its office in Phoenixville, conveniently located on Bridge Street in the office building connected to the new Borough Hall. Attorneys in Phoenixville office include Shareholders David A. Megay, practicing in real estate and title insurance, business planning, family law, and estate administration; James C. Kovaleski, practicing in business law, real estate, estate planning and estate administration; Michael B. Murray, Jr., practicing in land use, municipal, and real estate; in addition to Associate Rebecca Hobbs, CELA, practicing in elder law, estate planning and estate administration. Kelly B. Hodge has joined Elliott Greenleaf. Ms. Hodge was the first independent Title IX coordinator at the University of Virginia, where she helped develop and implement sex and
gender harassment policies across the university’s 11 campuses. She worked proactively and effectively to address alleged sex and/ or gender-based harassment and intimate partner violence. Her practice at Elliott Greenleaf will focus on education law, counseling institutional and individual clients how to comply with federal and state law to avoid litigation, and on litigation, including education, white collar criminal issues, and internal investigations. Timoney Knox partnered with other members of the Fort Washington Business Alliance and the Upper Dublin Police Department to offer another installment of Coffee with a Cop on September 24 at the Dreshertown Shopping Center. Stephen G.Yusem, recipient of the 2014 Sir Francis Bacon Alternative Dispute Resolution Award, presented at the Pennsylvania Bar Association In-House Counsel 2016 Summit at Gettysburg on the topic of Commercial Mediation.
Appeals and Briefs Anthony J. Vetrano
610.265.4441 630 Freedom Business Center Drive, Suite 215 King of Prussia, PA 19406 TonyVetrano@VetranoLaw.com www.PennsylvaniaAppealsLawyer.com
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SNEAK PREVIEW Look for the brand new, fully redesigned MontgomeryBar.org in the coming weeks! Fully Responsive to accommodate any device: PC, tablet, phone, etc.
Easy Navigation – drop down menus allow for quick and intuitive navigation
Quick Links – reach the most frequently visited sections of the website
Updated Event & CLE Calendar – see what’s happening right on the homepage
All-New Member Portal – log into your account to see outstanding invoices, registered events, committee/section signups, and much more!
UPCOMING MBA EVENTS January 2016 - April4, 2016 November 2016
Annual Membership Dinner Rivercrest Golf Club, Phoenixville, PA
November 10, 2016
Delaware Valley Legal Expo Sheraton Valley Forge, King of Prussia, PA
November 15, 2016
9th Annual Toby L. Dickman Family Law Seminar Montgomery County Court House, Norristown, PA
Holiday Events – check montgomerybar.org for dates and times
MAKE GREATER CONNECTIONS FOR YOUR CLIENTS.
January 13, 2017 Annual Business Luncheon Location TBD
Visit MBACLE.org for the latest schedule of upcoming CLEs. Visit montgomerybar.org for the latest schedule of events and to register for any of the above-mentioned events.
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