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Celebrating Law!

May 1 is officially recognized as Law Day.  First proclaimed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958, the Day is intended to highlight the importance of law in our society.  As President Eisenhower noted, “It is fitting that the people of this Nation should remember with pride and vigilantly guard the great heritage of liberty, justice, and equality under law which our forefathers bequeathed to us.”

This year’s theme is American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters.  As part of his Gettysburg Address, President Abraham Lincoln expressed the hope “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”  The very foundation of a government by the people is the right to vote.  Striving to establish and protect every citizen’s right to vote has been a central theme of American legal and civic history.  We see it today as part of the litigation over the recently passed Voter Photo ID law in Pennsylvania.

The Berks County Bar Association will be celebrating Law Day with its annual luncheon on April 30 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The program will include music provided by the Fleetwood High School Choraliers, announcing the winner of the County Mock Trial Competition, recognizing the winners of the 5th and 6th grade essay contest and the awarding of the Howard Fox Scholarship.

To reflect on the importance of the citizen’s right to vote, there is no one more qualified to be our keynote speaker than Susan B. Anthony, who fought for women to be granted the right to vote.  The actress, Margaret Goldman, from the American Historical Theatre in Philadelphia, will portray the famous suffragette.  It will be entertaining and educational!

Tickets are $20 each.  Download the registration form here. Once completed, please send it, together with payment, to BCBA, P. O. Box 1058, Reading, PA 19603 so that it will arrive at the office by April 22.

Looking for a Lawyer?

Have you just been served with a complaint seeking to foreclose on your home or to change the child custody arrangement or to evict you from your apartment?  Or are you considering bankruptcy?

You need to consult with an attorney.  Our members are skilled attorneys who can fight for your rights, draft valid legal documents and stand by you in the courtroom.  Don’t be misled by television ads for online legal forms.  Notaries and petition preparers cannot give legal advice or accompany you to court.  And “do-it-yourself” law is a fast lane to disaster.   Our members know Pennsylvania law, are available for personal consultations and are accountable to you. 

If you feel overwhelmed looking for the attorney right for you, go here for more information on what the Berks County Bar Association can do for you.

Foreclosure Mediation Program Continues

The Berks County Bar Association, in conjunction with the Berks County Courts and Neighborhood Housing Services, have created a program by which those threatened with the loss of their home can seek relief. The program began January 1 and is continuing.  Those served with a complaint in a consumer debt or home mortgage case may take advantage of the program.

Read More› for a description of the program.

The program is also explained on a recent "Ask a Lawyer" television show. Go here to view the program. As of July 16, 216 cases have requested to participate. Go here for a detailed update.


Supreme Court hears arguments on false political statements, TV copyright

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] in two cases Tuesday. In Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus [transcript, PDF] the court heard arguments on whether an Ohio law that imposes penalties for making knowingly false statements about political candidates violates the right to free speech. The Ohio law makes it a criminal offense to make knowingly or recklessly false statements about a candidate, with a maximum penalty of a $5,000 fine and six months in prison. Despite never facing actual penalties, two conservative groups, the Susan B. Anthony List and Coalition Opposed to... Full Story››

Oklahoma high court stays executions over lethal injection drug challenge

[JURIST] The Oklahoma Supreme Court [official website] on Monday stayed the execution of two death row prisoners who have challenged the legality of the state's lethal injection drugs. The stay comes just one day before [AP report] one of the inmates, Clayton Lockett, was to be executed and one week before Charles Warner was scheduled to die. A joint request for a stay of execution [AP report] filed by the inmates' lawyers on Monday, the latest of a series of appeals [NYT report], stated that the men "have received no certifications, testing data, medical opinions or other evidence to support... Full Story››

Georgia same-sex marriage ban challenged

[JURIST] Gay rights group Lambda Legal [advocacy website] on Tuesday filed a lawsuit [complaint; press release] challenging Georgia's ban on same-sex marriage. The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia [official website] on behalf of a widow and three same-sex couples [profiles]. The widow, who married her spouse in New York last year, is seeking to have her name listed on her spouse's death certificate. The other couples are seeking the right to marry in Georgia. According to Lambda Legal attorney Tara Borelli, "Georgians believe in the Southern values of love, honor and... Full Story››

Supreme Court upholds traffic stop based on 911 tip

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Russia court finds opposition leader guilty of slander

[JURIST] Judge Anna Nekryach of the Babushkinsky district court [official website, in Russian] on Tuesday found opposition leader Alexei Navalny [JURIST news archive] guilty of slander. A Moscow City Duma Deputy, Aleksei Lisovenko filed the lawsuit [RFE/RL report] after Navalny allegedly posed about Lisovenko on his Twitter account [personal account, in Russian], calling the deputy a drug addict. Nekryach found that the comment constituted slander and ordered Navalny to pay a 300,000 ruble (USD $8,350) fine. In February a Moscow court ordered Navalny on house arrest [JURIST report] during an investigation of embezzlement charges. Navalny and his supporters have argued... Full Story››