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Annual Law Day Luncheon

April 30, 2015 - 11:45 AM

First proclaimed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958, Law 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.”

Our 2015 luncheon celebrates the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta being sealed by King John in June 1215. The story of the Magna Carta is still unfolding. It is the story of our rule of law tradition and of how our American system of government is derived from our English legal heritage. The Magna Carta has been cited in over 170 United States Supreme Court opinions, most concerning due process of law and trial by jury. We are pleased that King John is able to join us as our keynote speaker. The actor, Bob Gleason, from the American Historical Theatre in Philadelphia, will portray the famous monarch.

Also at this luncheon program, the Howard Fox Memorial Law Scholarship will be presented, and the winners of the annual Law Day essay contest and of the annual Berks County interscholastic mock trial competition will be recognized.

Registration form››

Bar Completes Poll of its Members on Judicial Candidates

The Board of Directors of the Berks County Bar Association has completed tabulation of the poll of its Active Members which was conducted on the question of whether each of the eight judicial candidates should be "highly recommended", “recommended” or “not recommended at this time” for election to the Berks County Court of Common Pleas.

The results do not constitute an endorsement or non-endorsement by the Berks County Bar Association of any candidate.

Ballots were sent to 603 Members of the Association;  340 ballots were returned,  4 ballots were disqualified.

The results of the poll are as follows:

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 knowledge requirement for drug conviction

The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] Tuesday in McFadden v. United States [transcript, PDF; JURIST report] to determine what level of knowledge is required for a narcotics conviction. The question originally before the court was whether, to convict a defendant of distribution of a controlled substance analogue, the government must prove that the defendant knew that the substance constituted a controlled substance analogue. A controlled substance analogue is a substance with a chemical structure that is "substantially similar" to a schedule I or II drug and has a "substantially similar" effect on the user.... Full Story››

Supreme Court: extending traffic stop for drug sniffing dog unconstitutional

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled Tuesday that extending an already completed traffic stop in order to conduct a drug sniff violates the Constitution [text] as an unreasonable seizure. In a 6-3 decision by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the majority held in Rodriguez v. United States [opinion, PDF] that "a seizure justified only by a police-observed traffic violation, therefore, 'become[s] unlawful if it is prolonged beyond the time reasonably required to complete th[e] mission' of issuing a ticket for the violation." Dennys Rodriguez, stopped and warned by Officer Morgan Struble for driving on the shoulder, was detained after... Full Story››

Accussed Nazi officer goes on trial, admits moral guilt

[JURIST] Oskar Groening, a former Auschwitz guard, admitted in his opening statement before a court in Germany Tuesday that he shared the burden of moral guilt for his role at Auschwitz, which earned him the title, "Accountant of Auschwitz," but left it to the judges to determine if his actions were sufficient to be convicted as an accessory to murder. Groening, now 93, collected and tallied belongings stolen from people entering Auschwitz from 1942-44. He is charged [JURIST report] with 300,000 counts of accessory murder for supporting the Nazi efforts economically and processing the belongings of the victims. The court... Full Story››

Supreme Court: state natural gas action not preempted by federal law

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Tuesday in favor of Learjet and other natural gas retail purchasers in their action against interstate natural gas pipeline ONEOK, finding that the Natural Gas Act [text] does not provide the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [official website] exclusive control over the actions of energy firms. Learjet, representing a group of institutions that buy natural gas directly from interstate pipelines, brought suit against pipeline ONEOK for reporting false information affecting natural gas prices. In the 7-2 decision written by Justice Stephen Breyer, the court determined that because the action was targeting... Full Story››

Egypt court sentences Morsi to 20 years

[JURIST] Former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi [BBC profile] was sentenced to 20 years in prison Tuesday after being convicted of inciting violence and ordering the killing and torturing of protesters in 2012. The court did not convict [Al Jazeera report] Morsi, or any of the 14 other defendants, of murder, which could have resulted in death sentences. The former democratically elected president is currently awaiting verdicts in numerous other cases against him, including charges of espionage and leaking information to Qatar [JURIST report]. Amnesty International [advocacy website] criticized the trial [report] and conviction for being unfair from the start and... Full Story››