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Municipal Law Seminar

CLE on the Open Records and Open
Meetings Laws

For government agencies, the Right-to-Know Law (involving open records) and the Sunshine Act (involving open meetings) serve as important laws designed to ensure governmental transparency.  The County of Berks will be hosting a training session, co-sponsored by the Berks County Bar Association, presented by Office of Open Records Chief of Outreach and Training and Open Records Officer George Spiess on fulfilling governmental agencies’ obligations under these two statutes between 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25, 2017.  The training will take place in the Second Floor Auditorium in the County Services Center, located at 633 Court Street in Reading.   The training is free, except attorneys seeking 1.5 CLE substantive credits will be charged a $10.00 processing fee.

Register here››

The CLE processing fee will be collected at the door.


Important Statements of Support

Statement in Support of Federal Funding of Civil Legal Services

MidPenn Legal Services provides free representation to Berks County low-income families needing help with child custody, domestic violence, housing, public benefits, employment and consumer issues.

Statement in Support of Federal Funding of Legal Aid continued››

Berks County Bar Association Board of Directors Statement
on Judicial Independence

In light of recent, critical comments by the President of the United States directed at members of our judicial branch of government while litigation was pending, and in light of the fact that judges who have been criticized, by rule, are not permitted to respond publicly, the Board of Directors of the Berks County Bar Association has decided that it is appropriate to issue this statement in support of our Federal Constitution.

Statement on Judicial Independence continued››

Access to Courthouse/Family Dockets

Access link here››

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.


Canada may legalize recreational marijuana by July 2018

[JURIST] An anonymous Canadian government official on Monday announced the country's intention to legalize recreational marijuana by July 2018. The news [Telegraph report] follows public declarations from both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould [official profiles] to introduce legislation legalizing and strictly regulating the substance. Canada is expected to incorporate the advice of the marijuana task force, which has suggested that citizens be permitted to carry 30 grams of recreational marijuana and grow up to four marijuana plants, with higher potency marijuana being subject to higher taxes. According to the task force, recreational marijuana should not be... Full Story››

Supreme Court blocks Texas execution over intellectual disability

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Tuesday in Moore v. Texas [SCOTUSblog materials] that the factors considered by Texas in determining a defendant was not intellectually disabled do not comport with the Eighth Amendment [text] or court precedent. The case arose when Petitioner Bobby James Moore fatally shot a store clerk during a botched robbery when he was 20 years old, and was subsequently convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. On a habeas challenge, a state court determined that Moore was intellectually challenged, and the death penalty would be cruel and unusual punishment. In... Full Story››

UK court reduces sentence of marine who killed injured militant

[JURIST] The UK Court Martial Appeal Court on Tuesday reduced the sentence [sentencing remarks, PDF] of former Royal Marine [official website] Alexander Blackman, who was convicted of killing an injured Taliban militant in Afghanistan in 2011. His murder conviction that carried a sentence of life imprisonment was reduced to manslaughter this month, and this sentencing decision reduces his imprisonment [Guardian report] to only seven years. The judges noted that while his service without issue before the killing is a factor weighing against dismissal with disgrace from the Royal Marines, the severity of the crime supports that he should remain dismissed.... Full Story››

First Amendment attorneys sue DHS over data obtained in border crossings

The Columbia University Knight First Amendment Institute on Monday filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in the US District Court for the District of Columbia against the Trump administration seeking release of data on how often US citizens and others had electronic devices searched at border crossings. The lawsuit [press release], filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [text], is aimed at requiring the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to reveal when it has searched US citizens and other travelers. The Knight Institute filed a FOIA request, and DHS has failed to respond up to this point. The lawsuit... Full Story››

Former Bosnian prison guard sentenced for fraudulently obtaining US citizenship

[JURIST] Former Bosnian prison guard Slobo Maric was stripped [press release] of his US citizenship and sentenced to 18 months in prison on Monday after failing to disclose his membership in the Bosnian Army and war crimes he committed during the Bosnia-Herzegovina Conflict [BBC backgrounder], according to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement [official profile]. Maric became a US citizen in 2002, after serving in a detention facility in Bosnia where he subjected detainees to physical abuse and psychological damage. According to the press release, "[t]he Bosnian government charged Maric for his criminal conduct and, after Maric immigrated to the United... Full Story››