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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.
Egypt lawmakers approve human trafficking bill
The Egyptian Parliament [official website, in Arabic] on Monday voted to enact new legislation [press release, in Arabic] aimed at combating the growing number of human traffickers along its coast. Smugglers and their middlemen will now face prison terms or fines [Reuters report], and the law also penalizes anyone who aides trafficked migrants during their journey. However, the law also provides health, legal and economic assistance to migrants. The bill passed with a two-thirds majority in the legislature. Syrian refugees and other migrants en route to Europe are especially vulnerable [DOJ report] to becoming trafficking victims. Earlier this year, the... Full Story››
Supreme Court declines to rule in 1995 death penalty case
The US Supreme Court [official website] denied certiorari [order list, PDF Monday in the death penalty case Elmore v. Holbrook [materials]. The main issue in the case was whether a defendant's counsel can present one mitigating factor at the sentencing phase, without thoroughly investigating the possibility of other mitigating factors. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dissented from the denial. Sotomayor argued that the court should have accepted the case, and further, that they would find that the representation was a violation of the Sixth Amendment's right to effective assistance of counsel. Elmore was convicted in 1995... Full Story››
Amnesty: Australia using Nauru as 'open-air prison'
Australia is using the island of Nauru as an "open-air prison," putting refugees and asylum seekers through an abusive processing system as a means to prevent immigration, according to a report [text, PDF] released by Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Monday. The report claims that Australia has ignored the 1951 Refugee Convention [materials, PDF] by subjecting attempted asylum seekers and refugees to "egregious abuses," essentially trapping these individuals on the remote island. The report includes dozens of interviews with refugees, documenting claims of mental health issues, suicide attempts and attacks at the hands of Nauru citizens. AI also noted... Full Story››
Federal judge orders Florida to provide method to fix vote-by-mail ballot signatures
Less than 24-hours after canceling a hearing [JURIST report] on the vote-by-mail ballots, District Judge Mark Walker for the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida issued an order [order, PDF] requiring Florida to provide a method for voters to fix signature problems arising from vote-by-mail ballots. Walker was highly critical of the state's opposition to allowing these voters to ensure their votes are counted, calling it an odd and unconstitutional double-standard resulting in disenfranchisement of thousands of Florida voters. In particular, the judge said, "[i]t is illogical, irrational, and patently bizarre for the State of Florida to... Full Story››
Former China energy official given suspended death sentence
A former Chinese senior energy official who had hoarded 200 million yuan ($29.99 million) has been given a suspended death sentence after being convicted of corruption. Wei Pengyuan, who had been the deputy director of the coal department at the National Energy Administration, was accused of abusing his position [Xinhua report] to approve coal projects and take millions in bribes. His death sentence has been suspended for two years, which means that in reality he will remain in prison for life with no chance of parole or early release [Reuters report]. China's human rights record has drawn international scrutiny, particularly... Full Story››