Pennsylvania Legal Overview
The highest court in Pennsylvania is the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, comprised of seven justices elected to ten year terms. The Supreme Court dates back to 1684, making it the oldest appellate court in the US. The Supreme Court normally hears appeals coming from the Commonwealth Courts, while appeals against decisions made by the Court of Common Pleas are heard by the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth Court hears both original jurisdiction and appellate cases brought against and by the Commonwealth. The Court of Common Pleas divided into 60 judicial districts is the main trial court with general jurisdiction.
Top metro Pennsylvania areas for Legal Issues:
1. Capital punishment is legal in Pennsylvania, with the death penalty being administered by lethal injection. The Pennsylvania judiciary intervened twice in 1972 and 1977 to make the death penalty unconstitutional, but lawmakers redrafted legislation each time to make it legal again. The state's most famous case is Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), where the U.S. Supreme Court with its newly appointed conservative justices had its first opportunity to revisit Roe v. Wade (1973) and tweak the abortion laws. Pennsylvania's progressive anti-slavery laws which protected escaped slaves were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842).
2. The U.S. Department of Labor received complaints from legal service groups, claiming that the state of Pennsylvania is too slow when disbursing unemployment compensation.
3. Penn State University is currently facing three lawsuits for the neglect to safeguard children from being sexually abused on campus by one-time assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Trending Pennsylvania Legal Topics: The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) was established as a voluntary organization in July 1895. The PBA has more than 29,000 members, which is more than half of the nearly 48,500 lawyers licensed to practice law in the state of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners, acting on behalf of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, regulates lawyer admission applications and administers the State Bar exams. The PBA was based in Philadelphia until 1934, at which time it was moved to Harrisburg. The Supreme Court and all the agencies and administrative offices of the judiciary are also based in Harrisburg.