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Eye Opener – August 13, 2012

Eye Opener

COURT REMOVES DEWEESE FROM BALLOT

According to an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the legal door has slammed on former Pennsylvania House Speaker Bill DeWeese’s quest to run for re-election from his cell in state prison. On Friday, Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley ruled DeWeese ineligible to run for re-election to his old district, centered in Greene County because he is serving a 21/2- to five-year prison sentence for public corruption convictions. Click here to read the Pittsburgh Post Gazette article.

STATE SCHOOL BUILDING CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM TO CLOSE

According to an Associated Press article, a $300-million-a-year state program that helps school districts pay to construct or renovate buildings will soon be closed to new projects, at least temporarily, as state officials decide if it needs to be changed or eliminated. Some districts are rushing to get their plans into the pipeline before the October start of a nine-month moratorium that was quietly enacted along with the state budget earlier this summer. Click here to read the Associated Press article.

EXACT MATCH NOT NECESSARY ON VOTER ID

According to an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, every Tom, Dick and Harry registered to vote will be able to cast a ballot in November even if the names on their IDs are Thomas, Richard and Harold. “It doesn’t have to be an exact match,” said Larry Spahr, director of the Washington County election office. “Larry is an accepted derivation of Lawrence, like Jim and James and Bill and William.” Some Democrats who oppose Pennsylvania’s voter identification law contend they could be barred from voting — even if they’re one of the candidates — because their first names differ slightly between their driver’s licenses and voter registration documents. Click here to read the Pittsburgh Tribune Review article.

PA SUPREME COURT TO HEAR CASES OF MINORS SENTENCED TO LIFE

According to an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments over whether the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Miller v. Alabama — banning mandatory life sentences without parole for minors — applies retroactively to a Pennsylvania prisoner who has otherwise exhausted his appeals. The court has agreed to hear on an expedited basis the case of Commonwealth v. Cunningham, involving the 1999 arrest of Ian Cunningham, who was 17 when he was charged with murder and robbery. He was convicted of those crimes in 2003 and sentenced to life in prison. Click here to read the Pittsburgh Post Gazette article.


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