Parents silenced in family court, LOVE sculpture artist dies | Morning Newsletter

Happy Tuesday, Philly. Looks like we haven’t quite kicked all that wet weather we’ve been having; grab an umbrella for later. This morning we’re going inside Philadelphia Family Court, where some parents and relatives say they’ve been silenced by a controversial judge. The cost? Often, it has meant the removal of their children before mothers and fathers have stated their case. In other local legal trouble, the landlord who had illegally turned a North Philly row home into a boarding house where three died when it was consumed by flames is besieged by investigations and fines —  and he owns dozens of other Philly properties. Read on for all the details.

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— Aubrey Nagle (@aubsn, morningnewsletter@philly.com)


Inside the Philly courtroom where you’re not allowed to speak

Camera icon ANTOINE SMITH
Lisa Mothee of Olney said her five kids were removed by order of a judge who would not even let her present her case.

In Judge Lyris Younge’s courtroom at Philadelphia Family Court, Lisa Mothee wasn’t allowed to speak.

The mother of five says she’s connected with 25 families that claim they, too, were silenced, prevented from offering testimony or evidence before Younge moved to take their children away.

Now another judge has been assigned to Younge’s courtroom and reports say she’s the subject of a probe by the state Judicial Conduct Board. Meanwhile, those on Younge’s docket lay in limbo.

SCOTUS allows businesses to force workers into arbitration

The Supreme Court ruled Monday in a 5-4 vote that employers are allowed to prohibit workers from joining together, such as in class-action lawsuits, to complain about pay or workplace conditions.

So, businesses can force employees into resolving disputes individually via arbitration. In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested the decision could discourage individuals from seeking redress.

Arbitration agreements are popular in business and legal circles but some say this ruling could result in an expensive “explosion of individual cases.”

Lawsuit tied to fatal N. Philly blaze is just one of landlord’s legal problems

The deaths of three family members killed during a March row home fire have led back to an ex-Homeland Security agent whose companies own 28 Philly properties. The bodies of Alita Johnson, her stepfather Horace McCouellem, and 3-year-old son Haashim Johnson weren’t found for days after their North Philly home went up in flames.

The building was an illegal boarding house owned by Tyrone Duren. But if a relative of the victims, who is suing Duren for negligence, hopes to see monetary judgement, they’ll have to get in line behind a legion of investigations, tax liens, and fines.

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Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

That certainly does look like a throne, @leonathecav.

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Camera icon John Cole, The Scranton Times-Tribune, PA
Not Again Again

“So, my advice to the Northern Lebanon High School kids: Stay strong. Fight the power with a glower. And someday you, too, could be the unsmiling face of a social movement.” — Philly.com producer Addam Schwartz, once fired for not smiling enough, offers words of wisdom to students being forced to smile.

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How does a teen musical prodigy also have time to amass a money-making baseball card collection? Don’t ask questions, just listen to William McGregor play.