The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

March 15, 2013

Supreme Court sustains jury commissioners: Judges void law allowing counties to abolish positions

— Jury commissioners across the commonwealth received a reprieve from the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania on Thursday.

The high court declared – by a 6-0 vote – that a law giving counties permission to abolish jury commissioner positions violated the state constitution’s single-subject provision because it was tied to an unrelated measure dealing with private property and farm surplus online auctions.

Cambria County Solicitor Thomas Leiden said the court did not make “any indication on the constitutionality” of actually eliminating the positions.

Rather, judges determined Act 108, as it was written in 2011, went against the single-subject provision, which bars unrelated subjects from being included in the same legislation.

“When it passed, there was some question about the single-subject intent,” said state Rep. Gary Haluska, D-Patton, who voted against the bill.

Legislators could decide to take up the issue again, meaning the positions are not completely safe from elimination.

“I would hope they would reconsider, but I would not be surprised if they just passed a new bill,” said Indiana County resident Mary Jane Dellafiora, a Pennsylvania State Association of Jury Commissioners legislative representative.

Several counties already had decided to eliminate the positions. Cambria County planned to abolish the offices, currently held by Democrat Helen Whiteford and Republican Vickie Long.

“We just have to revisit it,” said Cambria County Commissioner Thomas Chernisky, a former jury commissioner. “They were budgeted for this year. We’re working on next year’s budget, so nothing is decided for next year.”

Chernisky supports retaining the positions because “the jury selection process is a very serious process.”

The seats originally were scheduled to be on the 2013 ballot. But since they subsequently were scheduled to be eliminated, nobody planned to run.

Now, with the primary set for May 21, the county must scramble to figure out how to handle the situation. Chernisky feels the state needs to quickly explain what should be done, since the deadline to file nomination  petitions already has passed.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • DePrimio, Mary Grace Winner of scholarship contest to represent Pa.

    Seventeen high school seniors, including three from this region, are competing to be named Distinguished Young Woman of Pennsylvania 2015.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Restaurant makes pitch for local noise law

    A Scalp Avenue wing chain owner trying to entice Richland Township officials to take over his commercial neighborhood’s noise enforcement made his pitch Monday, saying it would allow him to add outdoor events with rock bands and oldies DJs on summer nights.

    July 28, 2014

  • Tom Grenell Arena, promoter nearing new deal

    A new contract is almost in place that will retain SMG as the Cambria County War Memorial Arena’s promoter for at least five years and create a schedule for the county to pay down more than $400,000 in debt.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • PennDOT pushes ‘Yellow Dot’ vehicle stickers

    It’s the car sticker that could save your life.
    PennDOT’s “Yellow Dot” program has been around for several years, said Daniel Zakraysek, coordinator of the Cambria Allegheny Regional Highway Safety Network.

    July 28, 2014

  • Remembering elephant’s rampage

    The circus elephant paced the landing outside the Jaffa Mosque in Altoona.
    Police formed an uneasy line around the perimeter of the venue’s lawn, rifles at the ready.
    It was a cloudy, cold day in April 1993, and Tyke the elephant had just run around the circus ring, slapped a baboon and burst through a building’s front door, tearing off part of the wall above the door.

    July 28, 2014

  • 3rd Kennywood coaster earns title

    The group American Coaster Enthusiasts has named the Thunderbolt a Coaster Landmark, the third roller coaster to be so recognized at the Kennywood amusement park near Pittsburgh.

    July 28, 2014

  • Candidates rush to counter flurry of TV attack ads

    A flurry of new TV ads has debuted in Pennsylvania’s campaign for governor, sending candidates scrambling to counter the attacks as the spending and rhetoric ratchet up.

    July 28, 2014

  • State briefs 7/29/2014

    July 28, 2014

  • Local briefs 7/29/2014

    July 28, 2014

  • wolfe.jpg Three region hospitals joining forces through oversight board

    Three area hospitals announced the formation of a joint oversight board to control costs, strengthen buying influence and improve patient outcomes.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads