PA Superior Court to Convene in Bethlehem

Pennsylvania appeals court will hold a special session at Northampton Community College on Tuesday and Wednesday.


The Superior Court of Pennsylvania will hold a special session of its argument court in Northampton Community College’s Lipkin Theatre on Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 26 and 27, the court announced today.

This will be the first time in the history of the state appeals court that it will hold session in Bethlehem and one of the few times in its more than 100-year history that a session will be held outside of a courtroom, said Superior Court Judge Jack A. Panella.

Panella is based in Bethlehem and sought special permission to hold this session, which will include argument from 45 cases, most of which have litigants from Lehigh, Northampton and Monroe counties, the judge said.

Both sessions will begin at 9 a.m. and are open to the public.

Tuesday’s session will be preceded by a first-of-its-kind opening ceremony to honor veterans that will include a presentation of the colors, the pledge of allegiance and remarks from the judges, NCC President Mark H. Erickson, Northampton County President Judge Edward G. Smith, an Iraq War veteran, and Kyle Tiley, an NCC student and an Afghanistan War veteran.

“Honoring veterans is meant to acknowledge that our government — and especially our armed services — have fought to maintain the high standards of judicial freedom and independence that our Constitution requires,” Panella said.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania is the appeals court of general jurisdiction for most criminal, civil and domestic cases from the courts of common pleas. The court has 14 judges and five senior judges who generally sit in panels of three.

Panella will be the presiding judge for these sessions and will be joined by Senior Judge William H. Platt, the former president judge of Lehigh County Court, and Judge Cheryl Lynn Allen of Allegheny County.

This is the second time that Panella, who was elected to Superior Court in 2003, has brought a special session to his home county. In 2009, he hosted a special session at the Northampton County Courthouse in Easton.


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