Bucks Writs - Spring 2019 - 3


Robert T. Repko
Vice President/President Elect
Daniel M. Keane

2019 Mock Trial Competition
By Erin K. Aronson


all are signs that the 2019 Mock Trial Competition is
successfully completed for another year.
Each year the Young Lawyers Division of the BCBA takes
the lead in organizing this county-wide competition,
which is part of the Pennsylvania Bar Association
statewide mock trial competition. As one of the largest
mock trial competitions in the nation, the PBA/YLD Mock
Trial Competition includes more than 300 high school
student teams from across the Commonwealth. Teams
advance through county, regional and statewide levels of
competition, with the statewide winner ultimately representing Pennsylvania nationally.

Bensalem High School

Writs Editor
Jason R. Weiss
Writs Committee
Susan Dardes
Scott I. Fegley
Scott L. Feldman
Nancy Larkin Taylor
Dianne C. Magee
Theresa Martin Golding
Paul Perlstein
Christopher J. Serpico
David J. Truelove
Writs Photographer
Dylan Gilheany
Bar Association Office
Greg Nardi, Executive Director
135 East State Street
Doylestown, PA 18901
email submissions to
Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc.
2921 Windmill Road
Reading, PA 19608
610.685.0914 x201
Advertising Contact
Alicia Lee 
610.685.0914 x210

Mock Trial Team

.......................................................................................... Page 8

Locally, this year's competition featured 17 teams vying
for the number one spot and the chance to represent
Bucks County at regionals. Following the first round
of competition, in which each team competes twice,
just four undefeated teams remained and moved onto
the semi-finals. Ultimately, Central Bucks South High
School and Bensalem High School squared off in the
final round, with Central Bucks South High School
advancing to regionals.

Coordinating the competition is a
herculean task and all BCBA members
should take pride in what we accomplish
together. In total, this year's competition
featured 20 trials, which required 20
Judges, 20 jury panels, and 20 bailiffs, all
in the span of just six weeks.

Coordinating the competition is a herculean task and all
BCBA members should take pride in what we accomplish
together. In total, this year's competition featured 20 trials,
which required 20 Judges, 20 jury panels, and 20 bailiffs,
all in the span of just six weeks. As Coordinator of this
year's competition, it gave me immense pride in YLD, our
membership, and our local legal community, which you
should all share.

Meet District Judge
Mark D. Douple, Esq.

supported this endeavor and are to be thanked for their
patience and support.

The competition also would not take place without the
assistance and cooperation of the Office of Court AdminBy doors
Susan E.
istration. Opening the courthouse
at Dardes
night to large
Our esteemed judges from the Bucks County Court of
numbers of enthusiastic teenagers and their families for
Common Pleas and Magisterial District CourtsT presided
in actual
is TO
no small undertaking.
an hour
to speak with
over each hearing. Students unfailingly reportSIT
the for about
the leadership
of our
Court Administrator, Steve
District Judge
Douple in and
his Warrington
office of Assistant Court
chance to appear before actual judges is a highlight
of Mark Heckman,
with the assistance
last month,
his work, Sherri
his family,
our competition. To be sure, this does not occur
in everyand discuss
we were able to do just that,
county competition. We are fortunate to have
even while juggling trial schedules and weather cancelof our Judges, and for their willingness to volunteer their
lations. We appreciate the efforts of Steve, Sherri, and
The Judge presides over Doylestown Borough,
time and expertise. Each Judge's administrative staff also
everyone in the Office of Court Administration.
and the Township of Doylestown, including the
Bucks County Prison.

Meet District Judge Mark D. Douple, Esq.
It was certainly my privilege and pleasure to sit down for
about an hour to speak with Magisterial District Judge Mark
Douple in his Warrington office last month, and discuss his



Sean M. Gresh
Past President
Jessica A. Pritchard

The flowers are blooming, temperatures are rising, and you have
not received a mass email from me imploring you to volunteer in
several weeks; all are signs that the 2019 Mock Trial Competition is



Julie D. Goldstein

2019 Mock Trial Competition


Judge Douple was born and raised in Lebanon,
Pennsylvania, and went to Mansfield State University
in Pennsylvania for his undergraduate degree. He
was a Dean's List student who majored in Psychology
and minored in Philosophy. Had he not gone to law
school, he said that he would have gone onto pursue
a doctorate in Psychology. But the University of Toledo
School of Law was looking for students from the east
coast, and he fit the bill. It was, he said, the only law
school to which he applied.

........................................................................................ Page 10

Old fashioned networking in Lebanon County helped
him land an internship with the Pennsylvania Turnpike
commission during law school. After that internship,
DJ Douple joined the Bucks County office of the Public
Defender, where he remained as an assistant PD for four
years. He then went on to practice law in Philadelphia
and Bucks Counties, concentrating on personal injury
and criminal defense work. In 2004, he co-founded the
Bucks County Mediation Center. After opening his own
two-person firm in New Britain in the late '90s, the DJ
enjoyed a successful litigation practice and then joined the
court to fill the seat of the retiring DJ Philip J. Daly.

Judge Douple after catching a Walleye fish in Sturgeon Bay,

served on the membership and dispute resolution, the lawyer
referral, and the Bench Bar committees. He is a past recipient
of the President's Award and, not surprisingly, he has
volunteered for the rebooted WLD/YLD mentoring program.


His work in the courtroom keeps his daytime schedule full,
be it with traffic court, criminal cases or non-traffic cases
such as disorderly conduct, landlord tenant disputes and
other general litigation throughout the week. The Judge's

staff is cross trained to handle all cases which come before
Judge Douple is in his second term, having been reelected

him. He has a criminal desk, a civil desk and a non-traffic
desk, and each staff member rotates cases on a periodic
basis. As you might imagine, much of the criminal cases
that come before him are DUI cases, and of the summary
campaign.and all Bucks, Montgomery, and Chester County
has "temporarily" moved from its longreelection
time location
offenses, he hears his fair share of traffic citations.
are kept up to date. A subscription to the Legal Intellion the bottom floor of the Administration Building
Due to Pennsylvania statute and potential conflicts of
gencer is available for any patron to read for free.
(i.e., the round building formerly known as the
When I asked him why he wanted to become a district
interest, Judge Douple can no longer mediate in Bucks
PBI publications are available for review, and as
Bucks County Courthouse) to what used to
judge after several years of private practice, he told me that
County, nor can he practice criminal law here. But he is a
newer titles are received, older publications
be the Prothonotary's Office on the second
very active member of the Bucks Bar Association, having
he wanted to make an impression with people, especially
are made available "for sale."
floor of the Administration Building? I
didn't realize that until I recently had the
Pennsylvania statutes dating
10 back to 1954
opportunity to spend some time with
are available, as well as court opinions
Barbara Morris, the Director of the Bucks
County Law Library since 2007.
Bucks County municipalities are located in a
nearby storage room. The library also keeps up
After being in the previous location for forty years,
to date collections of PA Rules of Court and Suggested
it's easy to understand why some lawyers, like me, were
Jury Instructions.
not aware of the location change, but when the County
began renovating the basement last year to make room for
Barbara explained that she spends about 70% of her time
Area Agency on Aging, Children and Youth Services, and
other county offices, new space had to be found for the law
30% of her time helping out lawyers. Citizens will most
library. The plan is to eventually return the law library to the
often seek her help in identifying forms that will enable
downstairs location near the end of this summer, but in the
them to draft legal pleadings relating to custody and
meantime the library continues to function very nicely in a
divorce, such as a Motion to Modify Alimony, or a Motion
bright, airy space where the Prothy's office once conducted
to Vacate a PFA Order. It's not unusual for someone to use
business before it was relocated to the Justice Center.
the law library to find a sample motion and proposed order;
create and print the document on Word; and file it all
Although use has markedly decreased since the relocation,
on the same day!
the law library continues to serve as an important resource
for both lawyers and members of the general public. There
When the library returns to its former location in the
are copiers available and computer access. Users can also
basement of the Administration Building, it will have lost
scan and forward documents by email at the library. Because
about 1/3 of its space. Accordingly, tough decisions had
the County has contracts with both Westlaw and Lexis Nexis,
to be made about which publications would have to be
lawyers as well as members of the general public are able to
purged in order to fit into the available space in the new
access their huge databases free of charge.
location. Among the publications that were removed
from BIG
and soldOF
were the Federal Reporter;
There are also three public access computersBIG
the Supreme
Level B1 of the Justice Center from which users
can alsoCOUNTY,
at 2875
York Road
in American Law
Reporter (ALR)
The library
to retain
access Westlaw and Lexis. Fax service is also Jamison,
available ishere.
a private, non-profit
with continues
and Big
national organizationaoffew
Big rare
Sisters collections,
of America. including Viner's
Anyone familiar with the expense of a subscription
PA casesseparately
that dateinback to case histories
Originally,toBig Brothers
and Big Sisters
Westlaw will realize the substantial savings Bucks
that can
from the
County. Big Brothers
formed in 1963 by a group
be had by making use of the County Law Library's
of concerned educators from the Centennial School District,
If you haven't visited the law library in a while, I
subscription. According to Barbara Morris, some
and Aid for Girls was established in 1971 by the Doylestown
encourage you to do so.
more frequent visitors to the library include branch
Bucks County
of the American Association of University Women. Aid
lawyers Jim Schildt; Jack Hetherington; Richfor
Girls became
Big Sisters in 1974, and Big Sisters and Big
You may be in for a surprise. 
Casey; Jeff Toner; and Andy Schneider.
Brothers merged into one organization in 1987.


in 2015. District Judges in Pennsylvania serve 6 year terms,
By Chris Serpico
only constrained by a mandatory (75 year) age retirement.

a couple more years
will be
at another
most County
Reporter cases on microfiche,
id you know that the Bucks CountyInLaw

"We're Still Here"
Did you know that the Bucks County Law Library has
"temporarily" moved from its long time location on the
bottom floor of the Administration Building (i.e., the round

e ...................................................................................... Page 13




The goal of Big Brothers
Big Sisters of Bucks County has
never changed. It is for all children to achieve success in
life. And what most residents of Bucks County don't realize
is that there are many children throughout the County
who need help in achieving that success. Big Brothers Big
Sisters of Bucks County knows that every child is born with
potential. Unfortunately, many children face socioeconomic
risk factors or have experienced trauma, making them
more likely to develop academic, behavioral or emotional
issues. The agency's programs match volunteer mentors
with children who need extra support. At Big Brothers Big
Sisters, mentoring is not about "saving" children. It's about
igniting, empowering and defending their potential.

These are the programs offered by Big Brothers Big Sisters
of Bucks County:
* In the Community Mentoring program, Littles are given
quality one-to-one time, twice per month, with a caring
adult who is willing to listen and engage the Little in a
variety of activities in the community. The average age of
the Littles is 12, and the average age of the Bigs is 44.
* The Hispanic Initiative matches children of Hispanic heritage
with adult role models. The goal of the program is to help
American-Latino children embrace their ethnic identities
while also building relationships within the community.
* In the STEM School Mentoring program, students in grades
K-12th are matched with volunteers who visit their Littles
weekly at their schools for an hour. BBBSBC provides a bin
filled with STEM-focused games & activities for the matches
to use, to help build the students' interest and skills in
Criminal records, even long-ago charges for minor offenses,
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
can create long-term barriers to employment, housing, and
* In the High School Bigs program, outstanding high
education. Those records can then plague individuals for
school students are matched as mentors to elementary
years, in some cases preventing them from accessing opporschool students in their district. The High School Bigs
tunities that would enable them to escape poverty.
and their Littles meet weekly at the elementary school.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County, located at 2875
York Road in Jamison, is a private, non-profit organization
affiliated with the national organization of Big Brothers Big

........................................................................................ Page 14


New Clean Slate Act
Expands Options for Clearing
a Criminal Record In PA

The high school students receive leadership education
and training and experience the value of community
service. The younger students benefit from having role
models who encourage and inspire them.
* In the "BLAST" (Bigs & Littles Autism Support Team)
program, two specially-trained High School Bigs are
matched with one elementary-aged Little who has
been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
BBBSBC staff provides training, support and coaching to
the High School Bigs, specific to meeting the needs of
children with ASD. This program takes place in Goodnoe
Elementary School in the Council Rock School District.


Pennsylvania law offers limited options for clearing records,
but those options expanded Dec. 26, 2018, when the
Clean Slate Act took effect. Now, Clean Slate's recordsealing provisions supplement expungement and pardons
to help Pennsylvanians seeking a second chance, so that
minor convictions with no further misdemeanor or felony
convictions don't become life sentences.

Criminal records, even long-ago charges for minor offenses,
can create long-term barriers to employment, housing,
and education. Those records can then plague individuals

The Clean Slate law passed the General Assembly with
strong bipartisan support: PA House Bill 1419 passed the
House, 188-2, and Senate, 49-0. On June 28, 2018, Gov.
Tom Wolf signed the bill, 2018 Act 56, into law.
For individuals hoping to clear their records as a pathway to
a better job, housing or education opportunities, Legal Aid
of Southeastern Pennsylvania (LASP) attorneys hold clinics
and information sessions in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and
Montgomery counties to outline "next steps." In Bristol
on March 14, Erica Briant, LASP's Regional Expungement
Attorney, presented information about the expungement,
sealing and pardon processes to 70+ people at a Second
Chance Expo sponsored by the office of State Rep. Tina
Davis, at Norton Avenue First Baptist Church. Briant and
Tesla Thomas, Staff Attorney based in LASP's Bristol office,
also hosted an information table afterwards.

to clear their record under Clean Slate will need to wait
10-20 years after their convictions to start the process.


More information on record sealing, expungement and
pardons follows:

Clean Slate process

New Clean Slate Act

........................................................................................ Page 18

To qualify for record-sealing, petitioners also must be free
of additional misdemeanor or felony convictions during
those 10-20 years. All fines, costs and restitution must be
paid. The 10-year clock starts on the disposition date (date
of conviction or guilty plea). "Probation counts toward the
10-year clock," Briant noted.

Roth IRAs A Tool to
Maximize Tax Efficiency
"Felony convictions can never be sealed," she said.

The new Clean Slate law enables individuals with criminal
By Michael L. Schwartz, RFC, CWS, CFS
Automatic record-sealing
records, including some first-degree misdemeanors, to
starts June 28, 2019
petition to have those records sealed. Sealed records are not
distribution, provided you hold the account for 5 years and
publicly accessible, but law enforcement, courts and some
for automaticmeet
of the following conditions: you are age 59½
employers retain limited access to view them. Depending on
the Clean
to be processed
or older;
are disabled; make a qualified first-time home
the number and severity of the convictions, those seeking
June 28,
and it's
27, 2020.
Sharon Dietrich,
purchase (lifetime limit $10,000); or have died. Also, be
RETURNS. Unfortunately,
by 2019,
that point
too late
Director and
that while your earnings may be subject to taxes and
to implement a strategy
for minimizing
tax bill. Attorney ofaware
penalties if withdrawn before those conditions are met,
It's extremely important that you take your tax efficiency
your contributions can be withdrawn at any time without
into your own hands. The concept of "let's deal with
tax or penalty. Roth IRAs have no required minimum distritaxes when the time comes," many times is usually not
butions (RMDs) during the lifetime of the original owner so
the best plan. One of the biggest tax benefits available
they can also be useful vehicles for estate planning.
to most investors is the ability to defer taxes offered by
Most experts agree that consistent funding of a
retirement savings accounts, such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s and
retirement plan is a healthy activity. The chart in this
IRAs. Through the use of tax deferrals, investors have the
article shows the 2018 IRS income limits for those who
opportunity to grow their wealth faster.
contribute to Roth IRAs.
Traditional retirement accounts can offer a potential double
dose of tax advantages. For those who qualify, contributions
Considering Roth IRA Conversions
made may reduce current taxable income (when income
Prior to 2010, to be able to convert from a traditional IRA
eligibility requirements are met) and any investment growth
to a Roth IRA, your income needed to be under a certain
is tax-deferred. After age 70½, however, there are required
limit. The IRS rules have changed and there is no longer
minimum distributions (RMDs) that you must take. Also,
an income cap for Roth IRA conversions. With the cap
upon death, your beneficiaries will be required to pay taxes.
removed, regardless of your income, anyone can now
Roth IRAs are different. With a Roth IRA (if income eligibility
convert to a Roth IRA, as long as they pay the appropriate
requirements are met) you can only contribute after-tax
tax on the conversion. If you convert to a Roth IRA, you
dollars. A Roth IRA contribution won't reduce your taxable
will have to pay taxes on any tax-deferred deposits and
income the year you make it, however, there are no taxes
investment gains at the time of the conversion.
on your future earnings and no penalties when you take a



Roth IRAs A Tool to Maximize Tax Efficiency
Paying taxes is so engrained in our lives that many people do
not even think about tax reduction until it's time to file their
tax returns. Unfortunately, by that point it's usually too late to

........................................................................................ Page 22

Roth IRA Contribution Limit

By Scott L. Feldman

Roth IRA Income Limits in 2014, suits again followed, and the matter progressed
for single filers
through the District Court and on appeal.

Rarely has a Supreme Court decision had such an
immediate and widespread impact on popular culture.
To the extent that amateur and professional sports
themselves are pervasive in our daily lives, the fact that
one can now gamble legally on them is, pardon the pun,
a game changer.

($7,000 if over 50)

Phase-out starts
at $122,000;
ineligible at $136,999

Roth IRA Income Limits - for Phase-out starts
The Supreme Court held that PASPA's provision prohibiting
married filing jointly and
at $193,000;
state authorizations of sports gambling schemes
ineligible at $202,999
anticommandeering doctrine under the 10th Amendment
("Congress may not simply commandeer the legislative
process by directly compelling them to enact and enforce
a federal regulatory program" New York v. Unites States,
505 U.S. 144 (1992)). A recent Harvard law review article
examines the notion that while past anticommandeering
cases had involved affirmative commands22that required
states to act, here, the respondents successfully argued that
PASPA merely required states to refrain from acting.

On May 14, 2018, Justice Samuel Alito delivered the opinion
of the Court in Murphy v. NCAA, 584 U.S. ___ (2018).
At issue was the State of New Jersey's appeal of a Third
Circuit decision upholding the Professional and Amateur
Sport Protection Act ("PASPA"). Congress passed the Act
in 1992 to prohibit state sanctioned sports gambling,
with exceptions for sports wagering in Nevada and sports
lotteries in Delaware and Oregon. New Jersey's opposition
to PASPA dates back to a voter referendum in 2011 in
which 64% voted in favor of allowing sports gambling. The
legislature subsequently passed an Act permitting wagering
at its casinos and racetracks. The four major professional
sports leagues and the NCAA successfully sued under
PASPA. The New Jersey legislature then passed a second law

In any event, up to fifteen states now offer legalized sports
gambling, with more to come. Not surprisingly, New Jersey,
with its Atlantic City casino infrastructure in place, was
among the first. In New Jersey, not only can one place bets
in the brick and mortar sports books, one can also bet
online. Several companies offer sports gambling by app,

Sports Gambling is Mainstream
Rarely has a Supreme Court decision had such an immediate
and widespread impact on popular culture. To the extent that
amateur and professional sports themselves are pervasive in

........................................................................................ Page 26

Also in This Issue:
* President's Letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
* From the Editor... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
* Pro Bono Honor Roll . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
* BCBF Scholarships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

* Bucks County Recorder of Deeds
Fraud Alert System` . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
* The Nina, The Pinta & The Santa Maria . . 28

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Bucks Writs - Spring 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Bucks Writs - Spring 2019

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