Friday, September 5, 2008

Lancaster Newspapers' fear of Chester County justice says volumes!

As reported in the Sept. 5 Lancaster Post and belatedly today in the weekday New Era (and ignored by the Intelligencer Journal), a Chester County judge on Aug. 26 has both refused to dismiss the libel suit brought by Molly Henderson against the Lancaster Newspapers and others, and has denied a change of venue from Chester to Lancaster County.

Lancaster Newspapers, Inc.'s struggle to change venue is testimony to the dirty secret that the Lancaster judiciary is reluctant to go against the newspapers' interests and the interests of the entrenched establishment.

No better example of this was the disgraceful actions of President Judge Louis Farina in allowing then district attorney Donald Totaro (now also a local judge) to conduct an almost year long grand jury witch hunt of the commissioners in order to try to find something ---anything --- that could be used to discredit them for opposing county guarantees for the convention center / hotel project.

And when Dick Shellenberger and Molly Henderson acquiesced to a plea bargain to a minor (and unsubstantiated) Sunshine Act violation so they could get on with their campaigns for re-election, the newspapers gleefully ballyhooed the matter in daily headlines comparable to those at the end of the Second World War!

Along with the Sept. 2nd Philadelphia Inquirer front page revelations, the Chester County court's decisions is yet another step to draw wide attention to the abuses that have circled the convention center / hotel project.

Better late than never!