News Briefing

Cozen deposits money with court

Death benefits totaling $43,822. 35 that a lesbian widow and her estranged in-laws are fighting over were placed in a court registry last week.

On Aug. 16, the law firm of Cozen O’Connor deposited the money at the federal courthouse in Philadelphia.

Jennifer Tobits says she’s entitled to the benefits of her deceased wife, Sarah Ellyn Farley, who worked at Cozen as an attorney before her 2010 death. But Farley’s parents, Joan and David Farley, say they’re entitled to the money, contending the women’s Canadian marriage isn’t valid for purposes of the death benefits.

In July, U.S. District Judge C. Darnell Jones 2d sided with Tobits.

The money was placed in a registry pending a decision by the Farleys on a possible appeal.

“This was expected, and we hope Jennifer will receive the money soon,” said Christopher F. Stoll, an attorney for Tobits.

Attorneys for the Farleys had no comment at presstime.

PAC asks for more commissioners

At its Aug. 19 public meeting, the city’s Police Advisory Commission renewed its call for additional commissioners.

The PAC, which investigates police-misconduct complaints, is supposed to have 19 commissioners and alternates, but currently only has seven.

Openly gay PAC member Chuck Volz questioned whether the Nutter administration and Philadelphia City Council support civilian oversight of the police department.

“I think they want us to pretend we’re doing something, and they’ll pretend with us,” he said.

Mayor Nutter has the responsibility of directly filling six vacancies and filling another six from City Council recommendations.

The PAC hasn’t had a full complement of commissioners for more than two years.

Nutter spokesperson Mark McDonald said an announcement of new commissioners is imminent and that 10 have already been selected.

“We are actively pursuing two additional commissioners,” McDonald told PGN. “We actually had selected two others and they agreed to serve but then withdrew for personal reasons.”

Also during the meeting, commissioners discussed ways of optimizing their scarce resources, and asked for suggestions from the public.

The next PAC meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 30 at 714 Market St.

— Tim Cwiek

Marriage benefit in New Hope

The Raven in New Hope will host an event next week to raise funds for the marriage-equality movement in Pennsylvania.

The Raven’s Summer Poolside Show to Benefit Marriage Equality in Pennsylvania will start at 8 p.m. Aug. 29 at 385 W. Bridge St. and will feature performances by award-winning artist Jimmy James, who will perform tributes to such legends as Cher, Tina Turner, Bette Midler, Elvis and more.

There will be drink specials and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are $25 and proceeds will benefit the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.

Purchase tickets at

— Angela Thomas