Suppression Granted as Judge Vacates Order

Centre County Judge Grine vacates order and grants suppression On June 23, Judge Jonathan D. Grine of the Centre County Court of Common Pleas vacated his earlier Order which denied a defendant’s suppression motion. The earlier Order was based on the ruling that the defendant lacked standing to bring a Fourth Amendment claim. Judge Grine […]

Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

PA Superior Court: Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Statue Unconstitutional Last week, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that mandatory minimum sentencing statutes are unconstitutional. A mandatory minimum sentence is the minimum time a judge must sentence a defendant to serve if the defendant is found guilty. In 2013 the United States Supreme Court held in Alleyne v. […]

Prior Bad Acts Evidence

Blockbuster Ruling From Third Circuit Regarding Admissibility of Prior Bad Acts Evidence The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently decided a significant case involving prior bad acts evidence under Rule 404(b) and the exclusion of prejudicial evidence under Rule 403. Although the case involves the Federal Rules of Evidence, the Pennsylvania counterparts to those rules […]

Federal Marijuana Bill

Pennsylvania Representative Introduces Federal Marijuana Bill Representative Scott Perry, a Republican from York County, Pennsylvania, recently introduced a bill to legalize certain strains of marijuana for therapeutic purposes. The legislation is named after Charlotte Figi, a young Colorado girl whose seizures were reduced from over 300 per week to about three over the course of […]

Cross-Examination

DAVIS V. ALASKA – The Right To Cross-Examination Cross-Examination has been famously described as “the greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth.” At trial, cross-examination is the primary way to test, inspect, and examine the reliability of a witness’ testimony. It is through cross-examination that a witness can be impeached, or shown […]

Preliminary Hearing

After a Criminal Complaint has been filed, a preliminary hearing will take place. A preliminary hearing is not a trial where guilt or innocence is determined. At the preliminary hearing, the judge simply has to determine whether a crime has been committed and whether it is more likely than not that the defendant committed it. […]

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Removes Ban

On July 15th, 2014 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court removes the ban on expert testimony about eyewitness unreliability. In an exciting development in criminal trial practice, a divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court has reversed its prior precedent and removed its 20 year prohibition on expert testimony regarding eyewitness identifications. Prior to this ruling, there was an absolute […]

No-Fault Divorce

On June 4, 2014, the Centre County Court of Common Pleas decided a case regarding what it means for parties to live “separate and apart” for the purposes of Pennsylvania’s no-fault divorce statute. The case involved a Husband and Wife who were disputing the date on which the parties were actually separated. The Husband believed […]