Constitutional Law

Commonwealth Court Rejects “Forfeiture Entrapment” Defense

Using one’s vehicle as collateral in a drug deal at the insistence of law enforcement does not give rise to an entrapment defense to forfeiture of the vehicle, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court held in Com. v. Black 2009 Ford Mustang.

By | 2017-05-19T22:51:26+00:00 November 2nd, 2015|Categories: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law|Tags: , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Commonwealth Court Rejects “Forfeiture Entrapment” Defense

Governor Cannot Remove Open Records Director without Cause

The Executive Director of the Office of Open Records (OOR) is not subject to the Governor’s constitutional power to remove his appointees at-will, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held in Arneson v. Wolf.

Sharply Divided Supreme Court Holds that Officer Detained Motorist by Activating his Emergency Lights

A state trooper’s interaction with a motorist, which included activating his vehicle’s overhead lights as he approached her parked vehicle, constituted an investigative detention, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held in Com. v. Barnes

By | 2017-05-19T22:51:27+00:00 September 14th, 2015|Categories: Constitutional Law, Criminal Law|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Sharply Divided Supreme Court Holds that Officer Detained Motorist by Activating his Emergency Lights

Superior Court Upholds Mandatory Minimum Sentence for Violation of Sex Offender Registration Requirement

A mandatory minimum sentence imposed upon a convicted sex offender for failing to comply with a statutory registration requirement is constitutional, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held in Com. v. Pennybaker

By | 2017-05-19T22:51:27+00:00 August 17th, 2015|Categories: Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, General|Tags: , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Superior Court Upholds Mandatory Minimum Sentence for Violation of Sex Offender Registration Requirement

Parolee Subject to Custodial Interrogation on New Crimes Entitled to Miranda Warnings

Parole agents violated a parolee’s Fifth Amendment rights by interrogating him about new crimes while he was in custody, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held in Com. v. Cooley, III.

By | 2017-05-19T22:51:28+00:00 July 6th, 2015|Categories: Constitutional Law, Criminal Law|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Parolee Subject to Custodial Interrogation on New Crimes Entitled to Miranda Warnings

Mandatory Minimum Sentences for School Zone Drug Sales Ruled Unconstitutional

A Crimes Code provision mandating a minimum prison sentence of two years upon a conviction for selling drugs in a “drug-free school zone” is unconstitutional, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held in Com. v. Hopkins.

By | 2017-05-19T22:51:28+00:00 July 1st, 2015|Categories: Constitutional Law, Criminal Law|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Mandatory Minimum Sentences for School Zone Drug Sales Ruled Unconstitutional

Court Upholds Suppression of Incriminating Video Files Discovered on Computer at Repair Shop

Applying a property-based Fourth Amendment analysis, the Superior Court recently held that incriminating video files discovered on a computer by a technician performing repairs could not be offered into evidence. Commonwealth v. Sodomsky

By | 2017-05-19T22:51:28+00:00 June 25th, 2015|Categories: Constitutional Law, Criminal Law|Tags: , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Court Upholds Suppression of Incriminating Video Files Discovered on Computer at Repair Shop

Law Expanding Challenges to Municipal Firearm Legislation Declared Unconstitutional

Act 192 of 2014, which allows a broad class of individuals and organizations to challenge municipal firearm legislation and recover their attorney fees, is unconstitutional and void, an en banc panel of the Commonwealth Court has ruled in Leach v. Turzai, __ A.3d __ (No. 585 MD 2014, filed June 25, 2015).

By | 2017-05-19T22:51:28+00:00 June 25th, 2015|Categories: Constitutional Law, Municipal Law|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Law Expanding Challenges to Municipal Firearm Legislation Declared Unconstitutional

Invocation of Miranda-based Right to Counsel Must Occur in Close Temporal Proximity to Custodial Interrogation

An arrestee’s anticipatory invocation of his Fifth Amendment right to counsel did not require suppression of statements he made during a subsequent uncounseled interrogation, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in Commonwealth v. Bland

By | 2017-05-19T22:51:28+00:00 June 12th, 2015|Categories: Constitutional Law, Criminal Law|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Invocation of Miranda-based Right to Counsel Must Occur in Close Temporal Proximity to Custodial Interrogation

Governor Exceeded his Authority in Removing Open Records Director

The Executive Director of the Office of Open Records (OOR) is independent from the executive branch and insulated from the Governor’s constitutional power to remove appointees at-will, a split en banc panel of the Commonwealth Court held in Arneson v. Wolf