Criminal Law

Slayer Act Bars Defendant found Guilty but Mentally Ill from Inheriting Victim’s Estate

A verdict of guilty but mentally ill for first-degree murder bars a killer from inheriting from the decedent’s estate, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held in In re Estate of McAndrew.

By | 2017-05-19T22:51:25+00:00 January 26th, 2016|Categories: Criminal Law, Estate Planning and Administration|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Slayer Act Bars Defendant found Guilty but Mentally Ill from Inheriting Victim’s Estate

Prosecutorial Experience now Relevant for Qualification as Defense Counsel in Capital Cases

An attorney’s prior experience as a prosecutor is relevant to his or her qualification to represent a capital case defendant, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court announced in a recent order amending the official Comment to Rule of Criminal Procedure 801.

By | 2016-01-22T14:25:23+00:00 January 25th, 2016|Categories: Criminal Law|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Prosecutorial Experience now Relevant for Qualification as Defense Counsel in Capital Cases

Offense of Third-Degree Murder is Complete at Time of Assault, not Victim’s Death

A defendant convicted of murder must be sentenced under the statute in effect at the time of the assault rather than the death of the victim, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held in Com. v. Rose

By | 2016-01-12T10:02:42+00:00 December 18th, 2015|Categories: Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, General|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Offense of Third-Degree Murder is Complete at Time of Assault, not Victim’s Death

Superior Court Strikes Philadelphia Local Rule on Deadline for Appealing Municipal Court Suppression Ruling

A Philadelphia local rule imposing a 15-day deadline to appeal a municipal court’s suppression ruling is void and unenforceable, the Pennsylvania Superior Court decided in Com. v. Williams.

By | 2015-10-26T10:51:08+00:00 October 29th, 2015|Categories: Criminal Law|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Superior Court Strikes Philadelphia Local Rule on Deadline for Appealing Municipal Court Suppression Ruling

Murder of Unborn Child is not “Murder” for Purposes of Third-Degree Murder Sentence Enhancer

A statute mandating a life sentence for a defendant previously convicted of “murder” is not triggered by the defendant’s murder of an unborn child, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held in Com. v. Haynes.

By | 2017-05-19T22:51:26+00:00 October 27th, 2015|Categories: Criminal Law|Tags: , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Murder of Unborn Child is not “Murder” for Purposes of Third-Degree Murder Sentence Enhancer

Parole Agents Authorized to Frisk Non-Parolees for Weapons

A parole agent may perform a protective frisk of a person present during a routine check of a parolee’s approved residence if the agent reasonably suspects that person is armed and dangerous, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held in Com. v. Mathis.

By | 2017-05-19T22:51:26+00:00 October 13th, 2015|Categories: Criminal Law|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Parole Agents Authorized to Frisk Non-Parolees for Weapons

District Attorney’s Office not Disqualified by Public Defender-Turned ADA’s Prior Representation of Criminal Defendant

An assistant district attorney’s prior representation of a criminal defendant did not warrant disqualification of the entire district attorney’s office, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled in Com. v. Ford.

By | 2015-09-23T13:17:39+00:00 September 28th, 2015|Categories: Criminal Law, Ethics|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on District Attorney’s Office not Disqualified by Public Defender-Turned ADA’s Prior Representation of Criminal Defendant

Superior Court Relaxes Level of Diligence Required of Late Pro Se PCRA Petitioner Asserting After-Discovered Facts

The presumption of access to information available in the public domain does not apply to an untimely pro se petitioner under the Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA), an en banc panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court held in Com. v. Burton.

By | 2017-05-19T22:51:27+00:00 September 25th, 2015|Categories: Criminal Law|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Superior Court Relaxes Level of Diligence Required of Late Pro Se PCRA Petitioner Asserting After-Discovered Facts

Criminal Rule Amended to Include Requirements for Petition to Resume Use of Indicting Grand Juries

By order dated September 8, 2015, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court amended Rule of Criminal Procedure 556 (Indicting Grand Jury) to specify the form and contents of a petition by a court of common pleas to resume the use of indicting grand juries.

By | 2015-09-23T13:14:36+00:00 September 24th, 2015|Categories: Criminal Law|Tags: , , , , , , |Comments Off on Criminal Rule Amended to Include Requirements for Petition to Resume Use of Indicting Grand Juries

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