POLICE ARE NOT REQUIRED TO WARN MOTORIST OF UNENFORCEABLE, ENHANCED PENALTIES FOR REFUSING A BLOOD TEST

The PA Commonwealth Court has decided the case of Garlick v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing, No. 48 C.D. 2017 (January 3, 2018), holding that the suspension of Garlick’s driver’s license was lawful where the Trooper specifically and accurately warned him about the consequences of refusing a blood test, i.e. – […]

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YOU CANNOT STRIKE A PROSPECTIVE JUROR BASED SOLEY ON RACE (and … the reason you give for doing so better be a good one).

The PA Superior Court has decided the case of Commonwealth v. Edwards, No. 436 EDA 2015 (January 2, 2018), holding that although listing the races and genders of prospective jurors on a peremptory strike sheet is ill-advised, it does not per se violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; however, under the totality […]

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RECORDING A CUSTODY CONFERENCE AND POSTING THE RECORDING ON FACEBOOK IS NOT A GOOD IDEA

The PA Superior Court has decided the case of Commonwealth v. Cline, No. 641 EDA 2017 (December 29, 2017), holding that Cline knowingly or intentionally intercepted and disclosed discussions that qualified as “oral communications” under the statute when he surreptitiously recorded a custody hearing attended by his ex-wife and him at the courthouse. “The evidence […]

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REASONABLE SUSPICION NEEDED TO STOP VEHICLE TO INVESTIGATE DUI; WARRANTLESS BLOOD DRAW VALID IF CONSENT IS OBTAINED WITHOUT THREAT OF ENHANCED PENALTY FOR REFUSAL

The PA Superior Court has decided the case of Commonwealth v. Smith, No. 877 WDA 2017 (December 28, 2017), holding that the trial court did not err in refusing to suppress the evidence obtained from the seizure of Smith’s vehicle and the warrantless testing of her blood. Smith was stopped after the vehicle she was operating […]

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PA SUPERIOR COURT HOLDS MOTHER’S USE OF ILLEGAL DRUGS WHILE PREGNANT MAY CONSTITUTE CHILD ABUSE, IN CERTAIN CASES

The PA Superior Court has remanded the case of In re: L.B., a minor, Appeal of CCCYS, No. 884 MDA 2017 (December 27, 2017), holding that a mother’s use of illegal drugs while pregnant may constitute child abuse under the Child Protective Services Law if Children and Youth Services establishes that, by using the illegal drugs, […]

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POLICE MAY NOT AUTOMATICALLY OBTAIN WARRANT TO SEARCH SUSPECT’S HOME JUST BECAUSE THE CASE INVOLVES POSSESSION or USE OF A GUN

The PA Superior Court has decided the case of Commonwealth v. Torres, No. 2241 EDA 2015 (December 22, 2017), holding that because both Torres and the gun used in a shooting were recovered at the scene, probable cause did not exist – on the facts contained in the search warrant affidavit – to believe that […]

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GUY FITS THE DESCRIPTION FROM AN ANONYMOUS TIP OF SOMEONE WITH A GUN AND, WHEN SEARCHED, HE HAS A GUN … SO, WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

The PA Superior Court has decided the case of Commonwealth v. Mackey, No. 1460 EDA 2015 (December 20, 2017), holding that the police did not have reasonable suspicion to detain Mackey, based on an uncorroborated, anonymous tip that a person fitting his description, on the bus he was riding, at the time he was riding […]

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DEFENDANT CONVICTED OF MURDER AFTER COMMONWEALTH WITHHELD POLICE REPORTS THAT PROBABLY WOULD HAVE DISCREDITED ITS KEY WITNESS

The PA Supreme Court, in the case of Commonwealth v. Johnson, No. 713 CAP (December 19, 2017), has affirmed the trial court’s decision to grant a new trial, holding that Johnson’s counsel may have been able to cast doubt upon the credibility of the key prosecution witness with a reasonable probability that Johnson would not […]

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SUPREME COURT TO COMMONWEALTH COURT: “Propinquitas, but no cigar.”

The PA Supreme Court has decided the case of Commonwealth v. $34,440.00 U.S. Currency, 102 MAP 2016 (December 19, 2017), holding that the rebuttable presumption set forth in Pennsylvania’s Controlled Substances Forfeiture Act (“Forfeiture Act”) may be sufficient to satisfy the Commonwealth’s initial burden of demonstrating a nexus between seized currency and prohibited drug activity; however, it is not a […]

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