TRIAL COURT SHOULD HAVE ALLOWED EXPERT TO TESTIFY ABOUT THE LACK OF A SCIENTIFIC BASIS FOR FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS TO DETECT DRUG IMPAIRMENT

The PA Superior Court has held that a York County trial court erred in declining to qualify a defense expert as an expert in the methodology behind standard field sobriety tests. Commonwealth v. Taylor, No. 715 MDA 2018 (Pa. Super. 5/6/2019). Taylor was convicted of driving under the influence of drugs and endangering the welfare […]

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TRIAL COURT FAILS TO PROVIDE FACTS & LEGAL BASES FOR SUPPRESSING PLAIN-FEEL SEIZURE OF DRUGS: CASE REMANDED FOR NEW HEARING

The Pa. Superior Court recently remanded the case of Commonwealth v. Sharaif, No. 4019 EDA 2017 (March 8, 2019) to the trial (suppression) court for a new suppression hearing after the suppression court failed to comply with the applicable rules and specifically state what facts and legal bases it used to determine that suppression was warranted.   […]

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“CLOSE” IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR HORSESHOES, HAND GRENADES, and SOBRIETY CHECKPOINTS

The PA Superior Court recently decided the case of Commonwealth v. Mercado, No. 1444 EDA 2016 (February 27, 2019) holding that the police “substantially complied” with the Tarbert/Blouse guidelines (adopted by the PA Supreme Court to establish the constitutionality of a DUI roadblock) when they selected the location and operation of the checkpoint at issue.  The Philadelphia Court of […]

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SUPERIOR COURT IRONS OUT “HIT and RUN” CASE INVOLVING A LAUNDROMAT

The PA Superior Court has recently decided the case of Commonwealth v. Odom, No. 617 MDA 2018 (February 11, 2019), holding that term “attended” under the “hit and run” statute is not synonymous with “occupied;” rather, it requires the presence of someone who is “available to take care of the property” before it triggers a driver’s […]

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FACT THAT PHOTO ARRAY DOES NOT MATCH THE PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION PROVIDED BY THE VICTIM IS NOT UNDULY SUGGESTIVE.

The Superior Court recently decided the case of Commonwealth v. Mbewe, No. 1004 WDA 2017 (February 1, 2019), holding that the photo array shown to a witness to the robbery was not unduly suggestive, even though the photos did not match the description provided by the witness.  Mbewe was found guilty on both counts of […]

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OFFICER CANNOT BLOCK THE MOVEMENT OF VEHICLE WITHOUT BEING ABLE TO ARTICULATE A VALID JUSTIFICATION

The PA Superior Court recently decided the case of Commonwealth v. Hampton, No. 3149 EDA 2017 (February 12, 2019), holding that the police, without emergency lights or siren activated, effectuated an investigatory detention upon pulling behind Hampton’s vehicle and that such detention was not supported by a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity was afoot nor was it […]

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FAILURE TO SUBMIT QUESTION OF DEFENDANT’S BREATH TEST REFUSAL TO JURY RENDERS ENHANCED SENTENCE FOR DUI UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

Police were investigating a report that Monarch had been driving while intoxicated. They twice asked him to complete field sobriety tests and twice asked him to submit to blood and breath tests. He refused. Following his refusals, police placed him under arrest. He was then transported to the police station where he was again asked whether […]

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LOCATION OF DRUG DELIVERY IRRELEVANT IF THE RESULT OF THAT DELIVERY IS A DEATH THAT OCCURS IN PENNSYLVANIA

Mitchel Gregory Peck was charged with and convicted of Drug Delivery Resulting in Death. He was sentenced to a statutory maximum sentence of twenty to forty years’ imprisonment and filed a timely appeal arguing, in part, that there was insufficient evidence to sustain his conviction because the subject delivery occurred in Maryland. The facts were […]

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Shawnee Soto-Ortiz and Julia Parrish from McMahon Winters Soto-Ortiz LLC Featured In Susquehanna Style and Fine Living Lancaster

McMahon Winters Soto-Ortiz, LLC is pleased to announce that Shawnee S. Soto-Ortiz and Julia M. Parrish have been featured in articles in Susquehanna Style and Fine Living Lancaster, respectively. This month’s Susquehanna Style Empowerment Issue features the firm’s partner, Shawnee Soto-Ortiz, in its section entitled “Women in Business – Women of Grit, Willpower, and Determination.” […]

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