Getting To Not Guilty Part 2: The Justification Defense

The Pennsylvania Crimes Code addresses the defense of Justification in Chapter 5, General Principles of Justification. According to the Code, the justification generally is conduct which the actor believes is necessary to avoid a harm or evil to himself or another.  The most common justification defenses are: Use of force in self protection Use of […]

Accelerated Misdemeanor Program 2 (AMP 2):                                   What You Need To Know

Philadelphia Municipal Court offers many programs to non-violent misdemeanor offenders. These individuals are usually charged with buying or possessing drugs.  (The DA takes selling drugs more seriously).  One programs offered to non-violent offenders is known as AMP. AMP is offered in two tiers: AMP1 and AMP2. Under AMP 1 participants have an opportunity to get […]

Edwards Steps Back Into The Arena

“The reason we formed this firm is because we all believe in the same thing — in standing up for the disenfranchised and those who need an equal chance,”-John Edwards, Former Candidate for President of the United States, Senator of North Carolina, Trial lawyerBefore John Edwards was a presidential candidate, he was a trial lawyer. […]

Getting To Not Guilty Part One: When Character Counts

Character or reputation can play a significant role in getting to “Not Guilty.”  Under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, the defense has a right to call witnesses to testify to the defendant’s good character.  After the State puts on its case, the defense may offer evidence that the defendant has a good reputation for […]

Endangering Welfare Of A Child: When Is It A Crime Not To Act?

People are not often punished for what they fail to do.  They are punished for what they do. Generally speaking, failure to take action is not criminal.  Failure to act can expose one to civil liability.  The negligence concept holds accountable professionals who fail to maintain a reasonable standard of care in the course of […]

Pennsylvania Criminal Assault Charges

Simple assault is a relatively common charge in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the city of Philadelphia.  The exact definition of the crime is commonly misunderstood.  Under Pennsylvania Section 2701 of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code a person is guilty of simple assault if he: (1)  attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury […]

Accelerated Misdemeanor Program (AMP 1)

One of the reasons I choose to practice criminal defense is because I believe that many criminal defendants are essentially good people in bad situations. Recently, District Attorney R. Seth Williams has acknowledged this fundamental premise, and created a series of diversionary programs that place an emphasis on rehabilitation over retribution, or incarceration.  Many of […]

Aggravated Assault in Pennsylvania

Aggravated Assault is a felony offense in Pennsylvania carrying a maximum sentence of ten to twenty years in prison.  For the commonwealth to convict a defendant of aggravated assault, the following elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt: First, the Commonwealth must show that the defendant attempted to cause serious bodily injury to the […]