Hearsay at Preliminary Hearing

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has decided the case of Commonwealth v. McClelland, holding that hearsay alone is insufficient to establish a prima facie case at a preliminary hearing.  This is a landmark decision since the Pennsylvania Superior Court recently held in Commonwealth v Ricker, that hearsay alone was sufficient.  Therefore, while the government may use […]

Philadelphia Emergency Housing Protection Act

PHILADELPHIA EMERGENCY HOUSING PROTECTION ACT  The Philadelphia City Counsel has passed the Emergency Housing Protection Act (“EHPA”).  The city law imposes strict compliance requirements on landlords to evict tenants following the COVID-19 pandemic.  The EHPA has already been challenged by the Homeowners Association of Philadelphia (HAPCO) as unconstitutional in federal court. The EHPA was passed […]

Searching a Vehicle for Officer Safety

VEHICLE SEARCH BASED ON OFFICER SAFETY The Pennsylvania Superior Court has decided the case of Commonwealth v. Arrington, holding that a traffic stop late at night in a high crime-area without more is not reasonable suspicion to search a vehicle based on concern for officer safety. This is an important decision since it limits the […]

Jury or Waiver Trial

COMMONWEALTH V. ROSENTHAL The Pennsylvania Superior Court has decided the case of Commonwealth v. Rosenthal, No. 1401 WDA 2018, holding that general racial animus or stereotyping is insufficient to overturn a jury verdict.  For a jury verdict to be overturned due to racial bias, the animus must be directed at the defendant or his witnesses.  […]

Violation of Probation Hearings

PA SUPER. COURT: VOP REQUIRES VIOLATION OF SPECIFIC CONDITION/NEW CRIME The Pennsylvania Superior Court has decided the case of Commonwealth v. Giliam, No. 3882 EDA 2016.  In this case the Superior Court held that to violate probation a defendant must either; 1.) violate a specific condition of probation; or 2.) commit a new crime.  It […]

Philly Renters Rights

On October 26, 2011 Philadelphia City Council passed § 9-804 of the Philadelphia Code.  The Ordinance provides renters with certain rights in Philadelphia Landlord/Tenant Court to contest evictions.  It is important that landlords and tenants are aware of these rights as they are increasingly enforced by the Philadelphia courts.  The Philadelphia Property Maintenance Code, Pennsylvania […]

Mark D. Copoulos

Drafting a Notice to Vacate

WHAT ARE THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS OF A NOTICE TO VACATE? In Pennsylvania a landlord must terminate a lease by providing the defendant a notice to vacate.  The notice must be delivered to the tenant.  The notice must state whether the tenant is being terminated for; 1.) breach of the lease; 2.) nonpayment of rent; or […]