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 […]

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 […]

Pennsylvania Superior Court Changes DUI Law

DUI-FIRST OFFENSE FOR OFFENDERS WHO ACCEPT ARD The Pennsylvania Superior Court has recently decided the case of Commonwealth v. Chichkin, 2020 Pa. Super 121, No. 3475 EDA 2018.  In this decision the Superior Court held that prior acceptance of ARD does not constitute a prior offense under the DUI statute.  The Court held that prior […]

Philadelphia Real Estate Law

Motion to Lift Detainer

MOTION TO LIFT DETAINER: GETTING A DEFENDANT OUT OF PRISON In Philadelphia, a Defendant who violates the terms of his probation or picks up a new case may get a detainer.  A detainer is a legal mechanism that prevents a defendant from being released from prison until he sees his judge.  In order to remove […]

Winning a Detainer Hearing in Philadelphia

Most defendants convicted of crimes in Philadelphia are sentenced to a period of probation. Incarceration is usually implemented in serious cases or for violent offenders who prior offenses suggest they cannot safely exist in society. In Philadelphia, probation can be reporting or non-reporting.  Probation is court ordered supervision where an individual is closely monitored by […]