Blog

IN THE NEWS: NTSB seeks to lower legal drinking limit to .05

: William Bickerton : May 16, 2013 8:43 pm : Alcohol Laws, Blog Posts, DUI, In the News, Laws of Questionable Merit

The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that the limit for blood alcohol levels for drivers be lowered to 0.05.  The NTSB has also recommended that measures be taken to encourage broader use of interlock devices. Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the American Automobile Association have not yet endorsed the NTSB’s recommendations.

In its report, the NTSB renewed its recommendation that all DUI/DWI offenders be required to install an interlock device on their vehicles.  The NTSB also reiterated its support of pre-conviction license confiscation and recommended that those charged, yet not convicted of DUI, be required to have an interlock device installed before having their licenses returned (administrative license suspension/administrative license revocation).

*Note: Pennsylvania most recently lowered the legal limit for blood alcohol to 0.08 in 2003.  In Pennsylvania, you can be convicted of driving under the influence with any amount of alcohol in your system if your level of impairment renders you incapable of safe driving.

For more information, go to:

“Reaching Zero: Actions to Eliminate Alcohol-Impaired Driving”-National Transportation Safety Board

“Safety Board Recommends Defining Legally Drunk With Lower Blood Alcohol Level”-Time Magazine 05/15/2013

“Could Lower DUI Standards Be Decades Away in PA, NJ?”-Philly.com

Changing drunken driving threshold from .08 blood alcohol level to .05 recommended-RGJ.com

Leave a response »

In The News: Audio recording missing in PGH officer-involved shooting case

: Lea Bickerton : February 11, 2013 8:44 am : Blog, Blog Posts, In the News, Police Misconduct

On November 11, 2012, Leon Ford was shot by a city of Pittsburgh police officer during a traffic stop.  Although a video of the incident has been recovered, the audio recording doesn’t include anything between the time the officers exited their car to the time that the gunfire started.  Pittsburgh Police Department policy requires officers in vehicles with cameras to record the audio of the taped encounters.  Officers are “are required to ‘carry the audio transmitter throughout their tour of duty’ [and] are not permitted to deactivate the microphones.”  An assistant city solicitor speculated that the officers may have accidentally left the microphone in their vehicle.

For more information, go to:

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/pittsburgh-police-re-examine-audio-record-policy-674276/

Leave a response »

In the News: Federal Prosecutors seek life-sentence in OH beard-cutting hate crime case

: Lea Bickerton : February 5, 2013 3:45 pm : Blog, Blog Posts, Constitutional Rights, In the News, Sentencing and Punishments

US attorneys are recommending a sentence of life in prison for Samuel Mullet.  Mullet is an Amish bishop convicted of conspiracy and federal hate crimes after a string of attacks in which Amish individuals had their hair and beards cut with shears against their will.  Mullet’s attorney, Edward Bryan is advocating for a sentence that calls for two years of incarceration.  In his sentencing memorandum, Attorney Bryan noted that “[n]on-drug federal life sentences are thus typically reserved for the most heinous of crimes involving murder.”  The sentencing hearing is scheduled for Friday, February 8th.

For more information, go to:

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/region/prosecutors-seek-life-sentence-in-amish-beard-cutting-case-673488/

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2013/02/sam_mullet_lawyer_asks_for_len.html

http://www.thedaily.com/article/2012/12/03/120312-news-amish-bishop-exclusive

http://www.wkyc.com/assetpool/documents/130205120650_Sentencing%20Recommendation.pdf

http://www.thestate.com/2013/02/01/2614897_leader-of-amish-group-in-ohio.html

http://www.wkyc.com/news/article/281942/3/Fellow-Amish-want-life-in-prison-for-Sam-Mullet

1 Comment »

IN THE NEWS: Pennsylvania Changes to Sex Offender Registration/Megan’s Law

: Lea Bickerton : December 19, 2012 3:40 pm : Blog, Blog Posts, In the News, Megan's Law, PCRA

Starting tomorrow, the rules for who must register as a Megan’s Law sex offender in Pennsylvania will change.  Under the new law, sex offenders are classified by three tiers.  Tier I offenders will have to register for 15 years.  Tier II offenders will have to register for 25 years.  Tier III offenders will have to register for life.  If you are currently serving a period of incarceration for a sexual offense, are currently on parole or probation for a sexual offense, or are currently a Megan’s Law registrant, the new law will affect you.

 Please note that, if you are currently incarcerated or on parole or probation for a sexual offense, you will be forced to register under the new law even if your offense was not a Megan’s Law offense before. 

 If the terms of your registration have changed because of the modification to Megan’s Law or if you were previously not required to register but now have to register because of the change in the law, contact the Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) practice of Bickerton & Bickerton at 412-398-5507 or 412-596-8124 for a consultation.

1 Comment »

BriefLaw: Commonwealth v. Willis

: Lea Bickerton : May 30, 2012 6:25 pm : Blog, Blog Posts, Case Law Summaries, Legal Briefs

Commonwealth v. Michael Willis  9 EAP 2009 (05/30/2012)

Topic: Constitutional Rights – Right to a Fair Trial - Brady Violation

Summary: The prosecution is required to turn over any evidence that is material under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963); regardless of whether or not that evidence is admissible in court.


http://www.pacourts.us/OpPosting/Supreme/out/J-86-2009oajc.pdf

Leave a response »

In the News: PA passes law banning texting while driving

: Lea Bickerton : November 2, 2011 1:42 am : Blog, Blog Posts, Fines, Traffic Ticket

The Pennsylvania General Assembly has passed a law prohibiting drivers from sending text messages or otherwise composing written messages (email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) while driving.  The prohibition does not include devices used “exclusively” for the purpose of navigation or the act of dialing a phone number while driving.   Drivers caught texting while driving will face a $50 fine.

While earlier drafts of the law made the violation a secondary offense, the law as passed makes texting while driving a primary offense.  In other words, police officers can pull drivers over “just” for texting while driving.  No other motor vehicle code violation is required to justify the stop.  The law now goes to Governor Tom Corbett for final approval.  If approved, the law will take effect in 120 days.

 

For more information, go to:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11306/1186784-454.stm

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&sessYr=2011&sessInd=0&billBody=S&billTyp=B&billNbr=0314&pn=1724

2 Comments »

UPDATE: In the News: PA Castle Doctrine to take effect Saturday, August 27th

: Lea Bickerton : August 26, 2011 5:20 pm : Blog, Blog Posts, Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground Doctrine, Gun Laws, Gun Rights, In the News, News Update

The new expansion to the Pennsylvania castle doctrine will take effect on Saturday, August 27th, 2011.  (h/t NRA-ILA)

For more information, go to:

UPDATE: In the News: Pa governor signs bill expanding Castle Doctrine

In the News: PA Castle Doctrine Bill passes state senate

Leave a response »

UPDATE: In the News: PA passed underage drinking amnesty law

: Lea Bickerton : August 15, 2011 5:45 pm : Alcohol Laws, Blog, Blog Posts, In the News, News Update, Underage Drinking

On July 7th, 2011, Governor Tom Corbett signed a law into effect that would immunize underage drinkers from criminal charges if they are seeking medical attention for another person.  The purpose of this law is to encourage underage drinkers to call for help if they see another person who is “in need of immediate medical attention to prevent death or serious injury.”

To qualify for amnesty under the new law, a person must show that the only reason why law enforcement became aware of the underage drinking (or possession of alcohol) was because 1.) the underaged person called for help in a situation where they reasonably believed that another person was in need of serious medical attention, 2.) the underaged person reasonably believed that he was the first to call for help, 3.) the underaged person gave his name to the emergency responder when he called for help, 4.) the underaged person stayed with the person suffering a medical emergency until help arrived and his presence is no longer necessary.

For more information, go to:

In the News: Pa considers underage drinking amnesty law

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=PDF&sessYr=2011&sessInd=0&billBody=S&billTyp=B&billNbr=0448&pn=1458

Leave a response »

UPDATE: In the News: Pa governor signs bill expanding Castle Doctrine

: Lea Bickerton : June 28, 2011 8:30 pm : Blog, Blog Posts, Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground Doctrine, Gun Laws, Gun Rights, In the News, News Update, Self-Defense

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Governor Tom Corbett has signed a Pennsylvania bill expanding the castle doctrine.  Under the previous law, if a person faced the threat of death or serious bodily injury outside of their home or place of work was able to retreat with complete safety, self-defense with deadly force was not permitted.  With the new law, it is now permissible to meet a threat of death or serious bodily injury with deadly force regardless of the location as long as the person is legally permitted to be at the location.  The new bill also provides protection from civil liability for those who use deadly force legally.

For more information, go to:

http://bickerton-law.com/2011/06/20/in-the-news-pa-castle-doctrine-bill-passes-state-senate/

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11179/1156785-100.stm

http://www.nraila.org/News/Read/NewsReleases.aspx?ID=15275

Leave a response »

In the News: PA Castle Doctrine Bill passes state senate

: Lea Bickerton : June 20, 2011 10:04 pm : Blog, Blog Posts, Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground Doctrine, Gun Laws, Gun Rights, In the News, Self-Defense

A Pennsylvania bill modfiying the duty to retreat in the face of a threat of death or serious bodily injury has passed the Pennsylvania General Assembly and is awaiting approval by Governor Tom Corbett.

Under existing law, a person has a duty to retreat from a threat of death or serious bodily injury if 1.) he can retreat with complete safety and 2.) he is not in his home or place of business.  With the new law, a person who is in a place where she or he has the right to be may legally meet a threat of death or serious bodily injury with deadly force without being required to escape.  The statute would also create immunity from a civil suit in cases where a person properly used force in self defense.

For more information, go to:

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&sessYr=2011&sessInd=0&billBody=H&billTyp=B&billNbr=0040&pn=1038

http://www.nraila.org/Legislation/Read.aspx?ID=6937

 

Leave a response »
« Page 1, 2, 3 »