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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

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Commonwealth v. David Bradford  2 WAP 2011 (05/30/2012)

Topic: Constitutional Rights – Right to a Speedy Trial – Rule 600

Summary: The prosecution is permitted to rely upon the judicial system in its system for case tracking.  Therefore, if the judicial system errs in its case management and the prosecutor relies on the judicial system for its information, the prosecutor will not be faulted for speedy trial purposes.

Facts:  The Allegheny County Office of the District Attorney devised a case tracking method where its system at the Common Pleas level was not triggered until a case number was issued by the Court of Common Pleas.   However, at the time of the Bradford case, the Court of Common Pleas did not issue a case number until the case information was transmitted from the Magisterial District Court.  For reasons that remain unclear, the case information was not transmitted from the District Court to the Court of Common Pleas.  Therefore, the District Attorney’s Office’s case system was never initiated.  Defense counsel filed a motion to dismiss alleging that Bradford’s speedy trial rights were violated.  The trial court granted the motion.  The Pennsylvania Superior Court concluded that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by granting the motion.  The Pennsylvania Supreme Court disagreed and overruled the trial court.

 

http://www.pacourts.us/OpPosting/Supreme/out/J-89-2011mo.pdf

 

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Commonwealth v. Christopher Doty  2010 PA Super 105 (06/09/2010)

Topic: Fugitive Status – Waiver v. Forfeiture of Appellate Rights - Challenging an Illegal Sentence

Summary: When a defendant becomes a fugitive from justice during the appellate period, he may forfeit his right to pursue an appellate review.  This forfeiture applies to issues that cannot be waived, like the legality of the sentence.

http://www.aopc.org/OpPosting/Superior/out/S09009_10.pdf

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Commonwealth v. Joseph Abraham  2010 PA Super 104 (6/08/2010)

Topic: Ineffective Assistance of CounselPCRA – Collateral Consequences

Summary: In view of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Padilla v. Kentucky, the fact that a consequence of a conviction is a collateral one will not protect an attorney from an ineffective assistance of counsel claim.  To be effective, an attorney must inform his client of any consequences when the “consequences in question are succinct, clear, and distinct….”  Also, an attorney will be found to be ineffective if she fails to give “good advice about a serious consequence.”

http://www.aopc.org/OpPosting/Superior/out/S21023_10.pdf

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Commonwealth v. Thomas A. Perry, Jr.  2009 PA Super 196 (10/06/2009)

Topic: DUIReasonable Suspicion for a Traffic Stop

Summary: When an officer observes a driver operating a vehicle in such a fashion that there is the potential for an accident, there is reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle.

http://www.aopc.org/OpPosting/Superior/out/s38036_09.pdf

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Commonwealth v. Daryl Boich 2009 PA Super 195 (10/06/2009)

Topic: Rape Charges – Sex Crime – Involuntary Psychiatric Evaluation of a Witness/Victim

Summary: A court may not compel a witness/victim to submit to an involuntary psychiatric evaluation unless the record shows a compelling need for the evaluation. Gaps in testimony, even if those gaps are attributed to the use of prescription drugs with alcohol, are an issue of credibility, not competence, and are therefore insufficient to justify an involuntary psychiatric evaluation.

*Note: Judge Klein’s dissenting opinion argues that where a judge is unable to determine whether a witness is competent due to an inability to interpret the evidence given, an involuntary psychiatric evaluation is justified.

http://www.aopc.org/OpPosting/Superior/out/e02004_08.pdf

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Commonwealth v. Patrick A. Haag, Sr  J-41-2009 (10/23/2009)

Topic: DUI - Prior Offenses

Summary: For a DUI offense to be a second or subsequent conviction for sentencing purposes, the offender must be convicted of the prior offense before committing the second or subsequent offense.

http://www.aopc.org/OpPosting/Supreme/out/J-41-2009mo.pdf

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Commonwealth v. Omar J-162A-B-2008 (10/05/2009)
Topic: Trademark Counterfeiting – Constitutionality
Summary: 18 Pa.C.S.A. Section 4119, which prohibited the unauthorized use of a trademark, was struck down as being overbroad. The law prohibited any use of a trademark without considering whether the use was protected by the First Amendment right to free speech.

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Commonwealth v. Harry Galendez

Published on 04 October 2009 by in Legal Briefs

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Commonwealth v. Harry Galendez 2009 PA Super 185 (9/16/2009)

Topic: Defendant’s Right to be Present – Parole and Probation Searches

Summary:

  1. The defendant and his counsel have the right to be present at every crucial stage of the trial process, including the issuing of probationary conditions.
  2. Searches made as a condition of parole or probation must be supported by reasonable suspicion. Additionally, the trial court may not make any parole or probation conditions for any sentence that would subject the defendant to the supervision of the State Board of Probation and Parole.

http://www.pacourts.us/OpPosting/Superior/out/a15016_09.pdf

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Commonwealth v. Harry Galendez 2009 PA Super 185 (9/16/2009)

Topic: Defendant’s Right to be Present – Parole and Probation Searches

Summary: 1.) The defendant and his counsel have the right to be present at every crucial stage of the trial process, including the issuing of probationary conditions. 2.) Searches made as a condition of parole or probation must be supported by reasonable suspicion. Additionally, the trial court may not make any parole or probation conditions for any sentence that would subject the defendant to the supervision of the State Board of Probation and Parole.

http://www.pacourts.us/OpPosting/Superior/out/a15016_09.pdf

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