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On December 20, 2012, the Adam Walsh Act (SORNA) required many individuals who were convicted of sex offenses but not classified as violent sex offenders to begin registering as sexual offenders.  A new law passed in March 2014 has removed the registration requirement for individuals convicted of second-degree felony Indecent Assault between January 22, 2006, and January 1, 2007; Unlawful restraint (18 Pa. C.S.A. Section 2902(b)); False Imprisonment (18 Pa. C.S.A. Section 2903(b)); Interference with the Custody of Children (18 Pa. C.S.A. Section 2904);  Statutory Sexual Assault (18 Pa. C.S.A. Section 3122.1); Corruption of Minors (18 Pa. C.S.A. Section 6301); Invasion of Privacy (18 Pa. C.S.A. Section 7507.1); and second-degree misdemeanor Indecent Assault (18 Pa. C.S.A. 3126) between January 23, 2005 and December 19, 2012. 

Individuals who did not have to register as a sexual offender before December 19, 2012 and were convicted of one of the offenses listed above should contact a criminal defense attorney for advice on whether the new law applies to them.

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The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that a Munhall, PA man shot and killed a man who had broken into his garage.  After calling 911, the homeowner informed the intruder that the police were on their way.  Munhall police reports that the intruder began an exchange of gunfire and was killed in the encounter.  Under Pennsylvania law, a person may defend himself and his home from intruders with deadly force.

 

For more information, go to:

Homeowner, intruder involved in gunfight in Munhall; intruder shot dead

 

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WPXI reports that 60 Pittsburgh-area drivers received traffic citations for improper use of the carpool/high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane on the Parkway North.  Under the law, the HOV lane may only be used by motorcycle operators and cars that are carrying at least two human passengers inbound from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM and outbound from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM.  There are no exceptions for fuel-efficient vehicles.

 

For more information, go to:

“Police crackdown on HOV lane offenders, Morning rush impacted”-WPXI

“HOV Lanes”-PENNDOT

 

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Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala issued a statement outlining the public’s right to videotape police officers. DA Zappala explained that a person has the right to videotape police officers who are on duty but people do not have the right to antagonize the officers or attempt to provoke an arrest. He also advised that police officers are not permitted to arrest individuals for videotaping police actions.  DA Zappala also advised individuals who are being arrested to submit to the arrest regardless of whether they believe the arrest is valid.

For more information, go to:

DA: Videotaping an exchange with officers is within a citizen’s rights

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According to the latest information, 73 people were arrested for crimes or were issued citations during the Kenny Chesney concert.  News outlets earlier reported that 43 individuals were cited for underage drinking.  The 73 arrests and citations are in addition to the underage drinking citations.  The offenses included “assaults including an indecent assault in the stadium concourse, public urination, disorderly conduct, underage drinking, drunken driving, ticket scalping and a robbery.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

 

For more information, go to:

Chesney concert spins off mayhem, tons of garbage (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Police arrest, cite 73 at Chesney concert; medics treat 150 (Pittsburgh Tribune Review)

Chesney Concert Ends With Fights, Arrests (KDKA)

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Pennsylvania is in the process of updating the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (“PICS”).  The PICS system permits firearms dealers and sheriffs departments to run background checks on firearms purchasers and concealed carry permit applicants.  Currently, firearms dealers and sheriffs departments have to call in to an automated telephone system to retrieve results.  After the upgrade, users will have the option to dial in under the old system or use the new computer access.

 

For more information, go to:

Pennsylvania to upgrade background check system for concealed-carry license requests

 

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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/

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In a follow-up to the post about Bishop Samuel Mullet, a federal court sentenced the Amish man to 15 years in prison on Friday.  The US Attorney’s Office requested that Mr. Mullet serve life in prison.

For more information, go to:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/02/08/171503838/amish-beard-cutting-ring-leader-sentenced-to-15-years-in-prison

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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

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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.

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