Commonwealth v. Willard Oakley Moser 2010 PA Super 119 (7/08/2010)

Topic: Evidence of Prior Trials in Current Cases

Summary: Under Pa.R.E. 410(a)(2), evidence of a prior nolo contendere plea is inadmissible in any future criminal proceedings.


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BriefLaw: Commonwealth v. Young

Published on 11 January 2010 by in Blog


Commonwealth v. Gaylend L. Young 2010 PA Super 2 (1/06/2010)

Topic: Admissibility of  Evidence of Prior Crime When Defendant is Acquitted – Prior Bad Acts

Summary: Under Pa.R.E. 404, the Commonwealth may admit evidence of a previous crime as a prior bad act even where the defendant was acquitted in the prior trial (The evidence of prior crimes challenged in this case were confessions by the defendant).


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BriefLaw: Commonwealth v. Rowe

Published on 16 November 2009 by in Blog


Commonwealth v. Collin Rowe 2009 PA Super 215 (11/12/2009)

Topic: Warrantless Entry – Motion to Suppress

Summary: A police officer must be able to identify exigent circumstances to justify a warrantless entry into a home.  An open door during the “typical waking hours of the night” with no other facts showing exigency is insufficient to justify a warrantless entry.

Facts: During a nighttime storm that caused downed powerlines, a police officer entered Rowe’s home through an open rear door.  The officer witnessed nor received any reports of suspicious activity.  The officer also did not receive any calls or requests for help at Rowe’s address.  The officer announced his presence and proceeded to search the residence.  The officer recovered a marijuana pipe. The officer took the pipe and left the residence.  Rowe was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia (35 Pa.C.S.A. Section 780-113(a)(32)).  The Superior Court concluded that the facts as presented were not sufficient to justify the officer’s warrantless entry into Rowe’s home.


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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.


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