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Misdemeanor / Felony Crimes

February 29, 2012

Pennsylvania Spousal Privilege Against Testifying Applies Even to a “Collusive Marriage”

A jury convicted Appellant Lewis of tampering with public records or information, 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 4911. Ms. Lewis had worked as a Probation Officer for the Lebanon County Office of Adult Probation. In August 2007, Appellant started supervising the probation of Jeffrey Gardner, who was on electronic monitoring. In December 2007, while Appellant was supervising Mr. Gardneŕs probation, they began an intimate relationship and made plans to travel together to Atlantic City during the weekend of February 17, 2008. On February 12, 2008, Appellant released Mr. Gardner from electronic monitoring,...

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February 22, 2012

Superior Court of Pennsylvania Rules that Prosecution Cannot Use a Defendant’s Silence to Prove That He is Guilty of Murder

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania reversed a Defendant’s homicide conviction in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Michael Molina, Appellant. Molina appealed from the judgment of sentence entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Criminal Division (Pennsylvania), following his conviction for murder in the third degree and unlawful restraint. The victim in the case was a woman named Melissa Snodgrass. On appeal, Molina raised one issue for review. He contended that the trial court committed reversible error when it permitted the Commonwealth, over objection, to...

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September 13, 2010

Drunk Driving Conviction Upheld

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently affirmed both the DUI conviction and the judgment of sentencing of Robert Toland, II, stemming from his 2006 arrest in Delaware County. Toland had been spotted by an on-duty patrolman late at night passed out behind the wheel of his car, which was parked on the street outside of a store. The headlights were on and the motor was running, and a cold, unopened six-pack of beer was found inside of the car. Toland subsequently consented to a blood-test, where his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was found to be .3%. The legal limit in Pennsylvania is...

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November 20, 2009

Consecutive Sentences for Multiple Victims Upheld, No Mitigation without Justification on Record

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania decided the case of Commonwealth v. Garcia-Rivera earlier this month, in which Melvin Garcia-Rivera had entered an open plea of guilt and was sentenced to two counts of involuntary manslaughter. Garcia-Rivera was charged in connection with a motor vehicle accident in which his two passengers were killed. The standard sentencing guideline for involuntary manslaughter is nine (9) to twenty-three (23) months imprisonment, which is increased or decreased based on aggravating or mitigating circumstances respectively. Garcia-Rivera entered an open guilty plea...

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October 15, 2009

Sixth Circuit US Court of Appeals Holds Inevitable Discovery Doctrine Does Not Allow for Circumvention of Warrant Requirement

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently reversed a District Court decision which denied a motion to suppress evidence seized without a warrant. The case, U.S. v. Quinney, involved a U.S. Secret Service investigation for the counterfeiting of American currency. Agents from the Secret Service arrived at the Defendant’s residence and obtained consent to search the Defendant’s bedroom. Agents discovered a printer which they believe was used for counterfeiting. The Defendant, however, admitted to passing phony currency, but not actually manufacturing counterfeit...

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