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Misdemeanor / Felony Crimes

August 27, 2009

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania Holds Police Must Have Reasonable Suspicion of Intoxication In Order for Implied Consent Violation to Carry Suspension

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania recently affirmed a Common Pleas decision in favor of a suspected drunk driver, on appeal by the Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing. Police were called to the seen of a single-car accident in the early morning hours of August 28, 2007. The driver was found by an arriving officer, sitting on the curb next to his overturned vehicle and claiming he had fallen asleep behind the wheel. The officer began questioning the driver and noticed that the driver was slurring his speech. The officer then asked the driver to submit to a field...

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August 12, 2009

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Affirms No Right to Counsel for DUI Chemical Testing

http://www.nefflawoffices.com/attorney-profile.phpThe right of a criminal defendant to have the assistance of counsel in his defense is granted in the Bill of Rights, via the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Sixth Amendment right to counsel differs from the Fifth Amendment right to counsel which is granted to a suspect via Miranda warnings. The Sixth Amendment right is offense specific, meaning that during a critical stage of the trial process, no governmental agent may question the defendant about the...

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July 7, 2009

Strip Search of Child by School Officials Found Excessively Intrusive by Supreme Court

In October of 2003, Savana Redding, a then 13-year old student at a rural Arizona middle school, was intrusively searched by school officials who suspected she was in possession of ibuprofen. Savana was called into the assistant principal’s office where she was presented with a day-planner; inside the day planner were a knife and other minor items of contraband. Savana admitted to owning the day-planner, but said she had lent it to a friend a few days prior and that the contraband found did not belong to her. The assistant principal then presented four prescription strength pills of...

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April 27, 2009

United States Supreme Court to Decide Whether Videos of Dog Figting, Other Forms of Animal Cruelty, Are Protected by the First Amendment’s Right of Free Speech

In Philadelphia last year, a Federal Appeals Court declared a rarely used law prohibiting the sale or possession of photos or videos of animals being maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded, or killed, unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds. The Federal law which was passed over a decade ago, was enacted to combat a growing underground trade involving videos which portray dog fights or the mauling of other animals. The law was not intended to specifically target animal cruelty, as all fifty states have enacted their own legislation against such, and also included an exception for...

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January 22, 2009

Governor Rendell Calls for Legislation to Eliminate the Possibility of Parole for Repeat Offenders of Violent Crimes in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania sentencing guidelines provide a range of years for which a convicted felon is to serve in prison. For example, sentencing guidelines would require a range of five-to-ten years for a certain crime. At some point within this range, the convicted felon becomes eligible for parole, or early release on a probationary status. Granting of parole is determined by a parole board that interviews the inmate and weighs different factors, such as good behavior, to determine whether to grant parole. The parole system in Pennsylvania has been highly successful with non-violent offenders. In...

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