Coram Nobis and PCRA for Ineffective Assistance Claim

Filed under: Criminal Law by Contributor @ November 26, 2014

In Commonwealth v. Descardes, 2014 WL 4696243, an en banc panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court considered whether it was error to treat a resident alien’s coram nobis petition as a PCRA petition and held that the peculiar circumstances giving rise to this case merited treatment as one of the rare instances where a claim falls outside […]

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Criminal Procedural Rules Committee Clarifies Preliminary Hearing Hearsay Rules

Filed under: Criminal Law by Contributor @ November 20, 2014

In a two-page final report, the Pennsylvania Criminal Procedural Rules Committee has provided guidance and clarification on the recent amendments to Pa.Rs.Crim.P. 542 and 1003. These rules, adopted as amended by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in April of last year and put into effect last June, govern the use of hearsay at preliminary hearings. In […]

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Federal Civil Asset Forfeiture: Is It Legal Robbery?

Filed under: Criminal Law by Contributor @ November 17, 2014

On the heels of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court’s decision that common law forfeiture requires a criminal conviction (see our post on it here), the New York Times’ Shaila Dewan reports in a fascinating article about the related federal practice of civil asset forfeiture and the havoc it wreaks on those innocent of any criminal wrongdoing. In a “take action […]

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Superior Court: Campus Police Jurisdiction Stops at Road’s Edge

Filed under: Criminal Law, DUI by Contributor @ November 13, 2014

In Commonwealth v. Boyles, 2014 WL 5408422, the Superior Court, using statutory interpretation, limited the jurisdictional authority of the campus police of Pennsylvania’s state-related universities to conduct traffic stops on state roads. The court considered the validity of a trial court order suppressing evidence collected from a DUI and speeding arrest near Slippery Rock University.  Officer Frank Davis, a […]

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En Banc Superior Court: “Course of Conduct” Means More Than Once

Filed under: Criminal Law, Sex Crimes by Contributor @ November 10, 2014

In a unanimous en banc decision on a matter of first impression, this month the Pennsylvania Superior Court decided in Commonwealth v. Kelly, 2014 WL 5408185, that a single episode cannot constitute a “course of conduct” as is required for felony-grade corruption of minors charges, 18 Pa.C.S. 6301.  This decision, while perhaps not groundbreaking, brings the […]

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