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To Err is Canine? An Opportunity for a Challenge to Drug Sniffs in Pennsylvania

Filed under: Drug Crimes by Contributor @ August 4, 2015

Recently, the United States 7th Circuit of Appeals, a federal appeals court based out of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana, released a decision (United States v. Bentley) that seriously throws into question the reliability of drug dog sniffs as a justification for a police search. In that seminal case, the panel pointed out that the dog […]

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Expungement in Federal Courts?

Filed under: Criminal Law by Contributor @ July 20, 2015

A few days ago, United States District Judge John Gleeson of the Eastern District of New York ordered that a 13-year old federal conviction for fraud be expunged.  The ability to have a previous state criminal conviction expunged is available by statute and common law in Pennsylvania (learn more about expungement here).  However, it may […]

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President Obama in Philly: “Criminal Injustice”

Filed under: News by Contributor @ July 15, 2015

In a keynote address to the NAACP National Convention meeting yesterday in Philadelphia, President Obama strongly argued that mandatory criminal sentences for nonviolent drug offenders should be reduced or abolished all together, and that generally the system passing as “criminal justice” in the United States does not live up to that billing. During the speech, […]

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SUPERIOR COURT: SCOTUS “Trespass Doctrine” for 4th Amendment Applies to Computer Search

Filed under: Criminal Law, Sex Crimes by Contributor @ July 5, 2015

In Commonwealth v. Sodomsky, 2015 Pa. Super. 133, a three-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that digital information stored on a desktop computer is subject to Fourth Amendment protections, regardless of the defendant’s reasonable expectation of privacy. The defendant had dropped off his desktop computer to Circuit City’s technology department in order for a new […]

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SCOTUS: Ohio v. Clark Majority Further Discerns Scope of Confrontation Clause

Filed under: Criminal Law, News by Contributor @ June 30, 2015

In Ohio v. Clark, a 6-member majority of the United States Supreme Court agreed that introduction of incriminating statements made to a school teacher by a three-year-old boy indicating that a specific person was responsible for abusing him was admissible and not a violation of the Confrontation Clause.  Three other members concurred in the judgment, […]

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