Articles

Pennsylvania Bill Would Decriminalize Possession of Small Amount of Marijuana

Filed under: Drug Crimes by Contributor @ December 5, 2018

On October 9, 2018, the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee voted to move forward on a bill that would decriminalize possession of a small amount of marijuana (that is, 30 grams or less) statewide. To become law, the bill – House Bill 928 – must be approved by both the Pennsylvania House and Senate and be […]

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Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law is Unconstitutional

Filed under: Sex Crimes by Contributor @ November 17, 2018

On December 20, 2012, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”) became effective and repealed and replaced all prior versions of Megan’s Law. On July 19, 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided in Commonwealth v. Muniz, that the new SORNA requirements are punitive (punishment) and cannot be applied to a defendant retroactively. Essentially, as […]

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Complete Ban on Internet and Computer Use for Sex Offenders Will Rarely Be Upheld

Filed under: Criminal Law, Sex Crimes by Contributor @ November 11, 2018

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that, in sentencing a defendant, a judge may restrict the use of a computer and electronic devices, but the restrictions must be narrowly tailored to the actual danger the defendant poses to society. The court also noted that only rarely would a complete ban be tailored to […]

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Campus Public Safety Officers Are Not State Actors Under Fourth Amendment

Filed under: Criminal Law, Drug Crimes by Contributor @ November 6, 2018

Can public safety officers search a dorm room without permission or a warrant? In a recent case, Commonwealth v. Yim, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held the trial court committed no error of law or abuse of discretion in making its determination that Villanova University Public Safety Officers were not state actors for purposes of the Fourth Amendment. […]

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Consent to Search: Roadside Canine Sniff Exceeded Scope of Consent PA Supreme Court Says

Filed under: Criminal Law, Drug Crimes by Steven F. Fairlie @ November 1, 2018

On October 17, 2018 the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held in Commonwealth v. Valdivia that a canine sniff of Defendant Randy Valdivia’s vehicle exceeded the scope of consent he had give police to search his car following a traffic stop. The Court held that for that reason the approximately 20 pounds of marijuana found in Valdivia’s […]

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