Commonwealth v. Lehmman

The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the defendant’s conviction for first-degree murder. The defendant made three claims of error. First, he claimed that the trial court erred by denying his motion in limine seeking to present evidence of the victim’s rap music videos to the jury. The Superior Court ruled that the defendant did not proffer any evidence that he knew about the four videos before he killed the victim. Accordingly, the videos were not admissible to show the reasonableness of the defendant’s fear of the victim at the time of the killing. The Court noted that “the admission of rap lyrics as evidence of a propensity for violence by the performing artist must be viewed with suspicion because such evidence is likely to be of limited probative value. For the same reasons, the admission of rap lyrics for that purpose risks confusing or misleading the jury under Pa.R.E. 403.” Next, the defendant asserted that the trial court erred when it admitted text messages he sent to an attorney, arguing that the messages were inadmissible because they were communications subject to attorney-client privilege. The Court held that the defendant failed to satisfy the first and third elements of the Attorney-Client Privilege Test and, thus, the text messages were not privileged communications. Finally, the Court ruled that the defendant waived his claim that the trial court erred by permitting the Commonwealth to question him using his previous testimony at a status conference hearing where he had lied about an unrelated matter, arguing that his prior fabrication was prior bad act evidence barred by Pa.R.E. 404(b).

Search entire site by keyword...

Search for Summaries by Hashtag...

Past Opinion Summaries