Below are summaries of last week’s precedential appellate decisions from the Pennsylvania and New Jersey state courts, as well as the Third Circuit. Click on a case name, and you will be redirected to the entire opinion.
Commonwealth v. Collins (Criminal Law, First Amendment)
The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the defendant’s conviction for harassment. The Court ruled that the intended victim need not receive the defendant’s harassing communication under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2709(a)(3) to sustain the conviction, and the First Amendment provided no defense.
Read Judge Kunselman’s dissenting opinion here.
In re J.C. (Criminal Law, Family Law, Delinquent Acts)
The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that a juvenile cannot commit the crime of corruption of minors. The statute requires the accused to be at least 18 years old, and, by definition, juveniles are under 18 years old.
Read Judge Bowes’s concurring opinion here.
In re T.Q.B. (Criminal Law, Family Law, Delinquent Acts)
The Pennsylvania Superior Court held that the evidence was sufficient to adjudicate defendant for transmission of sexually explicit images by a minor. The statute’s nudity element was satisfied because “a portion of the victim’s breast, below the top of the nipple, was exposed.”
In re Estate of Tomik (Family Law, Wills)
The Pennsylvania Superior Court eviscerated the Appellant and his brief. The Court ruled that the appeal – and the entire litigation strategy – was dilatory, obdurate, or vexatious and ordered him to pay his opponent’s appellate costs under Pa.R.A.P. 2741.
Foster v. Nuffer (Civil Law, Arbitration, Law of the Case)
The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed an arbitration award, concluding that the exception to the coordinate jurisdiction (i.e., the “Law of the Case”) rule applied. The Court determined that the second trial judge “rectified a manifest injustice worked by the first trial judge’s erroneous ruling.”
Caterpillar Finan. Servs. Corp. v. Get Er Done Drilling (Civil Law, Contracts, Summary Judgment)
Based on its name alone, S | S will hire Get Er Done drilling for all its excavation needs. In this contracts case, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the denial of Get Er Done’s motion for summary judgment and the grant of Caterpillar’s summary judgment motion.
State v. Wade (Criminal Law, Miranda, Harmless Error)
Criminal practitioners, read this opinion. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that it was not harmless error to introduce at defendant’s at trial inculpatory statements he made during an interrogation. The trial court and Appellate Division had determined that defendant waived his rights. The Supreme Court disagreed, vacating defendant’s murder conviction.
Asphalt Paving Sys., Inc. v. Stone Harbor (Administrative Law, Municipal Law)
The New Jersey Appellate Division dealt with N.J.S.A. 52:25-24.2. The statute requires an entity seeking a public contract to disclose the address of certain shareholders. The Court ruled that the address can be a mailing address and need not be a home address.
Green Knight Capital, LLC v. Calderon (Tax Law, Foreclosure, Redemption)
The New Jersey Supreme Court held that a party, which acquires an interest in property subject to a tax sale foreclosure action, does not lose the right to redeem by attempting to redeem the tax sale certificate before moving to intervene.
Range v. Att’y Gen. (Civil Law, Gun Rights)
The Third Circuit entered the post-Bruen gun-rights debate by holding that “the people” constitutionally entitled to bear arms are the “law-abiding, responsible citizens” of the polity. The Court denied the Plaintiff’s as-applied challenge to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) based on his conviction for child welfare fraud.