Opinion Summaries for the

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. Smith (Criminal Law, Suppression)

The Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the trial court’s order granting the defendant’s suppression motion. The Court determined that police officers lawfully seized a gun they saw in plain view in the back of the defendant’s vehicle.

Commonwealth v. Reed (Criminal Law, VOP)

The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that the lower court erred by sentencing the defendant to a term of incarceration for failure to pay fines and costs without conducting an ability-to-pay hearing.


The New Jersey courts did not issue any precedential opinions this week.


United States v. Weiss (Civil Law, Tax Collection)

The Third Circuit ruled that the government’s collection action was timely. The Court interpreted 26 U.S.C. § 6502, which governs tax collection, and held that petitions for writs of certiorari are ‘appeals therein.’ Therefore, an appeal remains ‘pending’ until the time to file such a petition expires.

Jiangsu Beier Decoration Materials Co., Ltd. v. Angle World LLC (Civil Law, Arbitration)

In this dispute over the enforceability of a foreign arbitration award, the Third Circuit examined the “New York Convention,” an international treaty that permits the recipient of a foreign award to petition a United States district court for confirmation.

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