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Weekly Caselaw Updates

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Commonwealth v. Thomas

The Pennsylvania Superior Court was tasked with determining whether a suspect was stopped when an officer approached the suspect as he rode a bicycle and said, "Hold up for a second." The Court held that the "interaction between the officers and Appellant was limited, informal, and carried all the hallmarks…

Commonwealth v. Thomas
Pennsylvania Superior Court

The Pennsylvania Superior Court was tasked with determining whether a suspect was stopped when an officer approached the suspect as he rode a bicycle and said, “Hold up for a second.” The Court held that the “interaction between the officers and Appellant was limited, informal, and carried all the hallmarks of a mere encounter.” As… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Thomas

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that there is no “social worker exception” to compliance with constitutional limitations on an entry into a home without consent or exigent circumstances. Thus, constitutional protections apply. The Department of Human Services filed petitions to compel parents to permit the Department to conduct an in-home visit. The petitions were based… Continue reading In re Y.W.-B.

Commonwealth v. Jefferson
Pennsylvania Superior Court

Jefferson appealed the denial of his suppression motion. He argued that the police lacked reasonable suspicion to stop his vehicle based solely on the inference that the registered owner of the vehicle, who had an outstanding warrant, would be found in the vehicle. An en banc panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed and based… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Jefferson

Commonwealth v. Malloy
Pennsylvania Superior Court

In Commonwealth v. Malloy, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the order of the Court of Common Pleas which denied suppression of a firearm and statements made by the defendant. A police officer stopped a car, in which the defendant was a passenger, for failing to display its license plate properly. While running license and registration… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Malloy

United States v. Yusuf
3rd Circuit

In United States v. Yusuf, an opinion consisting of consolidated appeals, the government challenged the sentences of two defendants imposed after guilty pleas. As part of their plea agreements, they each agreed not to argue for a sentence outside the range recommended by the Guidelines. On appeal, the government argued that both defendants breached their… Continue reading United States v. Yusuf

Commonwealth v. Tillery
Pennsylvania Superior Court

In Commonwealth v. Tillery, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reviewed an order from the Court of Common Pleas granting the defendant’s motion to suppress. Police officers pulled the defendant over for violating 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3334(a), which requires motorists to use turn signals when changing lanes. The Commonwealth alleged that the defendant violated that provision by… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Tillery

Commonwealth v. Grooms
Pennsylvania Superior Court

In Commonwealth v. Grooms, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reviewed an order from the trial court denying the defendant’s motion to suppress drugs found in his car after a warrantless search. Two officers on routine patrol in a mall parking lot smelled marijuana coming from the defendant’s parked, unoccupied car. So, they broke into the car… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Grooms

Commonwealth v. Shaw
Pennsylvania Superior Court

In Commonwealth v. Shaw, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the trial court’s order denying the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence found in his car during a traffic stop. After stopping the defendant for a traffic violation, a police officer noticed the smell of marijuana coming from the defendant’s car. The officer stated, “In Pennsylvania, the… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Shaw

State v. Desir
New Jersey Supreme Court

In State v. Desir, the New Jersey Supreme Court reviewed an order from the Law Division denying a criminal defendant’s motion to compel discovery. The defendant sought the discovery to further his argument in support of a Franks hearing. The lower court had issued a search warrant for his home based on uncharged conduct involving a confidential… Continue reading State v. Desir

Commonwealth v. Alexander
Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Commonwealth v. Alexander is a significant decision that will impact the litigation of motions to suppress for the coming years. In Alexander, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overruled Commonwealth v. Gary, 91 A.3d 102 (Pa. 2014), holding that Article  I, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution affords greater protection to Pennsylvania’s citizens than the Fourth Amendment… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Alexander