In Commonwealth v. Johnson, a plurality of justices signed onto an opinion announcing the judgment of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, holding that law enforcement failed to establish probable cause to search the contents of two cell phones. Those phones were recovered from the defendant’s pocket. He was in an apartment where drugs and guns were … Read more
In State v. Radel, the Appellate Division confronted the question, “Did they really think they were allowed to do that?” Police received a forfeiture order directing them to seize a handgun from the defendant’s parents’ house. The defendant lived next door to his parents and was the purported owner of the gun. The defendant had … Read more
In In re Y.W.-B., the Superior Court confronted two challenging family law questions. First, the Court held that a county child protective services agency “may obtain a court order compelling a parent’s cooperation with a home visit upon a showing of a fair probability that a child is in need of services, and that evidence … Read more
In Commonwealth v. Gurung, the Superior Court held that a motorist’s failure to use his turn signal while switching lanes was sufficient evidence to establish probable cause for a traffic stop for violating 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3334 (Turning Movements and Required Signals).
In Commonwealth v. Brame, the Superior Court concluded that the totality of circumstances — including officers’ observation of Brame tossing a knotted plastic bag into a vehicle followed by the vehicle’s occupant tossing a roll of money into Brame’s vehicle, as well as the officers’ training and experience — provided reasonable suspicion for an investigatory … Read more
The Superior Court reversed the trial court’s suppression order in Commonwealth v. Richard. The Court ruled that that the totality of the circumstances presented—marijuana discovered on Richard’s person, his visible nervousness as well as his inability to tell the officer where he was going, and the strong smell of marijuana emanating from inside the vehicle—provided the … Read more
The Superior Court vacated the defendant’s convictions and remanded for a new trial in Commonwealth v. Schneider. The public servant exception of the community caretaking doctrine — an exception to the warrant requirement established by the PA Supreme Court in Commonwealth v. Livingstone — did not excuse the officers’ warrantless entry into the defendant’s residence. The Superior … Read more
In Commonwealth v. Way, the Superior Court affirmed the denial of a motion to suppress, finding that a police officer, in light of his experience, observed and articulated specific facts, which caused him to reasonably believe the defendant and another individual were engaged in a drug transaction.
In Bletz v. Corrie, the 3rd Circuit opined about when law enforcement may shoot the family dog. Seriously. The Court held that the use of deadly force against a household pet is reasonable if the pet poses an imminent threat to the law enforcement officer’s safety, viewed from the perspective of an objectively reasonable officer.
In Commonwealth v. Copenhaver, the Superior Court revisited this case for the second time after the Supreme Court reversed and remanded. On remand, the Superior Court held that a sheriff’s deputy did not have authority to conduct a traffic stop based on an expired registration sticker because that Motor Vehicle Code offense did not constitute … Read more