Commonwealth v. Weeden

The Pennsylvania Superior Court whittled away at criminal defendants’ right to confront their accusers. Here, the defendant appealed after a jury convicted him of aggravated assault and firearms offenses. The defendant claimed he never fired a shot and the complaining witness fabricated the event because he had just financially cut her off. The Commonwealth presented … Read more

Commonwealth v. Rogers

In Commonwealth v. Rogers, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court addressed the issue of whether a criminal defendant is permitted to introduce evidence of his alleged victims’ prior prostitution convictions to bolster his consent defense to rape charges. The case revolved around the Rape Shield Law, which generally precludes evidence regarding prior sexual conduct of a victim … Read more

State v. Williamson

In State v. Williamson, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an important decision on the intersection of a criminal defendant’s right to confront his accuser and the dying declaration exception to the hearsay rule. Here, the victim was shot five times. When the victim awoke in the hospital and was informed of her critical injuries, … Read more

State v. Sims

The Appellate Division dealt with two important constitutional issues in State v. Sims. First, the Court was asked to determine whether police officers were required to inform the defendant of the charges he was arrested for, even if no charges had yet to be formally filed. Relying on the New Jersey Supreme Court’s holdings in … Read more

State v. Hedgespeth

The Court of the Appellate Division affirmed the defendant’s conviction for possession of a gun, holding that, though the trial court erred in admitting the defendant’s prior convictions, the error was harmless. The Court also ruled that an NJ State Police “no-permit” affidavit is non-testimonial hearsay, and its admission without the signer’s appearance did not … Read more

Commonwealth v. Hajdarevic

In Commonwealth v. Hajdarevic, the Superior Court held that the Confrontation Clause applies to evidence presented by the Commonwealth to establish the time of a blood draw in a DUI case because, under Section 3802 of the Motor Vehicles Code, the Commonwealth is required to prove that the defendant’s blood alcohol content within two hours … Read more

State v. Jackson

Be careful who your friends are. In State v. Jackson, the New Jersey Supreme Court handed down a significant Confrontation Clause decision. Three codefendants participated in a burglary, but one pleaded guilty and cooperated. The trial judge limited trial counsel’s ability to cross-examine the cooperator with the full extent of his exposure at sentencing. The … Read more