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Weekly Caselaw Updates

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Commonwealth v. Miller

After the Miller and Montgomery decisions, the trial court resentenced the defendant, a juvenile lifer, to imprisonment of 55 years to life. The defendant appealed, challenging the legality of the sentence as a de facto life without the possibility of parole (“LWOP”) and the discretionary aspects of his sentence. The…

Commonwealth v. Miller
Pennsylvania Superior Court

After the Miller and Montgomery decisions, the trial court resentenced the defendant, a juvenile lifer, to imprisonment of 55 years to life. The defendant appealed, challenging the legality of the sentence as a de facto life without the possibility of parole (“LWOP”) and the discretionary aspects of his sentence. The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed, holding… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Miller

Commonwealth v. Lehmman
Pennsylvania Superior Court

The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the defendant’s conviction for first-degree murder. The defendant made three claims of error. First, he claimed that the trial court erred by denying his motion in limine seeking to present evidence of the victim’s rap music videos to the jury. The Superior Court ruled that the defendant did not proffer… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Lehmman

Commonwealth v. Hobel
Pennsylvania Superior Court

After a jury convicted the defendant of three gunpoint robberies and a subsequent high-speed chase, he appealed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, claiming that his motion to suppress was erroneously denied, his matters were improperly joined, as well as weight and sufficiency arguments. The latter claims were perfunctory and not meritorious. The suppression motion asserted… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Hobel

The New Jersey Appellate Division began its opinion by succinctly stating the issue: “In this case of first impression, we consider whether a victim in a criminal matter has standing to appeal from a trial court order granting defendant’s motion for a civil reservation, where the victim neither moved to intervene before the trial court… Continue reading State v. Lavrik

Commonwealth v. Juray
Pennsylvania Superior Court

The Pennsylvania Superior Court likely issued this opinion as a reminder to practitioners about proper appellate practices. The Court footnoted multiple errors made by the defendant’s counsel in perfecting the appeal. And the Court wrote at length to articulate the distinction between a weight and a sufficiency challenge. The Court affirmed the judgments of sentence,… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Juray

Commonwealth v. Dabney
Pennsylvania Superior Court

The Pennsylvania Superior Court rejected the defendant’s novel argument that medical marijuana is not a Schedule I controlled substance for purposes of the DUI statute. The Court relied, in part, on its recent en banc decision in Commonwealth v. Stone in concluding that medical marijuana continues to be a schedule I controlled substance. The Court… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Dabney

Commonwealth v. Carl
Pennsylvania Superior Court

The Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed an order from the Court of Common Pleas that granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss the charges based on the Commonwealth’s violation of Rule 600(c). The critical issue was the county’s COVID-related judicial emergency declaration, which closed the courts and mandated that “any postponement caused by the judicial emergency shall be… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Carl

The New Jersey Appellate Division reversed the lower court’s denial of a petition for compassionate release. A.M. suffers from end-stage multiple sclerosis, a progressive condition that renders her physically incapable of conducting any daily life activities and requires twenty-four-hour daily medical care. After serving eight years of her forty-year sentence for murdering her husband, she… Continue reading State. v. A.M.

State v. O.D.A.-C.
New Jersey Supreme Court

The New Jersey Supreme Court continued its love affair with Miranda and Fifth Amendment matters. Here, an interrogating detective administered Miranda warnings to a suspect but “repeatedly undermined them throughout an interrogation.” For example, the detective told the suspect that his confession “would remain confidential among us” and that the warnings were “just a formality.”… Continue reading State v. O.D.A.-C.

Commonwealth v. Hipps
Pennsylvania Superior Court

The Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the Court of Common Pleas order that granted the defendant’s second PCRA petition. The defendant tried to sidestep the PCRA’s time bar with a newly-discovered evidence argument. He claimed that his initial PCRA counsel failed to assert non-frivolous claims or, in the alternative, argued only frivolous claims. The Court disagreed,… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Hipps