Commonwealth v. Williams

In Commonwealth v. Williams, after he was convicted of murder, the defendant asserted that the trial court committed a host of evidentiary errors. The Court held: 1. It was proper for the trial court to admit the deceased victim’s text messages into evidence under the party-opponent exception to the rule against hearsay; 2. The Commonwealth … Read more

Commonwealth v. Hill

Sammy Hill was serving a life sentence at the State Correctional Facility at Smithfield when he was caught with synthetic marijuana. He was charged accordingly. The Honorable George N. Zanic dismissed the case because it is stupid to waste resources prosecuting someone already serving a life sentence with no chance of parole. In Commonwealth v. … Read more

State v. Cruz-Pena

In State v. Cruz-Pena, the NJ Supreme Court held that a jury could make the highly fact-sensitive determination that the defendant committed kidnapping because the victim was held against her will for a “substantial period” where he held her captive for four to five hours while he sexually assaulted her, though he never moved her. … Read more

Commonwealth v. Smith

The PA Supreme Court held in Commonwealth v. Smith that a person who is wanted on a bench warrant — even if that person is not physically fleeing prosecution — is a fugitive under the Uniform Firearms Act and is therefore statutorily ineligible to carry a gun under Section 6105 of the Act.

Commonwealth v. Steele

In Commonwealth v. Steele, the Superior Court ruled that using a police scanner to avoid the police after shooting someone is not sufficient to establish criminal use of a communication facility. But, more notably, this case is worth reading because the defendant’s claim of self-defense is comedic gold.

State v. Fortin

The defendant was convicted of homicide and sexual assault charges in 2000, was awarded a new trial, and in 2007 again convicted of the charges. In 2018, with the Innocence Project as his counsel, he moved for a new trial, arguing that changes in bitemark identification reliability and scientific validity had changed sufficiently to undermine … Read more

Commonwealth v. McIntyre

The defendant challenged his sentence for failing to register as a sex-offender under 18 Pa.C.S. § 4915, which has been ruled unconstitutional. The PA Supreme Court held that the defendant’s sentence was illegal and vacated the judgments of sentence.

In re G.E.W.

Facebook provided a tip to law enforcement that two parties to a Facebook Live stream were engaging in sexual acts with a minor. After reviewing the transcript — but not the video stream — from Facebook, a law enforcement agent went to the defendant’s house and obtained a confession. At the defendant’s dispositional hearing, that … Read more

State v. Vargas

At a homicide trial, the State called the decedent’s daughter, who heard the defendant tell the decedent, “If you can’t be with me, then you can’t be with anyone.” The Appellate Division held that the statement was admissible as the statement of a party opponent under N.J.R.E. 803(b)(1), as well as proof of motive under … Read more