Commonwealth v. Betts

In Commonwealth v. Betts, the Superior Court set forth the proper procedure for criminal defendants who wish to allege that their attorneys rendered ineffective assistance of counsel during PCRA proceedings in the Courts of Common Pleas. Defendants are obliged to raise their claims in response to the lower courts’ notice of intent to dismiss pursuant … Read more

In re Z.S.

The Appellate Division in In re Z.S. vacated the family court’s order, which waived jurisdiction and directed that 17-year-old Z.S. be prosecuted as an adult on charges under the Jessica Lunsford Act.  The Appellate Division found that the prosecutor’s statement of reasons was “materially deficient.” Importantly, the juvenile was functioning cognitively as a 13-year-old and was deemed developmentally … Read more

Commonwealth v. McClelland

Bill Clinton made us all ask what the definition of “is” is. In Commonwealth v. McClelland, the PA Supreme Court debated the meaning of “any,” overruled Commonwealth v. Ricker, and held that the Commonwealth may not establish a prima facie case at a preliminary hearing with hearsay alone.

Commonwealth v. Rankin

When the Superior Court says it is going to employ “rationality and realism,” you know you’re in for a doozy. In Commonwealth v. Rankin, the Commonwealth charged the defendant with misdemeanors and summaries related to traffic tickets and poor driving. A jury acquitted him of the misdemeanor, but the trial judge immediately convicted him on … Read more

State v. Stoveken

Two defendant-physicians appealed the State’s use of grand jury subpoenas to access information contained in New Jersey’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), which is a state-run database that keeps track of prescriptions of controlled dangerous substances. The Appellate Division determined that law enforcement agents properly sought subpoenas in the name of the investigating grand jury and … Read more

United States v. Scripps

At the defendant’s sentencing, the sentencing judge never directly addressed the defendant, though the judge repeatedly noted to the defendant would have a chance to speak, if he wished. On appeal, the issue of whether or not the judge directly addressed the defendant — as required by Rule 32 — was never raised. Therefore, in … Read more

State v. Horton

In State v. Horton, a jury deliberated to a partial verdict, but, before a complete verdict could be reached , a juror was excused for a preplanned vacation. Over a defense objection, the trial court brought in a substitute juror and ordered the deliberations to begin anew. The NJ Supreme Court held that this was … Read more