Commonwealth v. Yale

In Commonwealth v. Yale, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court clarified the appropriate standard for the admission of evidence of a third person’s crimes, wrongs, or other acts (“third-person guilt”) offered by a criminal defendant to raise a reasonable doubt that he was not the perpetrator of the crime. The Court held that that evidence of a … Read more

Hassan v. Williams

In Hassan v. Williams, the New Jersey Appellate Division issued a must-read opinion, which touched on several evidentiary issues. The Court reviewed a defense-favorable verdict after a rear-end crash involving two commercial trucks. At the trial, the plaintiff sought to introduce testimony from the defendant’s deposition in which he said that rear-ending someone “automatically makes … Read more

Commonwealth v. Wentzel

In Commonwealth v. Wentzel, the defendant appealed after a jury found him guilty of resisting arrest. The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed. First, the Court discussed the propriety of the appeal. The Court noted the general rule that in cases where the trial court amends the judgment of sentence during the period it maintains jurisdiction, the … Read more

State v. Garcia

In State v. Garcia, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an important decision on hearsay evidence. In the immediate aftermath of an assault, the defendant’s family rushed to the investigating police officers to tell them their side of the story — presumably to exculpate the defendant. But the officers waved them off and told them … Read more

In re Cerullo

A husband and wife married, but within a month, the husband passed away. The wife claimed that the husband gave her his luxury cars before he died. The husband’s sister was named executrix of the estate and claimed otherwise. The case turned on the Dead Man’s Act. In re Cerullo could have been the start to … Read more

Commonwealth v. Hudson-Greenly

In Commonwealth v. Hudson-Greely, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reviewed a pre-trial ruling by the trial court permitting an 11-year-old child-victim to testify at trial via a contemporaneous alternative method (i.e., closed-circuit TV) pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5985. The Superior Court employed an abuse-of-discretion standard of review and, in affirming the trial court, found the most … Read more

Commonwealth v. Williams

In Commonwealth v. Williams, the defendant appealed from his convictions for murder and related offenses. At issue was the proper method – if any – for impeaching a hearsay declarant when that declarant did not testify for either party at trial. The issue turned on Pa.R.E. 806, which permits a hearsay declarant’s credibility to be … Read more

State v. Singh

In State v. Singh, at the defendant’s trial for robbing a gas station, a police detective testified and narrated surveillance video footage. During the narration, he referred to an individual depicted in the video as “the defendant” twice. Defense counsel did not object. While showing the surveillance footage, the prosecutor asked about “the defendant’s shoes.” … Read more

State v. C.W.H.

In State v. C.W.H., the New Jersey Appellate Division confronted a problematic trial in which the defendant was convicted of sexually assaulting his young daughter decades after the alleged crimes. The Appellate Division found plain error in testimony admitted from two of the State’s primary witnesses: the investigating detective and a relative who received the … Read more

United States v. Heatherly

The defendants frequented an internet chat room where users regularly shared child pornography. One user repeatedly live-streamed himself raping and sexually abusing his six-year-old nephew. The defendants encouraged him as he did so, and they repeatedly asked users for child pornography videos. A  jury convicted the defendants of receiving child pornography and related charges. The … Read more