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Weekly Caselaw Updates

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State v. Gerena

In a per curium order, the New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed the Appellate Division's opinion. The Appellate Division held that it is within the purview of a lay witness to opine as to the ages of children the witness saw at a playground, without any more information than a sufficient…

State v. Gerena
New Jersey Supreme Court

In a per curium order, the New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed the Appellate Division’s opinion. The Appellate Division held that it is within the purview of a lay witness to opine as to the ages of children the witness saw at a playground, without any more information than a sufficient opportunity to observe them.

State v. Hedgespeth
New Jersey Supreme Court

The New Jersey Supreme Court reversed the Law Division’s opinion, which had affirmed the defendant’s convictions for controlled dangerous substance and firearm offenses. The Supreme Court held that a violation occurred when the State was allowed to enter into evidence information outlined in the affidavit of a non-testifying officer concerning the no-permit results from a… Continue reading State v. Hedgespeth

Commonwealth v. DiStefano
Pennsylvania Supreme Court

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that the Superior Court misapplied the appellate court standard for reviewing trial court evidentiary rulings. The Commonwealth charged Appellant with homicide and aggravated assault. The MDJ concluded that the Commonwealth presented a prima facie case for both aggravated assault and homicide. The trial court ruled that the Commonwealth failed to… Continue reading Commonwealth v. DiStefano

Commonwealth v. Talley
Pennsylvania Supreme Court

In a sixty-five page opinion, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court clarified the prosecution’s burden when the Commonwealth seeks to deprive the accused of their right to bail. Also, the Court ruled that the defendant’s text messages to the victim were admissible at the his trial. The defendant was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, stalking, harassment… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Talley

Commonwealth v. Jones
Pennsylvania Superior Court

In this appeal of a murder conviction, the critical issues were Appellant’s state of mind and whether he acted in self-defense or an unreasonable belief that his life was in danger. But before the Court addressed those issues, it had to determine if surveillance video played at trial constituted evidence that it may consider. The… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Jones

United States v. Shulick
3rd Circuit

The Third Circuit affirmed the defendant’s convictions for conspiracy, fraud, embezzlement, and other crimes. The defendant owned a for-profit education company through which he contracted with the School District of Philadelphia to run a school. But instead of spending the money he received on the students as the contract required, he embezzled funds for his… Continue reading United States v. Shulick

Commonwealth v. Green
Pennsylvania Superior Court

The Pennsylvania Superior Court vacated the defendant’s first-degree murder conviction and ordered a new trial. The Commonwealth charged the defendant with homicide, alleging he killed a man’s grandmother in retaliation for stealing the defendant’s chain. The Commonwealth filed a Pre-Trial Motion in which it sought to introduce prior bad acts evidence pursuant to Pa.R.E. 404(b).… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Green

Commonwealth v. Harrington
Pennsylvania Superior Court

This was an appeal following convictions of Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution, Firearms Not to be Carried Without a License, and Tampering With or Fabricating Physical Evidence. The Commonwealth alleged Appellant communicated with and provided transportation to someone after he murdered a police officer and that Appellant disposed of the firearm used in the shooting. Before… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Harrington

Commonwealth v. Purnell
Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Testifying in Pennsylvania courts is now a whole lot cuddlier. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court was asked to determine whether a witness in a criminal case may utilize a “comfort dog” for support during their trial testimony. A 13-year-old autistic girl witnessed a murder. The killer pointed his gun at her before he ran. Then, the… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Purnell

27-35 Jackson Ave., LLC v. Samsung Fire & Marine Ins. Co., LLC
New Jersey Appellate Division

If you are an evidence nerd, you’ll find this opinion to be a treat. Plaintiff 27-35 Jackson Avenue LLC owned commercial property in New York. For no apparent reason, a sprinkler head discharged water on the second floor of the premises, damaging the first and second floors. Plaintiff’s principal tenant was the United States General… Continue reading 27-35 Jackson Ave., LLC v. Samsung Fire & Marine Ins. Co., LLC