Commonwealth v. Lambert

In Commonwealth v. Lambert, defense counsel filed a motion for a writ of habeas corpus after the defendant’s preliminary hearing. At the motion’s hearing, the Commonwealth did not present any evidence and asserted that the Commonwealth was entitled to rely on “what happened at the preliminary hearing.” The trial court granted the writ and dismissed … Read more

Travillion v. Superintendent Rockview SCI

The 3rd Circuit granted a writ of habeas corpus in Travillion v. Superintendent Rockview SCI after holding that the Commonwealth failed to present sufficient evidence that the petitioner was the perpetrator of a robbery. The evidence at trial proved that, during the robbery of a retail store, the culprit left behind a manila folder with … Read more

Spanier v. Dir. Dauphin Cty. Prob. Servs.

In Spanier v. Dir. Dauphin Cty. Prob. Servs., Spanier, the former Penn State president, challenged his state-court conviction through a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that his rights under the Due Process and Ex Post Facto Clauses were violated. He also argued that his due process rights were violated by the application … Read more

Howell v. Superintendent Albion SCI

In Howell v. Superinrtendent Albion SCI, Howell filed a F.R.C.P. 60(b)(6) motion to set aside the earlier dismissal of his habeas petition. Rule 60(b)(6) serves as a gateway past the procedural default of an untimely habeas petition. The 3rd Circuit ruled that Howell made a sufficient showing of actual innocence to gain relief under Rule 60(b)(6). Therefore, … Read more

Tyson v. Superintendent Houtzdale SCI

In Tyson v Superintendent Houtzdale SCI, the 3rd Circuit held that a criminal defendant’s trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing to object to the trial court’s jury instruction. The trial court incorrectly instructed the jury that an accomplice to first-degree murder must only act to promote or facilitate the commission of a crime to … Read more

Rosen v. Superintendent SCI Mahanoy

In Rosen v. Superintendent of SCI Mahanoy, the 3rd Circuit affirmed the denial of the defendant’s habeas petition, ruling that the defendant failed to demonstrate that the Commonwealth’s use at trial of his statements to the Commonwealth’s psychiatric expert for the limited purpose of impeachment violated clearly established Fifth Amendment law.

Hope v. Warden Cook Cnty. Prison

In Hope v. Warden York Cnty. Prison, the 3rd Circuit held that Petitioners’ claim that unconstitutional conditions of confinement at York and Pike Co. required their release was cognizable in habeas. However, Petitioners did not show a substantial likelihood of success on their claim that the conditions of their confinement constituted unconstitutional punishment. Moreover, the … Read more

Commonwealth v. McClelland

Bill Clinton made us all ask what the definition of “is” is. In Commonwealth v. McClelland, the Pennsylvania 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.

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

Hope v. Warden York Cty. Prison

#TRO #PreliminaryInjunction #Jurisdiction #Habeas Several immigration detainees filed a habeas corpus petition seeking their release based on the COVID-19 pandemic and the conditions of the jails in which they were housed. Without offering the government a chance to respond, the district court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO), demanding the release of the plaintiffs pending … Read more