Commonwealth v. Rivera

In Commonwealth v. Rivera, the defendant appealed his convictions of a host of sex offenses. The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. First, the Superior Court found that the Supreme Court did not intend to extend the holding of Commonwealth v. McClelland, 233 A.3d 717 (Pa. 2020) (the Commonwealth may not establish … 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

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. 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

Commonwealth v. Wallace

In Commonwealth v. Wallace, a jury convicted the defendant of aggravated assault and related charges. On appeal, he claimed seven points of error, including two evidentiary issues. The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed. First, the defendant alleged that that the trial court committed reversible error by allowing the jury to view two photographs of the victim’s … Read more

State v. Sims

The Appellate Division dealt with two important constitutional issues in State v. Sims. First, the Court was asked to determine whether police officers were required to inform the defendant of the charges he was arrested for, even if no charges had yet to be formally filed. Relying on the New Jersey Supreme Court’s holdings in … Read more

Adams v. Rising Sun Med. Ctr.

In Adams v. Rising Sun Med. Ctr., the Superior Court dealt with cross appeals from a wrongful death and survival jury trial.  The administratrix of the decedent’s estate wanted to testify that she was present when the decedent told a doctor about her family’s medical history. According to the plaintiff, this evidence was admissible as … Read more

State v. Hedgespeth

The Court of the Appellate Division affirmed the defendant’s conviction for possession of a gun, holding that, though the trial court erred in admitting the defendant’s prior convictions, the error was harmless. The Court also ruled that an NJ State Police “no-permit” affidavit is non-testimonial hearsay, and its admission without the signer’s appearance did not … 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.

State v. Medina

The defendant was tried and convicted for offenses related to a non-fatal slashing. Although no physical evidence linked him to the crime, surveillance footage captured the incident, and the victim selected the defendant’s picture from a photo array. A woman, who witnessed the attack, identified the defendant as the attacker to police but was unwilling … Read more