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Weekly Caselaw Updates

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Commonwealth v. Harrington

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…

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. Raboin
Pennsylvania Supreme Court

On its face, a four-justice majority found this case to be about Rule of Evidence 106, typically referred to as the rule of completeness. But this case might be more persuasive as evidence that individual justices on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court do not want their names associated with an appeal where a convicted child molester… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Raboin

The Pennsylvania Superior Court reviewed the Tender Years Hearsay Act after the appellant was convicted of sexual offenses based partly on the victim’s out-of-court statements to various family members about the defendant’s actions. On appeal, the defendant claimed that the trial court erred when it determined that the victim was unavailable to testify under the… Continue reading In re D.C.

State v. Hannah
New Jersey Supreme Court

The New Jersey Supreme Court reviewed a serial collateral attack on the defendant’s homicide convictions. He claimed his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to utilize certain exculpatory evidence to further a third-party-guilt defense. The case was a murder robbery where two “buyers” arranged a sale of heroin from two sellers, but the buyers intended… Continue reading State v. Hannah

Commonwealth v. Fitzpatrick
Pennsylvania Supreme Court

The “state of mind” exception to the hearsay rule took center stage when detectives investigating a homicide found a note the decedent wrote stating, “If something happens to me—JOE.” The decedent also sent an email to herself in which she indicated she feared Joe, her husband. Though the trial court found that the notes were… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Fitzpatrick

Commonwealth v. Weeden
Pennsylvania Superior Court

The Pennsylvania Superior Court whittled away at criminal defendants’ right to confront their accusers. Here, the defendant appealed after a jury convicted him of aggravated assault and firearms offenses. The defendant claimed he never fired a shot and the complaining witness fabricated the event because he had just financially cut her off. The Commonwealth presented… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Weeden

State v. Williamson
New Jersey Supreme Court

In State v. Williamson, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an important decision on the intersection of a criminal defendant’s right to confront his accuser and the dying declaration exception to the hearsay rule. Here, the victim was shot five times. When the victim awoke in the hospital and was informed of her critical injuries,… Continue reading State v. Williamson

Hassan v. Williams
New Jersey Appellate Division

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… Continue reading Hassan v. Williams

Commonwealth v. Rivera
Pennsylvania Superior Court

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… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Rivera

State v. Garcia
New Jersey Supreme Court

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… Continue reading State v. Garcia