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Weekly Caselaw Updates

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Commonwealth v. Reid

To avoid the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s “frustration” with Appellant’s brief, counsel should have hired the ghostwriting pros at Sullivan | Simon. This was a direct appeal from an order dismissing a PCRA petition. Appellant, who is sentenced to death for the murders of his girlfriend and her child, presented the…

Commonwealth v. Reid
Pennsylvania Supreme Court

To avoid the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s “frustration” with Appellant’s brief, counsel should have hired the ghostwriting pros at Sullivan | Simon. This was a direct appeal from an order dismissing a PCRA petition. Appellant, who is sentenced to death for the murders of his girlfriend and her child, presented the Court with a host of… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Reid

Commonwealth v. Davis
Pennsylvania Superior Court

In a collateral attack proceeding, the Commonwealth agreed with the defendant that he should be resentenced based on Alleyne. At the hearing, the lower court stated that the defendant’s “original sentence is hereby vacated” and then imposed a new sentence. On appeal, the defendant claimed that counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Davis

United States v. Arrington
3rd Circuit

In a habeas petition, the defendant claimed that he was entitled to an evidentiary hearing to determine whether his trial counsel was ineffective for preventing him from testifying. A jury convicted the defendant of drug crimes for acts he committed while on parole. It was undisputed that he fled from parole. He claimed he did… Continue reading United States v. Arrington

Commonwealth v. Campbell
Pennsylvania Superior Court

The defendant was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and related offenses for his role in a 2013 building collapse that killed and injured multiple people at a Salvation Army thrift store in Philadelphia. He filed a PCRA petition alleging trial counsel was ineffective based on counsel’s alleged conflicts of interest and failure to object during the… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Campbell

Commonwealth v. King
Pennsylvania Superior Court

This case came to the Pennsylvania Superior Court on appeal from the denial of post-conviction relief. On the advice of his attorney, the defendant waived his right to a jury trial and chose a bench trial. He did so because his attorney advised that a Schuylkill County jury may be prejudiced against a Black man.… Continue reading Commonwealth v. King

Commonwealth v. Prater
Pennsylvania Superior Court

Appellant filed a PCRA petition, claiming that his original sentence was illegal and seeking a new trial on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel. The PCRA court held that Appellant’s original sentence was illegal and imposed a new sentence, but it rejected Appellant’s claims of ineffective assistance. He appealed, and the Pennsylvania Superior Court… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Prater

Commonwealth v. Hairston
Pennsylvania Supreme Court

In Commonwealth v. Hairston, a capital PCRA appeal, Hairston challenged the dismissal of his PCRA petition. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Hairston failed to present convincing new evidence that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment violative of the Eighth Amendment or of Article I, Section 13 of the PA Constitution. Also,… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Hairston

Commonwealth v. Orner
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court

In Commonwealth v. Orner, an en banc panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the Court of Common Pleas’ order, which granted the defendant a new trial. The defendant was convicted of sexually assaulting his neighbor, but he maintained that the encounter was consensual. His first two trials ended in mistrials. His attorney forgot to notify… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Orner

Commonwealth v. Wiggins
Pennsylvania Superior Court

In Commonwealth v. Wiggins, the Pennsylvania Superior Court rejected the defendant’s claim that he received ineffective assistance because trial counsel did not file a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 600. The defendant sought relief under the Post Conviction Relief Act (“PCRA”), See 42 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 9541-9546, claiming that trial counsel should have filed a… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Wiggins

Commonwealth v. Shaw
Pennsylvania Supreme Court

In Commonwealth v. Shaw, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court dealt with the time and manner in which a defendant can raise a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel during post-conviction proceedings pursuant to the Post Conviction Relief Act. Here, after post-conviction relief was denied, PCRA counsel filed a notice of appeal but failed to include in… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Shaw