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Weekly Caselaw Updates

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Commonwealth v. Greshan

The defendant appealed the dismissal of his PCRA petition. He argued trial counsel was ineffective for failing to properly file motions for reconsideration of the VOP sentences. In an unpublished decision, the Pennsylvania Superior Court agreed with the defendant, vacated the order, and remanded. See Commonwealth v. Greshan, 2020 WL…

The defendant appealed the dismissal of his PCRA petition. He argued trial counsel was ineffective for failing to properly file motions for reconsideration of the VOP sentences. In an unpublished decision, the Pennsylvania Superior Court agreed with the defendant, vacated the order, and remanded. See Commonwealth v. Greshan, 2020 WL 4391505 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2020).

Commonwealth v. Bishop
Pennsylvania Superior Court

The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed an order denying the defendant’s PCRA petition wherein he made numerous allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel. And in doing so, the Court gave a poignant reminder of the importance of quality legal research and writing. A jury found the defendant guilty of shooting someone. The defendant filed a PCRA… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Bishop

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