In Commonwealth v. Johnson, a plurality of justices signed onto an opinion announcing the judgment of the PA Supreme Court, hol1ding that law enforcement failed to establish probable cause to search the contents of two cell phones. Those phones were recovered from the defendant’s pocket. He was in an apartment where drugs and guns were … Read more
In State v. Radel, the Appellate Division confronted the question, “Did they really think they were allowed to do that?” Police received a forfeiture order directing them to seize a handgun from the defendant’s parents’ house. The defendant lived next door to his parents and was the purported owner of the gun. The defendant had … Read more
In Commonwealth v. Gurung, the Superior Court held that a motorist’s failure to use his turn signal while switching lanes was sufficient evidence to establish probable cause for a traffic stop for violating 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3334 (Turning Movements and Required Signals).
In Commonwealth v. Brame, the Superior Court concluded that the totality of circumstances — including officers’ observation of Brame tossing a knotted plastic bag into a vehicle followed by the vehicle’s occupant tossing a roll of money into Brame’s vehicle, as well as the officers’ training and experience — provided reasonable suspicion for an investigatory … Read more
The Superior Court reversed the trial court’s suppression order in Commonwealth v. Richard. The Court ruled that that the totality of the circumstances presented—marijuana discovered on Richard’s person, his visible nervousness as well as his inability to tell the officer where he was going, and the strong smell of marijuana emanating from inside the vehicle—provided the … Read more
The Superior Court vacated the defendant’s convictions and remanded for a new trial in Commonwealth v. Schneider. The public servant exception of the community caretaking doctrine — an exception to the warrant requirement established by the PA Supreme Court in Commonwealth v. Livingstone — did not excuse the officers’ warrantless entry into the defendant’s residence. The Superior … Read more
In Commonwealth v. Way, the Superior Court affirmed the denial of a motion to suppress, finding that a police officer, in light of his experience, observed and articulated specific facts, which caused him to reasonably believe the defendant and another individual were engaged in a drug transaction.
Two defendant-physicians appealed the State’s use of grand jury subpoenas to access information contained in New Jersey’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), which is a state-run database that keeps track of prescriptions of controlled dangerous substances. The Appellate Division determined that law enforcement agents properly sought subpoenas in the name of the investigating grand jury and … Read more
The defendant was found guilty of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon and sentenced to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, as required by the Armed Career Criminal Act as well as the defendant’s three prior qualifying convictions. The defendant appealed, claiming his suppression motion should have been granted and that he had … Read more
Police seized incriminating text messages, which the defendant sent to his ex-girlfriend. Defendant moved to suppress the messages, as they were recovered from the ex-girlfriend’s phone without a warrant. The Appellate Division held that the defendant had neither a reasonable expectation of privacy in the text message recovered from his girlfriend’s cellphone nor did he … Read more