State v. Melvin

Two homicide trials for two defendants before the same judge ended with the jury finding each defendant guilty of some charges. One defendant was found guilty of firearms charges but acquitted of first-degree murder. A jury found the other defendant of kidnapping and felony murder but acquitted her of first-degree murder. At sentencing, relying on … Read more

United States v. Scott

The Third Circuit ruled that a Hobbs Act robbery is not a crime of violence under the career offender provision of the United States Sentencing Code. To reach that conclusion, the Third Circuit applied “the oft-bedeviling categorical approach” in concluding that Hobbs Act robbery sweeps more broadly than the career offender guideline and therefore does … Read more

United States v. Icker

As a police officer, the defendant used his badge to harass, grope, and force oral sex on several women. He pleaded guilty to depriving individuals of their civil rights under color of law. At sentencing, the District Court judge ordered him to comply with the requirements of SORNA, even though the crimes to which the … Read more

Commonwealth v. Davis

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 … Read more

United States v. Denmark

The Third Circuit held that the spatial proximity between drugs and guns is not necessary to connect the firearms and drug offense under Section 2D1.1(b)(1) of the United States Sentencing Guidelines. In doing so, the Court reiterated that the government must first prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, only that the defendant possessed a … Read more

Commonwealth v. Carr

The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that a sentencing court erred and abused its discretion by imposing unreasonable and inappropriate probation conditions. Appellant pleaded guilty to indecent assault of an adult victim who was deaf. Appellant is deaf and communicates primarily through American Sign Language and interpreters. He was sentenced to two years of probation with … Read more

Commonwealth v. Williams

The Pennsylvania Superior Court begrudgingly vacated the defendant’s illegal sentence. The defendant pleaded guilty to various crimes and was sentenced to two years’ state intermediate punishment (“SIP”) followed by three years’ probation. Less than a year later, the defendant absconded from SIP and remained a fugitive for twenty-two months. On December 18, 2019, the section … Read more

Commonwealth v. Edwards

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court considered whether recklessly endangering another person (REAP) merges with aggravated assault under the merger statute. The defendant drove erratically, striking a car occupied by three people, a plethora of parked cars, and eventually a toddler on his bicycle. Among other charges, he was convicted of REAP and aggravated assault. He received … Read more

United States v. Grant

An en banc panel of the Third Circuit offered its view in the Miller/Montgomery maelstrom. The defendant was convicted of homicide as a juvenile in federal court and was sentenced to the then-mandatory life without the possibility of parole. At resentencing, the defendant received a 65-year sentence. The defendant appealed, claiming that the sentence imposed was a de … Read more

State v. Jacobs

The New Jersey Appellate Division reviewed the defendant’s conviction for violating the terms of his Community Supervision for Life (“CSL”). In 2002, the defendant was convicted of endangering the welfare of a child and thus subject to CSL. At the time, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.4(d) provided that a conviction for violating CSL was a fourth-degree crime. But … Read more