United States v. Davis

In United States v. Davis, the defendant answered an ad on Craigslist.com looking for casual sex. Unfortunately, the “wild child” he responded to was actually a police officer engaged in a sting operation. On appeal, the defendant claimed that the evidence was insufficient to convict because he believed he bought condoms and subsequently traveled across … Read more

Commonwealth v. Given

The Superior Court began the opinion in Commonwealth v. Given by letting the appellant know all the ways in which he waived his claims and filed a bad brief. But the Court sua sponte addressed a sentencing issue. The appellant was convicted of two counts of DUI, one count for having marijuana in his bloodstream, … Read more

Commonwealth v. Lehman

This case involved two juvenile lifers who were recently resentenced to a term of life with the possibility of parole. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Commonwealth v. Lehman did not address whether those sentences were proper. Instead, the issue was costs. At the resentencing hearings, the Commonwealth called expert witnesses. In one of the consolidated … Read more

United States v. Hart

The Third Circuit ran into a novel issue surrounding the First Step Act in United States v. Hart. The Act was passed in 2018, and it made retroactive certain reductions in mandatory-minimum sentences that were passed into law in 2012. Under the Act, eligible prisoners could petition to reduce their sentences per the 2012 reductions. … Read more

Commonwealth v. Reslink

In Commonwealth v. Reslink, the defendant appealed his sentence after he was convicted of molesting his nephew. The Superior Court held that the trial court did not err when, at sentencing, the court did not merge two counts of indecent assault. The Court found that one count was based on a course of conduct, while … Read more

United States v. Nasir

A fractured en banc panel of the 3rd Circuit issued two important holdings in United States v. Nasir, but not before issuing four separate opinions totaling 125 pages. Easily, by comparison, the panel ruled that the comments to the Sentencing Guidelines are no longer entitled to Seminole Rock deference or Auer deference in light of … Read more

State v. Steingraber

In State v. Steingraber, the State appealed the lower court’s grant of PCR relief. The lower court ruled that the sentencing court’s imposition of parole supervision for life (PSL)–in the absence of a motion by the prosecutor as required under the PSL statute–constituted an illegal sentence. The Appellate Division reversed, holding that the defendant’s sentence … Read more

Commonwealth v. Derrickson

In Commonwealth v. Derrickson, the Superior Court addressed claims made by a juvenile who had been serving life in prison without the possibility of parole. After he was re-sentenced to 30-years-to-life, Derrickson appealed. Among his novel arguments were: (1) that a mandatory life sentence — even with the possibility of parole — was cruel and … Read more

United States v. Brito

In United States Brito, the 3rd Circuit held that the District Court committed plain error when the lower court misstated Brito’s Criminal History. The sentencing judge said that Brito had three prior deportations. He did not; he only had two. The 3rd Circuit found that the error went to the core of Brito’s claim for … Read more

Commonwealth v. Lynch

In Commonwealth v. Lynch, the defendant appealed his convictions of possession with the intent to deliver and related offenses. Lynch raised several sentencing issues, made two arguments against the admission of a recorded phone call, and challenged the sufficiency as well as the weight of the evidence. The Superior Court affirmed.