Commonwealth v. Aulisio

The Pennsylvania Superior Court dealt with a juvenile-lifer resentencing under Montgomery/Miller. Here, the juvenile-lifer received two consecutive sentences of 30 years to life. He argued the sentence was illegal because it was a de facto life sentence. Based in large part on its prior holding in Commonwealth v. Foust, the Court affirmed the sentences. The … Read more

United States v. Murphy

The Third Circuit revisited its recent opinion in United States v. Easter and the First Step Act. First, the Third Circuit joined the Eleventh Circuit in holding that, under the Act, sentencing courts are “bound by a previous finding of drug quantity that could have been used to determine the movant’s statutory penalty at the … Read more

Commonwealth v. Herrin

The Commonwealth appealed from the trial court’s order making Herrin Boot Camp eligible. The Pennsylvania Superior Court held that the trial court correctly concluded that Herrin’s convictions (homicide by vehicle while driving under influence and accidents involving death or personal injury), criminal record, and age did not disqualify him from Boot Camp eligibility. Furthermore, Herrin’s … Read more

Commonwealth v. Crawford

In Commonwealth v. Crawford, the defendant appealed his convictions of numerous fraud-related charges in three consolidated cases. Essentially, he was found guilty of lying about his status as a military veteran to join and defraud an American Legion post. On appeal, the defendant argued that the offense of misrepresenting veteran status is unconstitutional, that the … Read more

Commonwealth v. Rojas-Rolon

In Commonwealth v. Rojas-Rolon, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that the defendant’s convictions for PWID and related charges were supported by sufficient evidence because the Commonwealth proved that he constructively possessed contraband recovered from a vehicle. The Court then rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court imposed an illegal sentence by imposing court costs … Read more

State v. Bellamy

In State v. Bellamy, the New Jersey Appellate Division dealt with several issues related to the resentencing of a defendant. First, the Court held that a resentencing upon remand should be conducted de novo unless the appellate court explicitly orders otherwise. Second, the Court ruled that the sentencing court should have considered the newest mitigating factor under N.J.S.A. … Read more

State v. Torres

Do you practice criminal law in NJ? If so, read State v. Torres, where the New Jersey Supreme Court considered the imposition of an aggregate seventy-year sentence, subject to an eighty-five percent parole disqualifier, for the defendant’s role in five robberies. The Court ruled that an explicit statement explaining the overall fairness of a sentence … Read more

Commonwealth v. Finnecy

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court revisited the Recidivism Risk Reduction Act (“RRRI”), 61 Pa.C.S. §§ 4501-4512, in Commonwealth v. Finnecy. At the outset, the parties perhaps should have hired the professional ghostwriters at Sullivan | Simon, as the Supreme Court started its analysis by noting “both parties’ arguments are rather poor[.]” Ouch. First, the Court ruled … Read more

Commonwealth v. Speight

In 2017, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied the defendant’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus as to the guilt phase of his state criminal trial but granted relief with respect to his death sentence and remanded the case for resentencing. The District Court granted this relief only … Read more

Commonwealth v. Eid

Commonwealth v. Eid presented the Pennsylvania Supreme Court with constitutional challenges to the Vehicle Code’s enhancement of sentences for those who refuse chemical testing after driving under a suspended license. The Court concluded that the evidence was sufficient to sustain the defendant’s conviction for refusing to submit to a warrantless breath test, which, unlike a … Read more