Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

1309 Posts and Counting

Enhanced Penalty for Refusing Blood Sample in DUI Arrest in Pa. is illegal following Birchfield v North Dakota.

No. 1,309 COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA v. MARIO GIRON, SUPERIOR COURT, NO. 1300 EDA 2016, FILED JANUARY 31, 2017 “Appellant, Mario Giron, appeals from the judgment of sentence entered on April 15, 2016. In this case, we hold that, pursuant to Birchfield v. North Dakota, 136 S.Ct. 2160 (2016),[1] a defendant who refuses to provide a blood sample when […]

Rental Properties in Pennsylvania are Required to Have Operating Carbon Monoxide Detectors

No. 1,260   Carbon Monoxide Alarm Standards Act 35 P.S. § 7221 – 7227 (Current through 12/18/2013) (When referring to section numbers, use the last digit of each section. For example, 25 P.S. §7222 might be referred to as Section 2 of the Act) TABLE OF CONTENTS Short title Definitions Administration Carbon monoxide alarm requirements […]

Once You Walk Out Your Front Door, Don’t Expect Privacy

No. 1,234 Summary:  Don’t expect privacy anywhere. The ABA Journal Blog reports that the Feds were bugging the area around the front steps of a courthouse.  It seems that lawyers would tell their clients to wait until after leaving the courthouse to talk about their case.  So, they would stand and talk just outside the […]

Is it Unconstitutional to Make Sleeping in Public a Crime?

No. 1,201 Here’s a very interesting article from Jurist, the Pitt Law School publication that follows legal news around the world. The Justice Department is attacking a Boise City ordinance that prohibits slewing in public.  Since everybody has to sleep, it is argued, this makes it a crime to be homeless.  The article gives a […]

Criminal Defendant Invoked Miranda Too Early Says Pa. Supreme Ct.

“Did Superior Court err by suppressing a confession that respondent gave after receiving Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1964), warnings because, six days prior to any police questioning, while in custody in another jurisdiction, he had signed a form anticipatorily declining to be interviewed?”

Where Did Anybody Ever Get the Idea that Possession is 9/10 of the Law?

The other day I answered a question on AVVO Answers. This individual had had a big fight with his sister and she had “disowned” him. He wanted to know if he could keep the property she had stored in his attic. After all, he said, possession is 9/10 of the law.

Is Fantasy Football Illegal Gambling in Pennsylvania?

The question is, does this constitute illegal gambling? In Pennsylvania, probably not.

Federal Hate Crime Statute Requires “But For” Analysis of Motive — The Amish Beard Cutting Case.

The central issue at trial was whether the defendants committed the assaults “because of” the religion of the victims. 18 U.S.C. § 249(a)(2)(A). In instructing the jury on this point, the district court rejected the defendants’ proposed instruction (that the faith of the victims must be a “but for” cause of the assaults) and adopted the government’s proposed instruction (that the faith of the victims must be a “significant factor” in motivating the assaults). Regrettably for all concerned, a case decided after this trial confirms that the court should have given a but-for instruction on causation in the context of this criminal trial. Burrage v. United States, 134 S. Ct. 881, 887–89 (2014). Because this error was not harmless, and indeed went to the central factual debate at trial, we must reverse these convictions. ”

Former Justice Orie Melvin Not Required To Endure Humiliation, Handcuffed Pictures Stricken from Sentence By Superior Court.

The Superior Court affirmed the sentence of Joan Orie Melvin with one important change. She is not being required to endure the humiliation of being exhibited in a photograph of her in handcuffs after the trial. The Court held that this was an unnecessary humiliation.

PA Child Protective Services Law Has Undergone Comprehensive Changes Since Sandusky.

More than 70 laws have been enacted in Pennsylvania as a result of the Sandusky case at Penn State, says Joyce A. Hatfield-Wise, Solicitor of the Washington County Children and Youth Services.

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CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 40 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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