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Criminal Defense Lawyer Zak Goldstein The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has decided the case of Commonwealth v. Johnson, holding that a defendant cannot be tried for a felony case if his traffic offense that arose out of the same criminal transaction was adjudicated. This decision is significant and it could result in hundreds of felony cases being dismissed. As a practical matter, it is unclear on how much of an effect it will have on future cases because…
Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer Zak Goldstein The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has decided the case of Commonwealth v. Mason,  holding that “nanny cams” do not violate the Pennsylvania Wiretap Act (“Wiretap Act”). This decision is significant because so many parents utilize these cameras when they employ caretakers to watch their children. Therefore, these caretakers should be mindful of this and understand that they will not be able to rely on the stringent protections of the Wiretap Act to…
Criminal Defense Lawyer Zak Goldstein The Superior Court has decided the case of Commonwealth v. Arrington, holding that a defendant can be found guilty of committing the crime of conspiracy to commit involuntary manslaughter. The court reached this conclusion despite conspiracy being a specific intent crime. The decision makes no sense – involuntary manslaughter is an unintended homicide. Conspiracy requires an agreement to commit a particular crime. Thus, conspiracy to commit an involuntary manslaughter requires an agreement…
Criminal Defense Lawyer Zak Goldstein The Superior Court has decided the case of Commonwealth v. Grooms, holding that the smell of marijuana alone does not establish probable cause to search a parked automobile. This decision is significant because it adds to a growing list of appellate decisions that restrict the police’s authority to search a person’s property because the police smelled the odor of marijuana. Hopefully, this trend persists and the Superior Court continues producing opinions similar…
Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer Zak Goldstein Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer Zak T. Goldstein, Esquire, recently won the full dismissal of first-degree murder charges in the case of Commonwealth v. DH. Prosecutors had charged DH with first degree murder, conspiracy, and firearms charges for a shooting incident which occurred in Philadelphia. The incident resulted in the death of one man and injuries to a surviving complainant. DH retained Attorney Goldstein immediately upon learning that there were charges pending.…
Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer Zak Goldstein The Pennsylvania Superior Court has decided the case of Reitz v. Flower, holding that a defendant may not be convicted of indirect criminal contempt based on conduct that was not specifically charged in the criminal complaint. The holding here should have been obvious – a criminal defense has the right to know what they’re accused of doing so that they can prepare a defense. But courts often allow variances from the…
Criminal Defense Attorney Zak Goldstein The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has decided the case of Commonwealth v. Montalvo, holding that defense counsel was ineffective for failing to object to improper jury instructions on the definition of reasonable doubt. This decision is significant because it shows how important jury instructions are in a trial. Judges are required to properly instruct jurors on the relevant legal principles, and therefore, if they misstate the law, it can have disastrous consequences for…
Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer Zak Goldstein The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has decided the case of United States v. Davis, holding that a defendant failed to prove that he had been entrapped when he willingly engaged with an agent, posing as a child, to meet and engage in sexual activity. Further, the Third Circuit held that an agent can be tenacious in their conversations with a defendant without entrapping them. Although this defendant did not win…
Criminal Defense Lawyer Zak Goldstein The Pennsylvania Superior Court has decided the case of Commonwealth v. Donoughe. This decision reaffirms established law that states a defendant must make a showing that the police acted in bad faith when they destroy “potentially useful” evidence. This decision is obviously frustrating given that we, as a society, should expect that the Commonwealth should keep and maintain all evidence that is gathered during a case. Unfortunately, as Donoughe shows, that is not…
Criminal Defense Lawyer Zak Goldstein The Pennsylvania Superior Court has decided the case of Commonwealth v. Lambert, holding that the Commonwealth bears the burden of ensuring that a recording or transcript is created at the preliminary hearing. If the Commonwealth fails to do so, then an entire case could be dismissed pursuant to a defendant’s motion to quash (also called a petition for writ of habeas corpus in most suburban counties). This case should…