Archive for the ‘Criminal Law’ Category

Foreman & Caraciolo, P.C. Successfully Argues That Statute is Unconstitutional in Franklin County Pennsylvania

In a decision published on April 17, 2014, Judge Carol L. Van Horn of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas has ruled that that 42 Pa.C.S. A. §9712.1(c) related to mandatory minimum periods of incarceration for offenders possessing a firearm in connection with the manufacture or delivery of a  controlled substance is unconstitutional.

Judge Van Horn utilized the Supreme Court of The United States case of Alleyne v. United States (2013) and reviewed recent decisions of the Pennsylvania Superior and Supreme Courts, as well as recent decisions from other Courts of Common Pleas in her well reasoned opinion published below.

Opinion of the Court

Legal Cannabis in Pennsylvania

On January 15, 2014, Senator Folmer introduced Senate bill 1182  providing for the medial use of cannabis in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  (more…)

Foreman & Caraciolo, PC argues against the Constitutionality of Mandatory Minimum’s in Pennsylvania

Following the Supreme Court decision in Alleyne v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2151 (2013), where the Supreme Court of the United States held that Mandatory Minimums were unconstitutional both in denying an accused’s sixth amendment right and being in a violation of due process, State Courts have slowly began to adjust practices involving mandatories. In Franklin County, Pennsylvania, Foreman & Caraciolo, PC is arguing that the practice of enforcing a mandatory minimum so long as a jury slip is utilized is unconstitutional.  The decision of the Franklin County court could have ramifications to the individual defendant of saving up to five years of incarceration, but could also have State wide repercussions as Courts may need to strictly follow the language of Alleyne.  Argument is scheduled for April 3, 2014 in Courtroom four of the Franklin County Courthouse, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

New Law Proposed to Combat Revenge Porn

The Pennsylvania Senate is presently proposing legislation which would amend the Crimes Code to add a provision to address ‘intimate partner harassment’. (more…)

Is Marijuana Legal in Pennsylvania?

Not yet, but a recent proposed Senate Bill seeks to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.  Pennsylvania could join the twenty other states which have legalized medical marijuana.  A full copy of the proposed law can be found here. (more…)

When Can Police Search Your Car?

The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently upheld the suppression of evidence illegally seized from a vehicle, finding that police lacked a warrant or any exception to the warrant requirement to conduct their search. (more…)

Recent Bills Passed by Legislature Seek to Alter Laws Affecting Children

The state legislature recently approved three bills concerning children.  The first, House Bill 726 will redefine “child abuse”.  House Bill 321 alters the laws affecting sentencing in child pornography cases, and House Bill 414 alters custody factors involving past findings of child abuse.  (more…)

Pennsylvania Expands Use of Red Light Cameras to Issue Traffic Tickets

For the past several years, Philadelphia has been the only city in Pennsylvania to install and use red light cameras to issue traffic citations for failing to stop at a red light. However, an amendment to the law last year allowed for its use to expand beyond Philadelphia to other highly populated areas of the Commonwealth. Beginning in early 2014, Abington (a suburb just North of Philadelphia) will be the first community outside of Philadelphia to use this technology. A full article on this can be read here.  The expanded version of the law allows for Pittsburgh and a dozen other communities in four counties (Bucks, Chester, Montgomery and Delaware) to make use of this technology. (more…)

York County Judge Declares Mandatory Sex Offender Registration Requirements Unconstitutional for Juvenile Offenders

As discussed in a previous blog, a recent Supreme Court ruling opened the door for the possibility that Pennsylvania’s update to Megan’s Law: Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA ”) could be unconstitutional as applied to juvenile offenders.   As written currently, the law requires juvenile sex offenders to register for life.  A recent decision by a York County Court of Common Pleas Judge, the Honorable John C. Uhler, declared SORNA unconstitutional as applied to juvenile offenders, both retroactively and prospectively. (more…)

Do I need an attorney for ARD or other first time offender program

Many people who take advantage of our free initial consultation ask, either directly or indirectly, whether it is necessary to have an attorney for a first offense when a “first time offender program” like Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) is offered.   In short, it is always best to have an Attorney by your side when you have any Court appearance and a first time offender program is no different.

Initially, it is very important to have an attorney review your matter as a first time offender program may be inappropriate where a valid factual or legal defense exists.  Many people who think that they were caught “red handed” may not realize that he government has a heavy burden when seizing a person or property and evidence that may seem incriminating can sometimes be suppressed due to improper government action.  An attorney should be able to review the facts and the evidence with you during a free consultation and explain the benefits and disadvantages of proceeding either with a first time offender program like ARD, or defending through pre-trial practice and trial. (more…)