LexisNexis Practice Guide: Pennsylvania Criminal Law

This publication is a practical guide to the practice and procedure of Pennsylvania criminal law, primarily geared toward the defense.

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Print Book :1 Volume, Softbound, Updated Annually
2018 Edition
ISBN: 9781522159988
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2018 Edition
ISBN: 9781522159995
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2018 Edition
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Topically organized, this practice guide covers the entire process of a criminal trial in Pennsylvania, from the initial representation of a client through sentencing and post-sentencing procedures and much more. Each chapter combines authoritative legal analysis with an expert author's practical insights, distilled from 25+ years of experience working in the Public Defender's Office of Cumberland County. Includes helpful Practice Tips that transition smoothly from legal analysis to practical application of a point of law.

Authors / Contributors

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Jurisdiction and Venue

I. Jurisdiction

A. Introduction

B. Case Law Overview

C. Single Criminal Episode

D. Special Situations

II. Venue

A. Introduction: Pa.R.Crim.P. 130

B. Charges in More than One Magisterial District

C. Proceedings before Issuing Authority: Pa.R.Crim.P. 131

D. Objections to Venue

E. Procedures for Transferring Charges before the Preliminary Hearing

F. Change of Venue or Venire

Chapter 2: Bail

I. Introduction

A. Constitutional Foundation

B. Statutory Right to Bail

C. Drug Cases

D. First and Second Degree Murder

E. Bail Inapplicable to Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA)

II. Bail Before Finding of Guilt

III. Bail After Finding of Guilt

A. Pa.R.Crim.P. 521

B. Release Criteria

C. Types of Release

D. Bail Bond

E. Conditions of Bail Bond

F. Additional Nonmonetary Conditions of Bail

G. Monetary Conditions of Bail

H. Modification of Bail Before Verdict

I. Duties and Powers of Bail Agency

J. Qualifications of Surety

K. Substitution of Surety

L. Increased Amount of Monetary Conditions of Bail

M. Obligation of Duration

N. Return or Retention of Deposit

O. Procedures for Bail Violation

Chapter 3: Preliminary Hearings

I. Introduction

II. Standard of Evidence

III. Timing

IV. Waiver of Hearing

V. Conduct of Preliminary Hearing

VI. Continuances

VII. Summary Offenses

VIII. Appearance or Non-Appearance

IX. After the Hearing

Chapter 4: Arraignment

I. Introduction

II. Foundational Rule

III. Requirements at Formal Arraignment

Chapter 5: Bill of Particulars and Discovery

I. Key Rules

II. Key Cases

III. Bill of Particulars: Overview

IV. Pa.R. Crim.P. 573: Overview

A. Introduction

B. Content of the Rule

V. Witness Statements and Admissions

VI. Identification

VII. Scientific Tests and Expert Opinions

VIII. Tangible Objects

IX. Coroners and Autopsy Reports

X. Exculpatory Evidence and Brady v. Maryland

A. Types of Exculpatory Evidence

B. Plea Deals with Witness or Co-Defendants

C. Criminal Records of Witnesses

XI. Identification

XII. Possession or Control of Commonwealth

XIII. Discretionary Discovery

XIV. Eyewitness Information

XV. Witness Statements

XVI. Experts

XVII. Disclosure by Defendant

XVIII. Alibi Notice

XIX. Discretionary Discovery from the Defense

XX. The Continuing Duty to Disclose

XXI. Remedies

XXII. Pretrial Motions and Discovery

XXIII. Identity of the Informant

Chapter 6: Discovery

I. Introduction: Pa.R.Crim.P. 573

II. Brady Material

III. Discretionary Discovery

A. Eyewitnesses

B. Eyewitness Statements

C. Alibi

IV. Insanity or Mental Infirmity

V. Discovery of Material of Third Party

VI. Sanctions for Failure to Provide Discovery

Chapter 7: Omnibus Pretrial Motions

I. Introduction

II. Timeliness and Filing the Motion

A. Timeliness

B. Filing and Service

III. After the Motion is Filed

IV. Contents of the Omnibus Motion

V. Disposition of Motion

Chapter 8: Search Warrants

I. Background

II. Rules Governing Search Warrants

A. Authority to Issue a Search Warrant

B. What May be Searched for and Seized?

C. Approval of District Attorney May Be Required

D. Probable Cause Standard Applies

E. Specifics of the Search Warrant

F. Recordkeeping Requirements

G. Contents of Warrant

H. Executing the Warrant

I. Defendant Entitled to Copy of Warrant

J. Inventory and Recordkeeping

K. Sealing of Search Warrants

Chapter 9: Privileges

I. Introduction

II. Rape Shield Law

III. Spousal Competency

A. Spouses as Witnesses Against Each Other

B. Confidential Communications Between Spouses

Chapter 10: Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) and Other Alternative Dispositions

I. Key Rules

II. Key Cases

III. Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD): Overview

IV. Summary Offenses and ARD

V. Court Cases and ARD

VI. Successful Completion of the ARD Program

VII. Discretion of Prosecutor

VIII. Constitutionality

IX. ARD Revocations

X. Other Alternative Dispositions—Sections 17 and 18 of Drug Act

XI. Specialty Courts

Chapter 11: Pleas

I. Introduction

II. Rules Regarding Guilty Pleas

III. Withdrawal of Plea

IV. Cases in Which Courts Considered Presentence Motions to Withdraw a Guilty Plea

V. Waiver of the Right to Withdraw a Guilty Plea is Viewed with Caution

VI. Postsentence Withdrawal of Plea

VII. Guilty Pleas in Court Cases Before Magisterial District Judge

Chapter 12: Sentencing

I. Introduction

II. Basic Sentencing Procedure

III. Sentencing Guidelines

A. History and Overview

B. Prior Record Score (PRS)

C. Basic Scoring

D. Deadly Weapons and Youth/School Enhancement

E. Sentencing Levels

F. Aggravated and Mitigated Range Sentences

G. Economic Sanctions and Community Service

IV. Mandatory Sentences

A. Introduction

B. Examples of Mandatory Minimum Sentences

1. Drug Delivery in School Zone

2. Drug Offense with Firearm

3. Drugs and Weight of Substances

4. Applicability of Mandatory Sentence for Proximity of Gun and Drugs

5. Sexual Offenses Based on Age of Complainant

6. Sentence for Offense Committed against Law Enforcement Officer

7. Mandatory for Recidivist

8. School Zone

9. When Mandatory Sentence Conflicts with Indeterminate Sentencing Scheme

V. Procedures and Appeals

VI. Discretionary Aspects of Sentence: Substantial Question

VII. Legality of Sentence

VIII. Credit

IX. Merger

X. Restitution

XI. Alternatives to Total Incarceration

A. Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive Act (RRRI)

B. County Intermediate Punishment

C. State Intermediate Punishment

XII. Sexual Offender Sentencing

XIII. Sexual Offender Registration

XIV. Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

A. Introduction; Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD)

B. DUI Offenses

1. DUI Elements

2. Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing

C. Grading

D. Sentencing

E. Additional Requirements

Chapter 13: Probation and Parole

I. Introduction

II. Probation and Parole Revocations

A. New Offense

B. Hearings

C. Disposition if Violation Established

D. Court-Imposed Sanctions

III. Requirements for Release on State Parole

A. Victims' Rights

B. Powers of the Parole Board

C. Power Over Persons with Maximum Sentences Under 2 Years and Special Cases

D. Duties of Sentencing Court

E. General Parole Criteria

1. General Criteria for Parole: 61 Pa.C.S. 6134.1

2. Duty of Parole Board to Investigate Circumstances of Offense: 61 Pa.C.S. 6135

3. Access to Inmates: 61 Pa.C.S. 6136

F. Statutory Criteria for Parole

VI. Violations of State Parole

A. 61 Pa.C.S. 6138

B. Cases on Recommitment

V. Obtaining Parole

VI. Parole Agent Powers

VII. Searches by Parole Officers

VIII. Sexual Offender and Parole Conditions

IX. Rescission of Parole

X. County Probation Revocation

Chapter 14: Postsentence Procedures

I. Introduction

II. Collateral Order

III. Basic Postsentence Motion

IV. Bail Pending Appeal

A. After Verdict but Before Sentence

B. After Sentence, while Appeal Pending

V. Responsibility of Counsel

VI. Postsentence Motions Filed by Both Sides

VII. Preservation of Issues

VIII. Rule 1925(B) Statement of Matters Complained Of

IX. Waiver and Pa.R.Crim.P. 1925(B)

Chapter 15: Postconviction Relief Act

I. Introduction

II. The Act

III. Timeliness

IV. Jurisdiction

V. Discovery

VI. Review of Collateral Counsel Effectiveness

VII. Juvenile Lifers

VIII. Dismissal Without Hearing

IX. No Merit—Anders/Turner/Finley

X. Proper Standards

XI. Specific Claims

A. Lack of Stenographer

B. Failure to Award Credit

C. Failure to Inform Client of Mandatory Service

D. Failure to Consider Alleyne Decision

E. Failure to Assert Possible Double Jeopardy after Trial and Hung Jury

F. Failure to Object to Allowing Jurors to Hear Audio Without Attorney or Defendant Present

G. Ability to Hear Voir Dire Questions

H. Failure to Poll Jury—Prejudice Not Assumed

I. Failure to Request Alibi Instruction

J. Lack of Qualified Death Penalty Counsel on Capital Case

K. Failure to Inform Client of Possible Aggregate Sentence

L. Failure to Present Character Evidence

M. Pro Hac Vice

N. Lack of Rule 1925(B) Statement

O. Refusal to File Petition for Allowance of Appeal

P. Lack of Preparation

Q. Collateral Consequences May Be Basis for IAC Claim

XII. Postconviction DNA Testing

Chapter 16: Interstate Agreements on Detainers and Extradition

I. Introduction

II. Interstate Agreements on Detainers

III. Extradition

Chapter 17: Juvenile Law

I. Introduction

II. Jurisdiction and Definitions

III. Delinquent Act and Delinquency

A. Deliquent Act

B. Avoiding Deliquency

C. Disposition of a Deliquent Child

IV. Transfer to Adult Court

V. Transfer from Adult Court to Juvenile Court

VI. Procedures in Juvenile Deliquency Proceedings

A. Commencement of Proceedings

B. Venue

C. Notice of Charges

D. Prompt Detention Hearing

E. Notice to Parties and Parent

F. Right to Compel Attendance of Witnesses

G. Timeliness of Hearing

H. Public Generally Barred From Hearing

I. Other Rights Similar to Adult Court

VII. Disposition

VIII. Consent Decrees

IX. Notice to School

X. Effect of Adjudication

XI. Record Dissemination

XII. Sexual Offenders and Offenses

XIII. Juvenile Lifers

Chapter 18: Forfeiture

I. Overview

II. Property Subject to Forfeiture

III. Terrorism Forfeiture

IV. Procedure

V. Burdens of Proof

VI. Sufficiency of Nexus Between Property and Criminal Activity

VII. Right to Jury

VIII. Motion for Return of Property