That’s hearsay!

Chances are we’ve all heard someone say, “That’s hearsay!”  Perhaps we’re guilty ourselves of expressing an opinion on the matter.  But frequently what “hearsay” really is is misunderstood—even by some lawyers. Hearsay has a specific meaning in the law.  You might call it a “term of art.”  Generally, hearsay is defined as an out-of-court statement offered in court to prove … Read More

The Statute of Limitations for Criminal Offenses

Most have heard of the term “statute of limitations.”  And probably when most people think of the term they jokingly associate it with the thought of how much time they must pass before being cleared of responsibility for their actions. That’s the general concept of the statute of limitations: it’s a legal timer —a running clock if you will—that sets … Read More

“What am I looking at?” The question of sentencing.

  When I meet clients facing criminal charges, the number one question I almost always get is: “What am I looking at?” Sentencing is the pressing question on the minds of any person accused of committing a crime, and that is for good reason because the criminal law has the potential to affect a person’s freedom. In Pennsylvania, our courts … Read More

Character Evidence: Not to be taken lightly

“‘Evidence of good character is substantive and positive evidence, not a mere make weight to be considered in a doubtful case, and, . . . is an independent factor which may of itself engender reasonable doubt or produce a conclusion of innocence.’” Commonwealth v. Luther, 463 A.2d 1073 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1983). Character evidence: it’s powerful stuff.  Too often criminal … Read More

Jury bias sees the light of day

The verdict has come down.  Guilty!  The accused is in disbelief.  The question arises: why did the jury decide this way?  How can this be? As is typical, defense counsel speaks to the jury afterward.  Some jurors stay behind to discuss the case while others go on their way.  But of those who stick around some reveal heart-sickening details: another … Read More