A blog of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section

By MATT SCHUDEL, Washington Post, February 28, 2015

Monroe H. Freedman, a law professor who was often credited with establishing the academic field of legal ethics, and whose controversial views once led a future chief justice to call for his disbarment, died Feb. 26 at his home in New York City. He was 86.

The cause was chronic lymphocytic lymphoma, said a granddaughter, Rebecca Izquierdo.

Mr. Freedman became a nationally renowned expert on civil liberties while serving as a law professor at George Washington University from 1958 to 1973 and later at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.

He became even better known for his contributions to the emerging field of ethics, in which he addressed the sometimes conflicting responsibilities of a lawyer toward clients and toward the court.

Click for entire story from Washington Post

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Session schedule

The Governor’s budget address is scheduled for March 3.

Senate

March 2, 3 (Budget Address), 4

April 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22

May 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13

June 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30

House

March 2, 3 (Budget Address), 4, 30, 31

April 1, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22

May 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13

June 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

Bills moving

Sexual Offenders: House Bill 446 (Marsico-R-Dauphin) further providing for probation for certain sexual offenders (sponsor summary) was reported from the House Judiciary Committee and referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

Proof of citizenship: Senate Bill 9 (Stefano-R-Fayette) requiring proof of citizenship to access public services was reported from the Senate Appropriations Committee and was passed by the Senate.  The bill now goes to the House for action.  A summary and Senate Fiscal Note are available.

Criminal record expungement: Senate Bill 166 (Greenleaf-R- Montgomery) further providing for the expungement of criminal history records (Senate Fiscal Note) was passed by the Senate and now goes to the House for consideration.

Public hearings

March 2– House Appropriations Committee meets to consider House Bill 446 (Marsico-R-Dauphin) further providing for probation for certain sexual offenders (sponsor summary).  Room 140.  Off the Floor.

March 2– House Children and Youth Committee informational meeting on family court system and its relationship to children and youth services.  Room 60 East Wing.  11 a.m.

March 3 – Governor’s Budget Address.

March 3– Senate Judiciary Committee meets to consider House Bill 221 (Caltagirone-D- Berks) law enforcement training to recognize individuals suffering mental health problems (House Fiscal Note).

March 17– Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing: 9:30 a.m. Attorney General.  Hearing Room 1 North Office Building.

March 17– House Appropriations Committee budget hearing: 2 p.m.- Departments of Health, Drug & Alcohol Programs.   Room 140 Main Capitol.

March 18– Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing: 9:30 a.m.- Judiciary, 1 p.m.- State Police, Homeland Security, 3 p.m.- Dept. of Drug and Alcohol Programs. Hearing Room 1 North Office Building.

March 18– House Appropriations Committee budget hearing: 9:30 a.m.- State Police/ Homeland Security, 11 a.m.- Dept. Corrections/Board of Probation & Parole, 1:30 p.m.- State Court System.  Room 140 Main Capitol.

March 25– Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing: 1 p.m.- Dept. of Corrections, Office of Probation and Parole. Hearing Room 1 North Office Building.

Sentencing Commission meets March 18-19

Commission On Sentencing meeting.  PA Judicial Center.  (formal notice and detailed schedule)

(Source:  Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest)

PA Supreme Court to operate with two vacancies through 2015

Click for report from pennlive.com

House Bill 18 would broaden crimes for which public officials would forfeit state pensions

Click for report from triblive.com

Click for House Bill 18

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By SARI HORWITZ, Washington Post, February 28, 2015

A massive influx of applications from prisoners and a complicated review process have slowed the Obama administration’s highly touted initiative to grant clemency to nonviolent offenders, shifting the burden to an army of pro bono lawyers and specialists willing to help.

Just over a year after the administration unveiled its initiative, President Obama has commuted the sentences of eight prisoners, all of whose applications had already been submitted at the time of the announcement. In the meantime, more than 35,000 inmates — about 16 percent of the federal prison population — have applied to have their sentences shortened under the Justice Department-led initiative.

In an unusual arrangement, the department has sought to deal with the deluge by encouraging outside lawyers to help identify candidates for earlier release and to represent them. Prisoner applications are being reviewed by more than 1,000 attorneys at 323 law firms and organizations nationwide.

“We have created what very well may be the largest, most ambitious pro-bono effort in the history of the legal profession,” said Norman L. Reimer, executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, one of the four groups that make up what is known as the Clemency Project 2014.

Reimer, detailing the group’s efforts for the first time, said it spent all of 2014 “gearing up” and was hopeful the process would be accelerated soon.

Click for entire report from Washington Post

imgresDemocrats endorse Judges Dougherty and Wecht for Supreme Court

The Democratic State Committee Saturday endorsed Common Pleas Court Judge Kevin Dougherty of Philadelphia County and Superior Court Judge David Wecht of Allegheny County for election to two of the three vacancies on the Supreme Court.  The Democratic State Committee did not endorse a candidate for the third seat.

Session schedule

Senate

February 23, 24, 25

March 2, 3 (Budget Address), 4

April 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22

May 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13

June 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30

House

February 23, 24, 25, 26, 27

March 2, 3 (Budget Address), 4, 30, 31

April 1, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22

May 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13

June 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

Bills moving

Judicial Retirement Age: House Bill 89 (Harper-R-Montgomery) constitutional amendment raising the retirement age for judges from 70 to 75 (a summary and House Fiscal Note are available) and House Bill 90 (Harper-R-Montgomery) raising the retirement age for judges from 70 to 75 (a summary and House Fiscal Note are available) were reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and are now on the Senate Calendar for action.

Community Service: Senate Bill 130 (Gordner-R-Columbia) further providing for community service sentencing (sponsor summary) was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action.

Criminal Records: Senate Bill 166 (Greenleaf-R- Montgomery) further providing for the expungement of criminal history records was reported from the Senate Appropriations Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action.  A summary and Senate Fiscal Note are available.

Bill Calendar

Senate (February 23):  Senate Bill 130 (Gordner-R-Columbia) further providing for community service sentencing (sponsor summary); Senate Bill 166 (Greenleaf-R- Montgomery) further providing for the expungement of criminal history records (Senate Fiscal Note);  House Bill 89 (Harper-R-Montgomery) constitutional amendment raising the retirement age for judges from 70 to 75 (House Fiscal Note) and House Bill 90 (Harper-R-Montgomery) raising the retirement age for judges from 70 to 75 (House Fiscal Note).

Public hearings

February 24– NEW. House Judiciary Committee meets to consider House Bill 446 (Marsico-R-Dauphin) further providing for probation for certain sexual offenders (sponsor summary).  Room 140. 10 a.m..

February 24– NEW. House State Government Committee meets to consider House Bill 143 (Petri-R-Bucks) providing for the confidentiality of personal information of public safety officials (sponsor summary).  Room 205 Ryan Building. 10 a.m..

February 24– NEW. Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee meets to consider Senate Bill 352 (Vogel-R-Beaver) making changes in penalties, oversight and tax structure to fund regulatory oversight and drug testing (sponsor summary).  Room 461. 10 a.m..

February 24– CANCELED. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on collateral consequences of being convicted of a crime.

February 25– Senate State Government Committee holds a hearing on medical cannabis.  Hearing Room 1, North Office Building. 9:00 a.m.

March 10– House Appropriations Committee budget hearing: 1 p.m.- Attorney General

March 17– Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing: 9:30 a.m.- Attorney General

March 17– House Appropriations Committee budget hearing:  2 p.m.- Departments of Health, Drug & Alcohol Programs

March 18– Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing: 9:30 a.m.- Judiciary, 1 p.m.- State Police, Homeland Security, 3 p.m.- Dept. of Drug and Alcohol Programs

March 18– House Appropriations Committee budget hearing: 9:30- State Police/ Homeland Security, 11:00- Dept. Corrections/Board of Probation & Parole, 1:30- State Court System

March 25– Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing: 1 p.m.- Dept. of Corrections, Office of Probation and Parole

(Source:  Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest)

violet oakle

By Burt Rose

Click for Opinion

Click for Dissenting Opinion

In COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellant v. Dreama Marie STOTELMYER, Appellee, No. 73 MAP 2013, 2015 WL 668038(Feb. 17, 2015), the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that a defendant is not statutorily eligible, within the meaning of 42 Pa.C.S. § 9802, to receive a county intermediate punishment sentence when a mandatory minimum sentence for PWID applies under 18 Pa.C.S. § 7508.

The Court stated:

Therefore, we hold the Superior Court erred in concluding 42 Pa.C.S. § 9763(which relates to sentences of county intermediate punishment) authorized imposition of a county intermediate sentence for appellee’s PWID conviction.Section 7508 provides for a mandatory minimum sentence which, absent a specific statutory provision to the contrary, must be imposed. As county intermediate punishment was not authorized here, appellee was not eligible for any sentence other than the mandatory minimum.

The Supreme Court thus reversed the decision of the Superior Court. 566 MDA 2012, 69 A.3d 1296 (March 19, 2013), which affirmed the order of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, CP–28–CR–0000410–2011.

The Justices were Eakin (who wrote the Opinion), Baer, and Stevens. Justices Saylor and Todd dissented.

seal_colorBy Burt Rose

In an appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division, CP–51–CR–0008834–2009, COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania v. Norman C. JACKSON, Appellant, No. 1559 EDA 2013, 2015 WL 659572, 2015 PA Super 33 (Feb. 17, 2015), a Panel of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania has held that the offenses of statutory sexual assault under section 3122.1 and rape under section 3121 do not merge for sentencing purposes. The Judges were GANTMAN, PANELLA and STABILE.

cagney

By Burt Rose

Click for Opinion

A panel of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania has issued a decision in the matter of COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellant v. Rahiem Cardel FANT, Appellee, No. 386 MDA 2014, 2015 WL 528045, 2015 PA Super 28 (Feb. 9, 2015). This was a Commonwealth appeal from a suppression order of the Court of Common Pleas of Clinton County, Criminal Division, CP–18–CR–0000415–2013. The Judges were BOWES, OTT, and STABILE.

At issue were recordings of conversations that took place between Appellee inmate and visitors in the facility’s visitation room and whether the recorded calls were “telephone calls” under § 5704(14) the Pennsylvania Wiretap Act,18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5704(14), which provides, in pertinent part, that:

It shall not be unlawful and no prior court approval shall be required under this chapter for: …

(14) An investigative officer, a law enforcement officer or employees of a county correctional facility to intercept, record, monitor or divulge any telephone calls from or to an inmate in a facility under the following conditions:

(i) The county correctional facility shall adhere to the following procedures and restrictions when intercepting, recording, monitoring or divulging any telephone calls from or to an inmate in a county correctional facility as provided for by this paragraph:

(A) Before the implementation of this paragraph, all inmates of the facility shall be notified in writing that, as of the effective date of this paragraph, their telephone conversations may be intercepted, recorded, monitored or divulged.

(B) Unless otherwise provided for in this paragraph, after intercepting or recording a telephone conversation, only the superintendent, warden or a designee of the superintendent or warden or other chief administrative official or his or her designee, or law enforcement officers shall have access to that recording.

(C) The contents of an intercepted and recorded telephone conversation shall be divulged only as is necessary to safeguard the orderly operation of the facility, in response to a court order or in the prosecution or investigation of any crime.

The Appellee challenged the anticipated use of the recordings at trial based on the alleged failure of officials at the facility to follow the process and regulations outlined in the Pennsylvania Wiretap Act with respect to these recordings. The trial court granted Appellee’s suppression motion and prohibited the introduction of recordings made during Appellee’s visitation sessions at the Clinton County Correctional Facility as well as the introduction of personal belongings discovered as a result of the recordings. That court ruled that the “visit” conversations were not telephone calls and were not subject to the Wiretap exception under § 5704(14).

However, the record showed that the inmate had to sign a form that included an acknowledgement that telephone calls are subject to monitoring, recording and interception including visitation calls within the facility for face-to-face visits using a telephone to communicate with his visitors through a glass partition. The recordings in question here were from visitation calls within the facility during face-to-face visits.

The Panel ruled that the recorded telephone “visit” conversations were subject to the exception set forth in § 5704(14) of the Wiretap Act. Therefore, the Court reversed the trial court’s order suppressing the recorded conversations as well as the evidence obtained as a result of those conversations.

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