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

The House and Senate have budget hearings for the next three weeks. The House has a nonvoting session on March 14. Regular sessions resume on April 4.

On March 8, the Senate, by a vote of 43-4, approved Senate Bill 273, which would expand the right to use deadly force in self-defense to porches, patios and vehicles. The bill is known as the “Castle doctrine.” The bill was introduced by Senator Richard Alloway (R-Adams, Franklin, York). Voting no were four Philadephia Democrats—Larry Farnese, Tina Tartaglione, Vincent Hughes and Shirley Kitchen. Senator Michael Stack voted yes. Senator Leanna Washington did not vote. The bill was sent to the House Judiciary Committee. A companion bill, House Bill 40 (Perry-R-Cumberland) had second consideration on March 9 and was recommitted to the House Appropriations Committee.

At least three measures have been introduced to expand DNA testing of persons charged with serious crimes. Presently, the law requires DNA testing of persons convicted of serious crimes. The bills are S.B. 754 introduced by Senator Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware and Chester, SB 774 introduced by Senator Lisa Boscolo, D-Lehigh, Monroe and Northampton, H.B. 713 introduced by Representative Dennis O’Brien, R-Philadelphia. The bills are in the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. The Senate Judiciary Committee took testimony on SB 754 on March 18 in Philadelphia.

Free legal research available on State and Federal court appointed cases from the Student Research Center. http://www.philadelphiabar.org/page/CJResearch?appNum=4

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