Generally, in Pennsylvania constables are used to serve court papers and engage in other miscellaneous law enforcement activities. A constable is elected to office but must become state certified prior to engaging in the full realm of authorized activities. Like anyone else, constables will have to retain a criminal defense attorney and defend any criminal charges brought against them.
What happens to the criminal justice system when it is the prosecutor himself who is arrested and charged with crime? This is the question being pondered in Mercer County where District Attorney Miles Karson has been charged with 17 misdemeanor crimes by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office. To be sure, even a prosecutor must obtain counsel and present a criminal defense to the charges just like anyone else in that situation.
Arrests for marijuana possession in Pennsylvania were up by 33 percent between 2010 and 2016, according to a report issued by the American Civil Liberties Union. The law enforcement trend in the state disproportionately targeted African-Americans, who are now eight times more likely to be arrested for possession than whites, even though usage of the drug is similar among persons of different races. The study has resulted in calls from various officials and some criminal defense attorneys for legalization of the drug.
Most people are understandably nervous about guns and ammunition after the many mass shootings that have plagued the country in the past few years. It was therefore a given that a college student who is accused of displaying a gun recently inside a Pennsylvania college and saying that he was upset, would be immediately confronted by authorities and arrested on gun charges. When the police searched his truck, they say that they found 200 rounds of ammunition and a disassembled semi-automatic rifle in the vehicle. Despite the incriminating sound of the reported facts, he may nonetheless have at least a chance to present a criminal defense to one or more of the charges.
When a parent defies a family law custody order in Pennsylvania and leaves the state with the child, the parent becomes a fugitive from both federal and state charges. The federal authorities will usually act to track the fugitive parent and return him or her to the location of the original custody order. Criminal defense counsel may develop some viable defenses to the charges when the parent is returned to the Commonwealth for prosecution.
Too many drivers in Allegheny County have convictions on their driving records because of errors on two of the state's most common breathalyzer tests, the Intoxilyzer 8000.
Some people save their rage for the wrong things. That would have to be true about a Pennsylvania man who must present a criminal defense to charges arising from an alleged outburst recently in a Wendy's restaurant. Police say that, after complaining that there were not enough cucumbers in his salad, he threw his food at an employee and made a threat.
Pennsylvania like other states is plagued with occasional instances of serious violence emanating from incidents of road rage. When an innocent life is lost because of senseless road rage, the alleged perpetrator will potentially face the maximum penalties available under law. Nonetheless, even when such reprehensible acts are proved to be true, the accused is entitled to be represented by a competent criminal defense lawyer and to be given all the rights of anyone accused of serious crime.
Lawmakers on the lookout for new ways to fight crime may feel compelled to support proposals that promise sweeping protections for society. In Pennsylvania, a bill has just moved to the Senate after the House approved it with a 157 to 32 vote. Writers of the bill expect the new law to reduce violent crime and protect the innocent from false accusations. However, some criminal defense and civil rights advocates feel the bill goes too far.
Marijuana laws have been gradually changing in states across the country, and Pennsylvania is now among 29 states, along with Washington, D.C., to legalize medical marijuana.