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Author Archives: Jay Butchko

DrugFreeZone2

Seven Philadelphia Defendants Could Face Life In Prison For Selling Drugs Near Middle School

By Gary E. Gerson |

It isn’t just fear mongering when people tell you that you can get life in prison for drug crimes, but context is everything.  No one gets a life sentence just for carrying a baggie with two oxycodone pills in their backpack.  For the truly draconian sentences to apply in crimes that do not involve… Read More »

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ChemLab2

Pennsylvania Drops Charges Against Defendant Because Of Substandard Work By Forensics Laboratory

By Gary E. Gerson |

In many criminal cases, the prosecution bases its case on forensic evidence, such as illegal drugs or weapons recovered from a defendant’s car or DNA evidence showing that the defendant or an item that the defendant had touched was present at the crime scene.  Sometimes the prosecution summons expert witnesses to interpret the evidence… Read More »

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JuryBox

Bench Trials In Pennsylvania Criminal Cases

By Gary E. Gerson |

Criminal defense lawyers often try to reassure defendants during their initial meetings that prosecutors face a difficult task.  The jury cannot convict the defendant unless all 12 jurors are completely sure that the defendant is guilty.  Therefore, your defense strategy can be anything that would cause the jurors to doubt your guilt.  In some… Read More »

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MirandaWarning

68 Years Of Miranda Vs. Arizona

By Gary E. Gerson |

Until the 1960s, most Americans did not think much about the Fifth Amendment, unless they were law students or criminal defense lawyers.  The right to avoid self-incrimination sounds like an abstract concept until you are in a situation where it can make or break your criminal case.  What would the world be like if… Read More »

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Injection3

Pittsburgh Area Doctor Pleads Guilty To Healthcare Fraud After Alleged Improper Prescribing Of Steroid Injections And Opioid Painkillers

By Gary E. Gerson |

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines about prescribing opioid painkillers.  The new guidelines give more freedom to doctors to use their judgment about the most appropriate dosage and duration for each course of opioids they prescribe.  This change is an effort to correct the negative consequences… Read More »

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WheelchairBus

Philadelphia Ecommerce Vendor Faces Fraud Charges For Alleged Scam Involving Wheelchair Accessible Cars

By Gary E. Gerson |

Ecommerce makes it easier and cheaper to buy almost anything than it used to be when you had to go to physical stores or wait for coupons to arrive with the day’s newspaper before you could compare prices.  It also presents economic opportunities for people from all walks of life.  Family caregiving obligations and… Read More »

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PoliceFrisk

Probable Cause And Terry Stops

By Gary E. Gerson |

The state does not have the right to incarcerate you unless you have been convicted of a crime, and yet it is possible for police to arrest you and detain you until your probable cause hearing.  You cannot be convicted of a crime unless 12 jurors find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and… Read More »

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PickPocket

Even Small Criminal Cases Are Worth Fighting

By Gary E. Gerson |

If you have never struggled with addiction, then the memoirs of a recovering addict during his or her days of using read like an adventure story.  The protagonist communicates with drug dealers in euphemisms; they wait for just the right moment to hand over the drugs.  No one is sure who to trust.  The… Read More »

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ShopOwnerBar

Pub Owner Who Appealed Assault Conviction Gets New Trial

By Gary E. Gerson |

The “no double jeopardy” rule means that the state cannot try you twice for the same offense, but exactly what counts as being tried twice?  If the jury returns a not guilty verdict, then that verdict is final, even if the state later discovers additional evidence that it could have used against you at… Read More »

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DNAEvidence

Is DNA Evidence Valid In Burglary Cases?

By Gary E. Gerson |

DNA evidence is one of the most important developments in forensic science in our lifetimes.  As of 2024, 575 wrongfully convicted people have had their convictions overturned after DNA evidence revealed that their DNA was not present at the crime scene.  We most often hear of DNA indicating a defendant’s innocence or guilt in… Read More »

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