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Jury Acquits Police Chief of Theft by Deception

By Gary E. Gerson |

If you have not formally studied law or been a party in a lawsuit, it can be easy to mix up what the civil courts do and what the criminal courts do.  The criminal courts are different from the other parts of the court system in several important ways.  First, criminal cases are always… Read More »

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Northampton County Man Sentenced to Prison on Weapons Charges After a Series of Attempted Drone Strikes Near Ex-Girlfriend’s House

By Gary E. Gerson |

Unmanned aerial vehicles, popularly known as drones, experienced a surge in popularity when they became legally available for recreational use.  They were a popular gift item during the 2015 holiday season.  Perhaps some of the parents who scrambled to grab the last Tickle Me Elmo dolls from store shelves to give to their young… Read More »

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Uncle of Allegheny County Teen Who Suffered Fatal Overdose Gets One Year for Child Endangerment

By Gary E. Gerson |

It is possible to face criminal charges, up to and including homicide, if someone else fatally overdoses on drugs they got from you.  These charges can apply whether the victim bought the drugs from you, if you gave the drugs to the victim, or, in the case of a child or teen victim, if… Read More »

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Despite Its Religious and Medicinal Uses, Salvia Divinorum Is Illegal in Pennsylvania

By Gary E. Gerson |

Is it a healing herb or a dangerous drug?  Since ancient times, people in the plant’s original homeland have prized the plant’s leaves for their effect on the mind and body, and a counterculture in the United States embraced the plant in a big way.  Sensing its allure with young people, the plant’s detractors… Read More »

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The Smell of Marijuana Is Not a Valid Reason for Police to Search Your Car Without a Warrant

By Gary E. Gerson |

In Pennsylvania, marijuana is legal in all but name.  For several years, Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program has made it legal for patients with qualifying medical conditions to possess small quantities of smokable or non-smokable cannabis products, provided that they have a valid, state-issued medical cannabis card.  Furthermore, many cities in Pennsylvania have decriminalized possession… Read More »

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Couple Assaults Teen Employee During Mask-Related Dust-Up at Sesame Place

By Gary E. Gerson |

Sesame Street has an outsized reputation for modeling kindness for children, but 2020 has called into question almost everything we thought we knew.  Everyone is frustrated with the pandemic and the quarantine, so one would expect that, when theme parks finally opened this summer after being closed for months, that guests would appreciate them… Read More »

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Gov. Wolf’s Proposal: Legalize Recreational Marijuana and Use the Proceeds to Fund Restorative Justice Efforts

By Gary E. Gerson |

Governors of Pennsylvania may only serve two terms, and Gov. Tom Wolf is currently serving his second one, so he is not eligible to seek reelection in 2022.  Since he took office in 2015, the circumstances in which a person can be sentenced to jail or prison for cannabis possession have become fewer.  The… Read More »

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Some Counties in Western Pennsylvania Charge Inmates for Every Night That They Spend in Jail

By Gary E. Gerson |

Would you believe it if someone told you that your $1200 coronavirus stimulus check could pay for four months of room and board?  In some cases, it can, but only if the accommodations are in a county jail.  Is this the worst case of the criminal justice system punishing people for being poor?  Is… Read More »

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Hopewell Man Charged with Vehicular Homicide in Connection to DUI Crash

By Gary E. Gerson |

How much trouble can you get in for driving drunk?  It depends on several factors.  First, repeat DUI offenses get harsher punishments than first-time offenses. The case of Rose Ann Davidson, the Texas woman currently serving a life sentence for her sixth DUI conviction, despite that she has never caused an accident, is both… Read More »

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Pittsburgh Woman Faces Child Endangerment Charges for Driving Drunk with Four Children in the Car

By Gary E. Gerson |

Before you bring a newborn baby home from the hospital, the hospital staff ensures that you have the infant safety seat installed properly in the car.  Installing child car seats can be a source of anxiety for first-time parents; every time the child outgrows one seat, they must figure out how to configure the… Read More »

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