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Category Archives: Criminal Law

CrimLaw10

Eric Riddick Released from Prison 29 Years After Wrongful Conviction

By Gary E. Gerson |

In November 1991, Eric Riddick stood on a balcony in Philadelphia and watched in horror as his friend William Catlett was gunned down on the street below.  In the summer of 1992, a jury convicted Riddick of murder, and he was sentenced at age 22 to life in prison.  For reasons that highlight failures… Read More »

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CrimLaw10

Man Faces Murder Charges After Originally Telling Police That Baby’s Fatal Injuries Were the Result of an Accidental Fall

By Gary E. Gerson |

In the 1990s, the movie Trainspotting and the book on which it is based scared countless teenagers out of trying drugs, especially heroin.  By far the most disturbing part is where baby Dawn dies after all the adults around her, all of whom were under the influence of drugs, forgot to feed her.  Last… Read More »

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Husband and Wife Plead Guilty to Healthcare Fraud and Tax Fraud

By Gary E. Gerson |

Anyone who has ever received a medical bill has noticed that the math that goes into calculating how much patients and insurance companies are responsible for paying is perplexing.  It is unsurprising then, that some healthcare fraud scams go on for years before anyone gets caught.  In some healthcare fraud cases, doctors bill insurance… Read More »

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Jury Finds New Kensington Man Not Guilty of Drug Delivery Resulting in Death

By Gary E. Gerson |

You can probably think of a few movies where the climactic scene involves a jury finding someone not guilty at trial, but only a small percentage of criminal cases result in acquittals.  Most cases result either in guilty pleas, sometimes involving a reduction of charges, or else in the charges getting dropped.  This means… Read More »

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What Biden’s Executive Order on Private Prisons Means for Criminal Justice Reform

By Gary E. Gerson |

The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects people convicted of crimes against cruel and unusual punishment, but it does not define cruel and unusual punishment in any detail.  While long prison sentences, even for non-violent crimes, are hardly unusual in Pennsylvania and other states, some of the justifications for imposing these sentences… Read More »

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The Drug Overdose Response Immunity Law Encourages Bystanders to Choose Compassion Over Fear

By Gary E. Gerson |

What would you do if someone appeared to be suffering a drug overdose while you were present in the same room?  When someone asks you this question hypothetically, you might think that calling 911 is the obvious choice, but the way people actually respond in this situation depends on several other important details.  Do… 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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Confrontation Over All-Terrain Vehicle Leads to Shooting, Arrest for Attempted Murder

By Gary E. Gerson |

Online classified ads make it possible to find used vehicles for sale much more quickly, less expensively, and with less hassle than you would be able to by going to a dealership.  There is always some risk in these informal transactions, though.  If the worst thing that happens is that you get scammed, you… Read More »

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When a Cell Phone Becomes an Instrument of Crime

By Gary E. Gerson |

When is it a crime simply to have a phone in your possession?  It depends.  In general, almost anyone is free to have a phone.  You do not even have to have a license for it, like you do to buy a firearm or drive a car.  You do not even have to be… Read More »

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It Is Against the Law to Leave Your Car Unattended When Warming It Up

By Gary E. Gerson |

The winter, especially the holiday season, presents many season-specific opportunities for theft.  You or someone you know has probably learned the hard way about putting purchases in the trunk and locking your car if you have had newly bought gift items stolen while you were Christmas shopping.  An enterprising thief can steal unsecured holiday… Read More »

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