Philadelphia Criminal Law News

3 Ways DNA Can Make or Break Criminal Cases

Proof that DNA has a huge impact on criminal cases: DNA evidence has linked a suspect in sexual assault case in Wisconsin to at least three unsolved sexual assaults in Philadelphia.

After Wisconsin police entered the suspect's DNA into a national database, Philadelphia detectives found a match between the DNA and sexual assault, according to Madison's WIBA.

Due unique nature of DNA, what are three ways DNA can impact criminal cases?

5 Ways to Get Arrested on St. Patty's Day

Now that Penn State students are done celebrating the unofficial drinking holiday known as State Patty's Day, the real St. Patty's Day is coming up and it usually leads to a few arrests.

State College actually saw a drop in arrests and overall crimes during State Patty's Day, but it could be because the university paid 34 of 35 businesses with liquor licenses to stay closed, according to the Associated Press. Since it's unlikely that bars and restaurants are going to be closed on St. Patty's Day, it'll be interesting to see what the crime rate will be like this year.

So here are five ways to get arrested on St. Patty's Day:

No Savesies: Philly Police Crack Down on Parking

While it's a pain to shovel out your parking spot only to have someone park in it later, Philadelphia residents can't call "savesies" on parking spots.

The Philadelphia Police Department has started a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #nosavesies in an effort to educate residents that they can't use furniture or other objects to save their parking spots, according to

While it's rare that police will issue a parking ticket for saved spots, there are ways to fight a ticket if you do receive one.

Petitioning for Clemency in Pennsylvania

Stemming from the lofty legal ideals of fairness, justice, and forgiveness, clemency is a legal act of grace.

An individual can petition for clemency, which formally requests a public official to lower or moderate the severity of his or her punishment. Clemency does not mean leniency but tempering justice with mercy.

Here are the various types of clemency and who can grant it in Pennsylvania:

Pa. Road Rage Shooting Suspect at Large, Driver Called 911

Pennsylvania State Police and the FBI have launched a manhunt for a gunman involved in a fatal road rage shooting. Before being shot to death, 28-year-old Timothy Davison called 911 to report someone was chasing him on a stretch of highway in Pennsylvania.

Sadly, Davison did not survive the attack.

What Is the STAR Program?

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder visited Philadelphia on Tuesday to witness a unique court session. Holder observed as more than a dozen men, as part of a special program, updated a federal judge on their lives, The Washington Post reports.

These men, ex-offenders, have to report to federal court a couple times a month. There a judge assesses their progress in a series of rehabilitative efforts that include drug testing and job training.

What is this program, exactly? Here's a general overview:

Phil. Prosecutor Charged in 'Revenge' Crime Case

A Philadelphia prosecutor resigned last week, after being charged in a "revenge" crime case with making false reports and obstruction of justice, Philadelphia's WCAU reports.

Assistant District Attorney Lynn Nichols is being accused of using her influence to pressure a police officer to remove a stolen vehicle report to protect her then-boyfriend. After the break-up, however, as her form of revenge, she then allegedly called 9-1-1 to falsely report a vehicle as stolen.

Here's an overview of what Nichols' charges mean -- in general and for her professional career as a prosecutor:

3 Ways School Sports Can Turn Criminal

School sports may seem like they're all just in the good-natured spirit of competition. But, beware, because these games can turn criminal. For those who choose to enroll in school sports, misbehaving could lead to actual legal trouble from being on the field, court, or even in the pool.

In the spirit of school being back in session, here are some legal concerns to be especially cautious of if you or your child is involved in school sports. Here are three ways that school sports can turn criminal:

4 Things to Know About Getting a Public Defender in Pennsylvania

After one gets arrested, there are many crucial steps to take. But, among those, hiring the right attorney is definitely at the top of that list.

If you find that you can't afford an attorney, there's always the option of applying for a court-appointed public defender.

With that said, here are 4 things to know about the process of getting a public defender in Pennsylvania:

What's Considered Domestic Violence in Pennsylvania?

Domestic violence comes in many forms. Partner abuse, domestic abuse, dating abuse, or intimate partner violence are only a few of the other names it is known by.

It can involve issues stemming from alcohol abuse or mental illness, or even a squabble over who should win this season of "American Idol," as The York Dispatch reported.

So while many people have a general idea of what domestic violence looks like, the laws do vary by state. Here's a general overview of what it looks like in Pennsylvania: