Philadelphia Criminal Law News

January 2013 Archives

What to Expect at Your Philadelphia Criminal Trial

Getting arrested for a crime and facing a Philadelphia criminal law trial is an extremely stressful event. That is why it is extremely important to familiarize yourself with the process of a criminal trial if your case is being heard in court.

The purpose of a trial is for a jury of your peers to examine the evidence against you and determine if you committed the crime. You are innocent until proven guilty, and the burden is on the prosecutor to convince the jury that you committed the crime.

Here are the six major stages of a criminal trial:

What Are Your Rights as a Crime Victim in Pennsylvania?

If you have fallen victim to a crime, you should know that Pennsylvania automatically grants certain rights to you.

It doesn't matter if you are victim of mail fraud or if you are assaulted. As a victim, you must be given certain basic rights by the prosecutor's office and the court system.

For example, a victim of a crime has the right to:

How to File a Complaint Against a Philadelphia Police Officer

What do you do when the friendly, protective presence of the Philadelphia police is not that friendly or protective? The Philadelphia Police Department has provided a complaint mechanism through which anyone can file a complaint against a Philadelphia police officer for inappropriate conduct.

Philadelphia police officers generally do a great job in stopping crime, apprehending criminals, and working to protect citizens. However, given the number of crimes that occur and the violent nature of the job, police officers sometimes do overstep their authority and engage in inappropriate conduct such as harassment and overzealous enforcement.

If you or someone you know has fallen victim to excessive or unwarranted conduct by the Philadelphia police, you will want to know the following steps for filing a complaint:

Witnesses in Tears at James Holmes' Preminary Hearing

The James Holmes case isn't in Pennsylvania, but the legal aspects of the case are definitely worth talking about.

As you probably know, James Holmes is the man who opened gunfire in a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, last summer, killing 12 people. His preliminary hearing has just begun, but it might be a long time before he could be found guilty.

Holmes appeared in court Monday as prosecutors attempted to lay out a case against Holmes so that his case can proceed to trial, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Jury Selection Begins in Clergy Sex Abuse Trial

The trial for the last two defendants in a high-profile clergy sex abuse investigation is underway.

The Rev. Charles Engelhardt and former parochial schoolteacher Bernard Shero are facing trial starting this week, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The case bears striking similarity to the recent sex abuse cases involving the Boy Scouts of America and more locally, the Penn State sex abuse scandal. In the trial of the other defendants in this case, there was evidence showing how church officials turned a blind eye to the alleged victims to preserve the church's good name.