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December 2012 Archives

Woman facing gun charges in fatal firefighter shooting

When there is a crime involving a gun in Pittsburgh, often police will investigate whether someone other than the suspect is the named owner of the gun. In those cases, the titular owner can face serious weapons charges, even if he or she had nothing to do with the crime.

PA Supreme Court allows warrantless undercover text messages

A Pennsylvania State Police trooper did not violate state law when he posed as someone else and exchanged text messages with a drug crimes suspect even though he did so without a warrant, the state Supreme Court recently ruled. The ruling, which is similar to amendments scheduled to go into effect to the state's Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act, means that law enforcement may not have to obtain a warrant before receiving electronic communications from people while posing as a civilian.

Police snooping of phone call leads to drug arrest

A phone conversation that was "overheard" by a suburban Pittsburgh police officer led to the arrest of a 48-year-old woman on suspicion of drug distribution. With such serious charges against the woman and her son, who made the phone call, one question that may be raised at trial is whether the officer was legally entitled to listen in on the conversation.

Ex-Pennsylvania couple accuses police of false arrest

A married couple who used to live in western Pennsylvania who were arrested on criminal charges but prevailed at trial have filed a lawsuit against the city of Beaver Falls and its police department for false arrest and malicious prosecution. They say that the police took the side of the couple's neighbors, with whom they got into a fight, and made the arrests based on the neighbors' dubious claims against them.

YouTube video may lead to federal charges for Pittsburgh man

People in Pittsburgh who visit the online video site YouTube have probably watched many videos of everyday people giving their point of view on a topic. The subjects may range from politics to commenting on sports or personal matters. Perhaps readers have uploaded such a video themselves.

Ex-drilling company employee charged with conspiracy, tax fraud

A former employee of a western Pennsylvania natural gas drilling company is accused of helping a company executive commit embezzlement. The defendant is also charged with tax fraud and mail fraud. Prosecutors claim the conspiracy went on for several years. If convicted of these white collar charges, the woman could face decades in prison.

Pennsylvania's expanded 'Castle Doctrine' to be subject at trial

Despite the State of Pennsylvania's recent expansion of the traditional Castle Doctrine defense, a Uniontown man will face trial over a shooting he says was in self-defense. The judge overseeing the case rejected the defendant's motion to dismiss the case based on the new version of the doctrine. That likely means the doctrine will be an issue in the accused man's criminal defense.

Wells Fargo investment banker accused of insider trading conspirac

A New York-based investment banker for Wells Fargo Securities and nine others have been civilly charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with insider trading, after it was allegedly discovered that he was passing confidential information to a "phone tree" of his friends and their friends.

Pittsburgh-area man facing federal meth conspiracy charges

Most people in Pittsburgh know that the federal government aggressive prosecutes those suspected of drug trafficking. With federal sentencing guidelines forcing courts to impose lengthy sentences in many cases, a drug charge in federal court can be very serious for residents of Pennsylvania.

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