Last weekend at a wedding reception on the Gateway Clipper, it is alleged that the groom placed his hands on the derrière of a waitress and ended up going to jail after engaging in a fight with her boyfriend. Although he was charged with assault on the boyfriend, resisting arrest and responding police, the consequences could have been far more severe. Touching the buttocks of a woman without consent is considered an indecent assault, which is a misdemeanor of the second degree, but more importantly a Tier I sex offense, requiring the offender to register as a sex offender for 15 years.
A 19-year-old East Liberty man had been charged with drug and weapons offenses, along with fleeing and eluding police. According to the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office, he reacted by getting together with a friend and posting a rap video on YouTube which included lyrics threatening to kill Pittsburgh police officers and called out two Highland Park officers by name.
It appears that an act of vandalism at the University of Pittsburgh may have been in protest of the university's policy toward the working conditions at the overseas factories where its licensed clothing and apparel were made. Police in Oakland have arrested a Pitt student they say used spray paint to write "WRC" in the commons area of the Cathedral of Learning building on campus. He reportedly has been charged with two felonies and two misdemeanors.
A Pittsburgh-area man who was dragged out of bed in the middle of the night by gun-wielding police based on accusations of sexual assault by a woman who later turned out to have invented the story says that the incident was "scary." Likely most people who have been in similar situations would agree. The story shows how sexual assault arrests are frequently based mostly, if not entirely, on the word of the alleged victim.
The First Amendment protects most forms of speech in Pennsylvania from government censorship or punishment. The right to publicly state one's opinion without fear of criminal charges is widely seen as a necessary cornerstone of a democratic society. However, statutes and case law over the more than 200 years since the Bill of Rights was ratified have established some exceptions to this right.
When someone in Pittsburgh is arrested and charged with a crime, prosecutors often will offer a plea bargain. In a plea agreement, the defendant usually will plead guilty to the charges in exchange for the prosecution recommending a reduced sentence. Depending on the circumstances, it may make sense to accept the plea bargain instead of taking the case to trial and risk a harsher sentence.
A Latrobe man who served 25 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of a pair of homicides was freed on appeal in September 2011 after a federal court overturn the conviction. Now seeking to ensure that he does not have to face trial on the homicides again, the man and his attorney are asking a western Pennsylvania court to formally dismiss the charges against him.
In each and every case that presses a defendant with criminal charges, it is the responsibility of the prosecution to present evidence and testimony that clarifies guilt to the judge and jurors presiding beyond a reasonable doubt.
A former police officer for the Pittsburgh area says he did not know that he had struck a person in a car accident until investigators told him. The man, a retired member of the Allegheny County police, is facing serious criminal charges in connection with the accident, which fatally injured a 56-year-old woman early on Jan. 16.
A 14-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl, both from the Pittsburgh area, are facing adult charges of transmission of sexually explicit images after the girl's mother found a topless self-portrait on the girl's cellphone. The criminal charges against the young teens are being criticized by some observers as a misuse of Pennsylvania law, and could trigger a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.