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.
The conviction of a Pittsburgh man on charges that he shot and killed a woman in 1994 was based on the false testimony of a prosecution witness, jurors in the defendant's retrial ruled on Sep. 12. The not guilty verdict means the man will soon be freed from prison for the first time in 17 years.
A criminal defendant, now 59 years old, is being granted his third trial in the famous 1977 shooting of two men at a Fayette County resort. Recently, a Pennsylvania judge ruled that prosecutors in the previous trials have withheld crucial evidence that supported the defendant's innocence.
The jury verdict in Casey Anthony's murder case has created quite a stir. Many people were utterly convinced of her guilt and were shocked when the jury found her not guilty of the homicide charges against her.
The Confrontation Clause of Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires that the accused has the right to be confronted by the witnesses against him in all criminal prosecution. In essence, this means that a defendant has the right to have his accusers testify before him, and the defendant has the right to cross-examine his accusers under oath. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court carved out an exception to this rule that may have profound implication for people accused of crimes in this country.
Law enforcement officials have learned that the Internet has a long memory and statements made on the Internet can be used to incriminate a suspect. Recently, police and prosecutors used the Facebook statements of a 19-year-old Pennsylvania man as evidence of criminal solicitation of murder.
Federal law enforcement authorities have made organized crime a priority over the years. One organization in particular, known as La Cosa Nostra or the mafia, has drawn the frequent and focused attention of the FBI. Amid much fanfare last week, Attorney General Holder announced that federal authorities had charged 127 individuals in 16 separate indictments who allegedly have connections with the mafia.
In our last post, we discussed possible irregularities with the Greg Brown's conviction of arson and murder charges stemming from the 1995 Bricelyn Street fire, which claimed three firefighters' lives. Brown has been serving three consecutive life sentences in prison since 1997, but is now challenging his conviction based on newly discovered evidence.
On Valentine's Day 1995, an early morning fire destroyed a rental home on Bricelyn Street. The Bricelyn Street fire destroyed the home, and killed three firefighters when they were trapped in a lower level room. They died of smoke inhalation after their air tanks ran out.
Last Thursday, an investigation into a poaching incident turned deadly. Pennsylvania Game Commission Officer David Grove was investigating possible poaching activity when he observed a spotlight and a rifle coming out of a pickup truck, which resulted in a traffic stop. According to investigators, the suspect driver of the pickup exited the vehicle and a confrontation began. The suspect and the officer exchanged gun-fire, leaving the suspect wounded in the hip and Officer Grove mortally wounded. He died 45 minutes later.