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Pa Supreme Court Arguments

September 12, 2017

Confrontation Clause

Com. v. Brown, 139 A.3d 208 (Pa. Super. 2016), allocatur granted, 40 EAP 2016; 41 EAP 2016

In Brown the Supreme Court will consider whether use of an autopsy report by an expert who did not perform the autopsy as the basis of his opinion as to the cause and manner of victim’s death (1) violates the Sixth Amendment guarantee of the right of Confrontation or (2) runs afoul of Pa. Rule of Evidence 703, which allows an expert to use inadmissible evidence to form his opinion, but does not allow the inadmissible evidence to be used for its truth.

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Workers’ Comp/Statutory Interpretation/Presumption of Compensability

City of Philadelphia Fire Dept. v. W.C.A.B. (Sladek),144 A.3d 1011 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2016) (en banc), allocatur granted, 13 EAP 2017

Sladek presents issues concerning (1) what a Workers’ Compensation claimant must prove before the Act’s rebuttable presumption of compensability for an occupational disease arises; and (2) what evidence the employer must present to overcome the presumption.

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Enforceability of Legal Fee Sharing Contract with Non-Lawyer

SCF Consulting, LLC v. Barrack Rodos, 154 A.3d 846 (Pa. Super. 2016) (Table) (Non-Precedential), allocatur granted, 7 EAP 2017

SCF presents the issue of whether a law firm may avoid an alleged oral contract with a non-lawyer consultant to share fees as void for public policy solely because Rule of Professional Conduct 5.4 prohibits a lawyer from sharing fees with a non-lawyer, or whether the contract should be enforced so as to prevent the law firm from profiting by violating the rules of professional conduct.

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Double Jeopardy Bar Based on Prosecutorial Misconduct Intentionally Undertaken to Deny a Fair Trial – Proof of Intent 

Com. v. Brown, 2016 WL 3153970 (Pa. Super 2016) (NonPrecedential), allocatur granted, 10 EAP 2017

The issue the Court will decide in Brown is whether, in deciding to prohibit a retrial based on double jeopardy grounds because of intentional prosecutorial conduct designed to deny a fair trial, the intent of the prosecutor must be established based on factual findings of the original trial judge or a hearing based on further testimony.

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Warrantless search of Cell Phone; Whether Independent Evidence Renders Constitutional Error Harmless 

Com. v. Fulton, 2016 WL 1708918 (Pa.Super. 2016) (Non-Precedential), allocatur granted, 10 EAP 2017

In Fulton, the Supreme Court will decider whether Superior Court’s opinion affirming the trial court’s denial of murder defendant’s motion to suppress all evidence derived from the warrantless search of defendant’s cell phone, is contrary to the United States Supreme Court’s decisions in Riley v. California, 134 S.Ct. 2473 (2014) and United States v. Wurie; and (2) whether Superior Court’s finding that denial of murder defendant’s motion to suppress all evidence derived from the warrantless search of defendant’s cell phone was harmless error is contrary to law because there was no independent evidence of guilt that was untainted, uncontradicted and overwhelming.

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September 12, 2017
Event Category:


Pennsylvania Supreme Court