3rd Circuit Criminal Law News - U.S. Third Circuit
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The operator of a home hospice care company had his Medicare fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering convictions upheld by the Third Circuit recently. Matthew Kolodesh had claimed that his conviction was obtained through prosecutorial misconduct.

He alleged that the prosecutors improperly relied upon a recording of him planning to defraud Medicare and improperly introduced stereotypes that Russians sought to "game the system." The Third Circuit, however, disagreed, finding that the prosecutor's actions were appropriate given the context.

Chaka Fattah Jr. just wanted to start an education company. Now he's facing a slew of legal issues, including a 23-count indictment.

Fattah Jr., son of the Pennsylvania congressman, has been the center of attention in Philadelphia since 2012 concerning alleged tax fraud and misuse of bank loans. He faces up to $13 million in fines from the IRS. The ongoing legal dispute took a bad turn for Fattah on June 1st when the Third Circuit dismissed his appeal.

No Anticipatory Invocation of Miranda, Says Penn. Sup. Ct.

Ever since Miranda v. Arizona, the right to remain silent, and its companion, the right to have an attorney present during questioning, has been walked back both by the U.S. Supreme Court and various state supreme courts.

Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a person can't invoke his Fifth Amendment right to counsel under Miranda in anticipation of police questioning. Along with a recent decision of the California Supreme Court, Pennsylvania's decision moves Miranda's temporal period in favor of the police.

3rd Cir. Upholds Judgment Against Real Estate Schemers

Lucy Cheng and Mait Dubois claimed to work for OMEI, which represented investors in Ocean View, which lent money to another entity called Southgate Development Group (SDG), which was the owner of a real estate development called Southgate Crossing.

Are you following along? If you think the need for multiple layers of corporations is a red flag, the Third Circuit is right along with you in this tale of "highly dubious business activities" taking place in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

N.J. Supreme Court to Review Sundiata Acoli's Parole

In 1973, Clark Edward Squire was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for his role in the murder of a New Jersey state trooper during a traffic stop.

Last year, Squire -- now known as Sundiata Acoli -- successfully petitioned a New Jersey appellate court to release him on parole. The state attorney general appealed that decision, and the New Jersey Supreme Court announced it would hear the case.

Zachary Wilson, a prisoner in Pennsylvania whose murder convictions have twice been overturned, will not yet be able to challenge a third prosecution. Before the court may hear his federal Rule 60(b) motion, Wilson must first exhausting his state court claims, the Third Circuit ruled on Monday.

Wilson had been convicted of two murders in Philadelphia in the early 1980s, only to have those convictions overturned decades later. He remained in prison for years, under arrest for the same murders whose convictions had just been vacated, but was not arraigned until 10 years later.

Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf Announces Moratorium on Executions

A Pennsylvania divided against itself cannot stand! On February 13, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (not the author of The Bonfire of the Vanities) announced a commonwealth-wide moratorium on the death penalty, which he called "error-prone, expensive, and anything but infallible."

This move earned the ire of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association and now, a lawsuit filed by Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams.

2 Judges Sentenced in Philly Traffic Ticket-Fixing Probe

It was the scandal that ended the Philadelphia Traffic Court. Two sitting, three former, and one senior Traffic Court judges, along with a Traffic Court administrator and two businessmen, were indicted in 2013 for their alleged roles in a ticket-fixing ring.

This week, two of those judges were sentenced: ex-Judges Thomasine Tynes and Robert Mulgrew each received prison sentences for offering perjured testimony about their roles in the conspiracy. According to Mulgrew's attorney, the ticket fixing scheme was a decades-long practice that predated all of the defendants, but it is likely no more -- the Traffic Court was disbanded in favor of a new program integrated with the Municipal Court.

Mumia Abu-Jamal Sues to Block Pa. Criminal Gag Law

Last month, we reported that the Pennsylvania legislature had passed Senate Bill No. 508, a law that would allow a crime victim to prevent the crime perpetrator from talking about the crime if doing so would make the crime victim feel bad.

The Pennsylvania law in this case was pretty squarely targeted at Mumia Abu Jamal, convicted in 1983 of murdering a Philadelphia police officer. Almost immediately after Gov. Bill Corbett signed it into law, Mumia supporters sued to block its enforcement.

Convicted Pot Grower's Habeas Petition Granted After Lawyer's Error

It's a rare occasion when a federal appellate court upholds a grant of habeas corpus. It's rarer still when the habeas petition centers on ineffective assistance of counsel. Nevertheless, last month, the Third Circuit overturned the district court's denial of habeas corpus to Dung Bui, a Pennsylvania resident convicted in federal court of growing marijuana.

So what exactly happened that led the Third Circuit to this infrequent result?