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Brief for National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in Support of Appellees.
Argument: The right “to reasonable and timely notice of and to be present at all public proceedings involving the criminal or delinquent conduct” has impaired the administration of justice and cost counties and states millions of dollars. The right “to reasonable protection from the accused or any person acting on behalf of the accused” has led to absurd results in pretrial release decisions. The codification of “respect for the victim’s . . . privacy” and the right “to reasonable protection from the accused” has made it more difficult for law enforcement to solve crime and left the public lacking critical information about criminal activity.
Brief for National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioners.
Argument: The dramatic impact that Marsy’s Law would have on Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system is not mere speculation. Other states have adopted nearly identically vague and broad constitutional amendments, which have resulted in substantial harm not only to criminal defendants, but also to the administration of the criminal justice system. This amicus brief summarizes the substantial burdens that Marsy’s Law has imposed in other states where it has gone into effect. The right “to reasonable and timely notice of and to be present at all public proceedings involving the criminal or delinquent conduct” has cost counties and states millions of dollars and congested court dockets. Marsy’s Law states have struggled to deal with the financial impact of the notice provision. The docket congestion caused by the notice provision has caused intolerable delays in proceedings. The right “to reasonable protection from the accused or any person acting on behalf of the accused” has led to absurd results in pretrial release decisions. The right to “full and timely restitution” will take money from the courts. The codification of “respect for the victim’s…privacy” and the right “to reasonable protection from the accused” has made it more difficult for law enforcement to solve crimes and left the public lacking critical information about criminal activity.
Superior Court of Pennsylvania: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Foley
Argument: The Superior Court, No. 2039 WDA
2009,Panella, J., held that:
(1) proposed testimony about alleged intimate acts
between victim and his next-door neighbor, as
offered to show a possible motive for neighbor's
husband to kill victim, was irrelevant in absence of
evidence that neighbor's husband knew of the
supposed intimate acts;
(2) there was no legitimate dispute over reliability
of state expert's DNA testimony that was based on
analysis by his propriety software, and, therefore,
that testimony was not novel and did not have to
pass Frye test for novel scientific evidence;
(3) relevant, though inconclusive, evidence that
bloody footprints found at crime scene were left by
a particular brand, model, and size of running shoe
was admissible to support inference that defendant
was at crime scene;
(4) trial court did not abuse its discretion in
determining that jury verdict was not against
manifest weight of evidence; and
(5) a jury finding that defendant intentionally used
a deadly weapon on a vital part of victim's body
could be regarded as an item of circumstantial
evidence from which jury could infer that the
defendant acted with malice.
Brief Amicus Curiae of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Appellants.
Argument: Appellants have stated a claim for constructive denial of counsel because the allegations of the amendment complaint demonstrate that there are systemic deficiencies in the Luzerne County office of the Public Defender that create an imminent and unacceptable risk that appellants’ right to counsel will be violated in ways that cannot be cured by post-conviction review. The amended complaint describes systemic violations of Kuren’s and Allabaugh’s right to counsel under the United States and Pennsylvania Constitutions. Violations of the right to effective assistance of counsel at critical stages of the adversarial process prior to trial cannot be remedied by post-conviction review, making prospective injunctive relief appropriate. The problems confronting indigent defense services are systemic and extend throughout the commonwealth and the nation.