Commonwealth v. Fredrick
Mr. Fredrick was observed by police straddling the center line of the highway and was pulled over. The officer stated that he could smell alcohol on the driver’s breath and that he had failed all of the field sobriety tests. He was taken to Nason Hospital for blood testing and the report showed a blood alcohol content of 0.226%.
The Commonwealth charged Fredrick with a DUI – highest rate of alcohol. After a bench trial, Fredrick was found guilty of the charges against him and was sentenced to 72 hours to 6 months incarceration, plus fines and court costs.
Attorney Tim Barrouk of The McShane Firm appealed Fredrick’s conviction to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. The issue presented was that the sample that was tested was serum and not whole blood and thus by law required a valid conversion factor. The Commonwealth failed on its duty to present a conversion factor. Thus, the court found that “…the evidence was insufficient to establish every element of DUI- highest rate of alcohol.” Therefore, the court reversed the previous conviction.
Commonwealth v. Angles
The Defendant was accused of Driving Under the Influence. An Officer followed the Defendant’s vehicle and observed the vehicle leave its lane of travel on several occasions. The Officer than performed a traffic stop and had the Defendant perform standard field sobriety tests. The Defendant was then taken Gettysburg Hospital for a blood test. The Gettysburg Hospital blood test stated that the Defendant’s Blood Alcohol Concentration was .231%.
At trial, a Jury convicted the Defendant of DUI with a blood alcohol content of above .16%. However, we were able to successfully appeal this verdict and the trial court awarded a new trial. Specifically, the Trial Court held that the weight of the evidence did not support the blood alcohol result.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Michaels
This case involved a Petition to Compel the Commonwealth to provide a duplicate copy of a computer hard drive for expert analysis in a child pornography case. Under Federal Law, a duplicate copy of the hard drive will only be provided to an expert to view in the government’s facility. This greatly restricts the expert’s ability to perform a comprehensive analysis of the hard drive because the expert is not able to bring his full reference library and all of his equipment. Additionally, it forces the expert to work with unfamiliar systems. The Court held that Federal Law did not supercede the Pennsylvania Discovery Rules and therefore issued a protective order for our expert to receive the mirror image hard drive and perform comprehensive analysis. This provides the Defendant with the opportunity to fully address the alleged evidence against him.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Francis
Police received a dispatch from an individual at a movie theater who stated that they saw the Defendant fall over and that there was a bottle of wine under the seat. The caller then followed the Defendant to his vehicle and stated that he appeared intoxicated. The caller then provided the police with the Defendant’s license plate number and make and model of vehicle. Police identified the vehicle and began to follow it. While the police were following the vehicle, the vehicle was observed traveling below the speed limit and touched the yellow line. The Officer candidly testified that she did not witness a violation of the motor vehicle code or driving that would cause her to pull the vehicle over. I was successful in arguing that the police officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop the Defendant’s vehicle and therefore all evidence acquired after the stop was inadmissible. Specifically, the Caller identity was never disclosed and therefore his tip had to corroborated by the Officer following the vehicle. The Court held that the Officer did not have sufficient independent observations to corroborate the tip and that the stop was not valid.