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October 2014 Archives

Prosecutor Faces Ethics Investigation After Changing Court Transcript

First, what is a transcript? A transcript is a written copy of what people testified to in court. When one party loses in court, the party generally has the right to file an appeal to have a higher jurisdiction court review the decision. In many appeals, the appellate court does not hold a brand new hearing or trial, which is called a de novo review, but instead the court generally avoids having new testimony and only reviews the transcripts to consider the testimony that was presented at the prior court proceeding. In other situations, a defense attorney may use a witness's prior under-oath testimony that is memorialized in a transcript to impeach or show changes in the witness's current testimony. A transcript is obviously very important in every court proceeding, but transcripts are especially important in criminal cases when a person's very freedom is at stake.

Woman With Marijuana Crumbs on Face Suspected of Eating Evidence

According to a Palm Beach Post article, a Florida woman, who had been arrested for suspicion of DUI, was handcuffed and seated in the police cruiser when marijuana evidence that had been found in the woman's car disappeared from the police cruiser. The officer is quoted as saying "bags of weed just don't go missing inside a police car." The officer used his investigative skills and deductive reasoning to realize that if he didn't take the marijuana, then the woman handcuffed in the back of his cruiser must have. He questioned the woman about  whether or not she had escaped from her cuffs and had eaten the drug evidence, and she admitted to having broken free from her restraints. The article also mentions that the woman had pot on her face and hands, so the weed crumbs provided additional evidence about the disappearance of the marijuana. I'm sure that most of us have seen milk mustaches and cookie crumbs on the faces of our children, but I doubt that we have witnessed marijuana crumbs on someone's face.

Does Philadelphia's Decriminalization of Marijuana Possession Change State Law

I am sure that many people have seen that Philadelphia is in the process of de-criminalizing the possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana for personal use. Decriminalization does not mean that marijuana possession is now completely legal in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania laws that prohibit the possession of marijuana for personal use are still valid and enforceable across the state of Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia. The Philadelphia law adds a civil, meaning non-criminal charge, of marijuana possession that can be filed by the officer. It is up to the officer whether he or she issues a civil citation for possession of less than 30 grams of weed or instead files the misdemeanor criminal charge under 35 P.S. ยง  780-113(a)(31).