Most people would not find a bicyclist flipping off a cop to be an interesting article, but, to a legal nerd like me, it is thought-provoking for a few reasons. First, the man's name was David Smith. The Huntingdon County District Attorney is also named David Smith. While the idea that a local prosecutor would break the law by giving a cop the middle finger did cross my mind, I am quite sure that the David Smith in this Westmoreland County case is a different David Smith and not the head prosecutor in Huntingdon County. I have worked on a few cases over the years with the Huntingdon County District Attorney, and I am quite certain that he would not engage in this type of behavior.
A Pittsburgh area man recently learned the hard way that some judges expect Pennsylvania citizens to take their civic duty to serve on a jury very seriously. The man had reported to the local county courthouse to be considered as a possible juror on a homicide trial. According to a Pittsburgh Tribune article, the man asked the assistant district attorney handling the prosecution of the case how long he must remain at court. Upon being told that his subpoena was effective until 4:30 in the afternoon, the man responded that this was "a waste of his time." The man owned a local pizza business, and I suspect that he, like most other business owners, spends long hours at the office. Missing a day of work is not a small thing. Instead of sucking it up and performing his civic duty, the man tried to have himself removed from the jury pool by answering questions in a manner to have himself struck. The straw that broke the camel's back was probably when the man happened to be standing close to the defendant, and the potential juror asked the defendant "did you do it."
A Centre County judge recently issued an opinion in a State College misdemeanor drug possession case in which the criminal defense lawyer sought suppression of statements made by the defendant because the officer did not advise the defendant of her Miranda warnings. The judge's decision granted the suppression of some statements, but the judge also felt that Miranda warnings were not required during the entire interaction between the officer and suspect and therefore ruled that some incriminating statements would be admissible at a future trial.