PKN Law in the News

Pgh City Paper - December 9, 2022

Pa. Board of Pardons approves less than 10% of Marijuana Pardon Project applicants

Recent decisions from the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons regarding Governor Tom Wolf’s much-hyped Marijuana Pardon Project indicate that the initiative will benefit many fewer people than previously expected.

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WTAE - November 1, 2022

Use medical marijuana? You can be charged with a DUI — even if you're not impaired

A Pennsylvania law allows medical marijuana patients to be charged with driving under the influence even if they are not impaired. Patients and even prosecutors are trying to change the law.

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Pgh City Paper - October 18, 2022

Pittsburgh NORML's Patrick Nightingale on cannabis laws and legalization

Tune in as Natalie and Patrick discuss all things related to cannabis legislation, legalization, and the intersection of race as it pertains to our criminal justice system.

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Philadelphia Inquirer - September 8, 2022

What to know about Pennsylvania’s marijuana laws

As neighboring states change and update their marijuana and cannabis laws, it can be confusing to know what's legal in Pennsylvania. Here's everything you need to know.

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WPXI - September 2, 2022

Certain Pennsylvanians eligible for pardon of nonviolent, small marijuana convictions

Under a new program just announced by Gov. Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania’s Board of Pardons is set to take up the cases of thousands of Pennsylvanians with nonviolent, small amount marijuana convictions.

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WPXI - September 2, 2022

Certain Pennsylvanians eligible for pardon of nonviolent, small marijuana convictions

Under a new program just announced by Gov. Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania’s Board of Pardons is set to take up the cases of thousands of Pennsylvanians with nonviolent, small amount marijuana convictions.

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CBS News - September 1, 2022

Wolf starts process to pardon lower level marijuana convictions

Thousands of Pennsylvanians convicted of minor marijuana charges may be eligible for a pardon from Gov. Tom Wolf. As KDKA political editor Jon Delano explains, it’s part of a new program announced to accelerate the pardon process for marijuana convictions.

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Terpenes and Testing Magazine - June 13, 2022

Terpenes and Testing: The Podcast with Patrick Nightingale, Esq.

On this episode, Dr. Lupoi engages in a lively chat with attorney Patrick Nightingale, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Society and Partner at Cannabis Legal Solutions.

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CBS News - April 20, 2022

On 4/20, Pennsylvania moves closer to legalizing adult recreational cannabis

Wednesday is April 20th, which is also known as World Cannabis Day. It's also a day for some to reignite efforts to legalize cannabis in Pennsylvania.

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WFMZ - September 27, 2021

Bill aims to protect medical marijuana patients from DUIs by requiring proof of impairment for charge

Legal experts say most states require what's called "proof of impairment" to charge someone with DUI, while Pennsylvania is one of 13 states with a zero-tolerance policy. That means any legal medical marijuana patient could be convicted for getting behind the wheel, even if they haven't used cannabis in weeks.

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Penn Live - September 27, 2021

Medical marijuana patients in Pa. risk arrest for DUI when they get behind the wheel

Medical marijuana patients face a risk of arrest in Pennsylvania if they get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Jesse Roedts found that out first hand.

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PA Capital Star - April 27, 2021

Why is the Pa. GOP keeping us stuck in cannabis prohibition?

As the majority party they control the legislative agenda. But, the PAGOP took on medical cannabis in 2015-2016, with all of its challenges, and now as we have a fully operating medical cannabis program. What voters like me can’t understand is why our Republican leadership won’t take on full legalization in the same businesslike way.

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ABC News - February 24, 2021

Should medical marijuana patients be allowed to have guns in Pennsylvania?

The federal government’s stance on marijuana is impacting medical marijuana patients’ jobs, hobbies and sense of protection. Marijuana remains a schedule one drug at the federal level, so medical marijuana users can’t get firearm permits.

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Philadelphia Inquirer - February 8, 2021

Can I be evicted for using medical marijuana?

If you use medical marijuana, can landlords refuse to rent to you, or even evict you? And what should you tell your landlord when looking for housing? Here are some basics.

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Whyy - August 11, 2020

Can you support Black Lives Matter and still prosecute marijuana cases? This prosecutor says yes.

When Black Lives Matter protesters marched through Chambersburg in early June of this year, the district attorney for Franklin County said he opened the windows to his office to better hear their chants and cries.

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WPXI - July 20, 2020

‘We’re literally, I think, on the verge of a real crisis': Allegheny Co. Courthouse employees worried about COVID-19 safety

Earlier this week, Channel 11 reported an assistant district attorney was in the ICU. Now, other attorneys and courthouse employees are saying they fear for their safety.

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Trib Live - July 6, 2020

Positive coronavirus case reported at Westmoreland County courthouse

A worker at the Westmoreland County courthouse has tested positive for the new coronavirus, said Amanda Bernard, director of human resources.

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ABC27 - May 19, 2020

Pa. Supreme Court hearing on Lebanon Co. probation policy for medical marijuana

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case about Lebanon County’s probation policy for medical marijuana Tuesday morning.

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WPXI - February 25, 2020

Target 11 Investigates driving on medical marijuana in Pennsylvania

A Pittsburgh woman is facing driving under the influence charges after investigators suspected she was part of that deadly overdose on the Southside last fall.

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York Dispatch - December 19, 2019

'End ... this ridiculous and racist war on cannabis': Closer Look

Black Pennsylvanians were arrested for marijuana possession at more than three times the rate of whites in a five-year period from 2014 through 2018, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program.

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Trib Live - December 19, 2019

Police: Mt. Lebanon man took $153K from former Shadyside employer

A Mt. Lebanon man is accused by Allegheny County detectives of taking $153,800 over seven years from a Shadyside financial planning and advising firm where he used to work, according to court papers.

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CBS News - September 25, 2019

Pa. Governor Tom Wolf Supports Legalizing Marijuana

Gov. Tom Wolf says he is now in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use in Pennsylvania, and is asking lawmakers to consider it.

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Press Release - May 13, 2019

Turahn Jenkins vows to not prosecute cannabis possession as Allegheny County District Attorney

The criminalization of the possession and use of cannabis has had an unequivocally negative effect on our communities. As Allegheny County’s next District Attorney, Turahn Jenkins for District Attorney is committed to ending prosecution of such offenses

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Law360 - April 3, 2019

Legalization Advocate Pushes Pa. Court To Reclassify Pot

Pennsylvania's classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug with no accepted medical use runs counter to the state's own medical marijuana program and should be eliminated, a defense attorney and legalization advocate told a Superior Court of Pennsylvania panel Wednesday.

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Trib Live - January 24, 2019

Fetterman to launch statewide listening tour on merits of recreational pot

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman will wade into the weeds to gauge public interest in legalizing recreational marijuana during a 67-county tour of the state beginning Saturday in Pittsburgh.

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CBS News - July 27, 2018

Man Accused Of Killing, Dismembering Roommate Allegedly Confessed To Police

The case against the Carrick man accused of killing a man and dismembering his body is moving forward.

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CBS News - January 31, 2018

Medical marijuana and guns: the choice between medicine and firearms

Nearly 12,000 people have signed up for Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program. A law, created in 2016, gives people under a physician's care access to medical marijuana if they suffer from 17 qualifying conditions. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), cancer and epilepsy are on the list, among others. But a new hurdle could make the choices of patients even more difficult. Due to federal law, any illegal drug use disqualifies a person from owning or puchasing a firearm.

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Philadelphia Inquirer - January 18, 2018

Marijuana patients who want to pack heat in Pa. should buy guns before registering for the drug

Are you a gun enthusiast who plans to participate in the state's medical marijuana program? If you're planning on buying a new firearm, attorneys suggest you make that purchase before you take the first dose of your legally-obtained medicine.

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Times Leader - January 3, 2018

Federal firearms law takes aim at PA medical marijuana users

The choice between having access to medical marijuana or keeping his firearms isn’t one Patrick Nightingale will make. The Pittsburgh-area criminal defense attorney and executive director of the Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Society is sticking to his guns and state-issued medical marijuana card and wants others to do the same.

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Pittsburgh Magazine - December 13, 2017

Green Medicine: The Business of Medical Marijuana

For many, medical marijuana is a panacea capable of alleviating a wide range of symptoms. As Pennsylvania begins allowing the drug’s medical use, patients are relieved — and business is booming.

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CBS News - November 28, 2017

Justices Take Up Free Speech Case Of Anti-Police Rap Lyrics

They call themselves "gangsta rappers," but Jamal Knox and Rashee Beasley may have crossed the line between protected free speech, and terroristic threats and intimidation when they called out two Pittsburgh police officers by name in a rap song.

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Trib Live - July 17, 2017

Pennsylvania's medical marijuana law undercuts criminal charges, lawyer argues

The attorney for a Monroeville man told a Westmoreland County judge on Monday that Pennsylvania's new law legalizing medical marijuana prevents his client from facing drug possession charges police filed after finding what they described as a grow operation at his former North Huntingdon home.

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East Side Podcast - June 8, 2017

Patrick Nightingale-Criminal Defense Lawyer-Executive Director of Pittsburgh NORML

Last Friday afternoon I was on a Skype call with Patrick Nightingale. Patrick K. Nightingale is a former prosecutor and practicing criminal defense attorney since 1996.

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CBS News - April 4, 2017

Hearing For Jail Protest Suspects Pushed Back Due To Attorney Scheduling Conflicts

Eleven people accused in violent protests outside of the Allegheny County Jail were supposed to go before a Magistrate Judge Tuesday. "There are some very serious allegations, but there are some interesting civil rights here," said attorney David Shrager, who represents James Griffin.

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CBS News - March 6, 2017

Pa. Auditor General: Legalizing Marijuana Would Create Jobs, Generate Tax Revenue

Next year, medical marijuana will be available for purchase across Pennsylvania. So, is legalizing recreational pot soon to follow? State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale thinks it's time the Commonwealth join other states that have.

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CBS News - February 21, 2017

Will Medical Marijuana Open The Door To Legalization, Decriminalization?

Despite the fact that there are now two bills to decriminalize pot in the Legislature, chances of them being approved are also very slim. But Nightingale, a marijuana advocate and lawyer, wants decriminalize marijuana thorough the court system.

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Complex - January 25, 2017

Rapper Who Was Arrested for Anti-Cop Lyrics Argues He’s Protected by Free Speech

In 2014, Pittsburgh rapper Jamal Knox was sentenced to prison for recording and publishing an anti-cop track called “Fuck the Police.” Less than three years after his conviction, the Supreme Court has agreed to take up an appeal by Knox, who argues his work is protected by the First Amendment.

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CBS News - January 25, 2017

Pa. top court reviews free speech case of man’s anti-police rap

Pennsylvania’s highest court is reviewing the conviction of a Pittsburgh man for making threats against police in a rap song after he was charged with drug offenses.

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AP News - January 25, 2017

Top court reviews free speech case of man’s anti-police rap

The Supreme Court on Monday said it would take up an appeal by Jamal Knox, who argues his song, which was briefly posted online, is protected by the right to free speech. Knox wants the court to set aside his convictions for witness intimidation and making terroristic threats.

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Next Pittsburgh - January 17, 2017

Pittsburgh attorney tries novel approach in fight to normalize marijuana

In April 2016 Governor Tom Wolf signed into law Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act, or Act 16, legalizing medical cannabis for PA residents with serious medical conditions. Now, a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney believes the new medical law gives him standing to challenge how Pennsylvania classifies recreational marijuana, which is still illegal in Pennsylvania and is classified as a “Schedule One” controlled substance.

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Youtube - May 24, 2016

Patrick K. Nightingale Talks Decriminalization In Meadville, PA

Patrick K. Nightingale is Executive Director of Pittsburgh NORML, as well as the Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Society. He addresses everything from medical marijuana to full legalization at a Marijuana Decriminalization rally at beautiful Diamond Park in Meadville, PA.

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The Weed Blog - September 3, 2015

Scientific And Legal Considerations In The Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Debate

With three separate bills that propose the legalization of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania currently pending in the state legislature, an interdisciplinary group of experts will present on and discuss the various aspects of the medical marijuana debate at the next Forensic Fridays session at Duquesne University.

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The Pitt News - April 19, 2015

Which weed is which: Experts compare pot strains

Antoine Douaihy, a professor of psychiatry at Pitt, said while sativa and indica are two distinct subspecies of cannabis, the different chemicals within the plant produce varying effects for users.

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Cranberry Eagle - October 29, 2014

Judge hears defense requests in attempted homicide case

After being accused of shooting a man at a busy city intersection, Hassan “Money” Lamar Brack left Butler and was arrested in Philadelphia. And while in the Butler County Prison, the defendant allegedly made an intimidating phone call to the man he shot.

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High Times - October 1, 2014

Penn Medical Marijuana Bill Is Lame

When the Pennsylvania Senate approved a proposal last week aimed at legalizing medical marijuana, supporters were hoping for something more substantial than a green light on a restricted bill. Supporters argue that while patients across the state who suffer from conditions like cancer, epilepsy and PTSD will have access to medicine, many others will receive no benefit.

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Philadelphia Inquirer - September 4, 2014

How smoking pot in Denver could lead to your arrest in Pa.

After Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell was found possessing marijuana, Attorney Nightingale sits down to discuss possible charges.

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Trib Live - August 26, 2014

Medical pot advocates speak up at meeting with Sen. Folmer in Export

Without medical marijuana to ease her chronic seizures, 4-year-old Sydney Michaels will never be able to go to school, said her mother, Julie Michaels.

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Trib Live - July 24, 2014

DA must approve some arrests based on eyewitness identification

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. sent a letter to city officials this week that says Pittsburgh police must get approval from his office to issue a felony arrest warrant that relies on an eyewitness who doesn't know the suspect.

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Trib Live - June 10, 2014

Marijuana gains ground in Pennsylvania Senate

In a round, silver tin presented to a panel of state lawmakers, nine ounces of pungent, federally approved marijuana offered cannabis activist Patrick Nightingale a reminder of how far he'd come, and how far he has to go.

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Trib Live - March 20, 2014

Natrona fire hall pot suspect held for trial

A Harrison man was ordered Wednesday to stand trial for allegedly having an elaborate marijuana growing operation in the former Natrona fire hall.

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ABA Journal - March 10, 2014

Hire me, 'I think like a criminal,' Pittsburgh lawyer says in YouTube video

Need a criminal defense lawyer? Then you should hire a lawyer who thinks like a criminal, according to a YouTube video by Pittsburgh attorney Daniel Muessig.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - February 1, 2014

Wrongfully jailed Lincoln-Lemington man plans suit

DeAndre Brown was inside his Chevy Trailblazer at Kelly and North Lang streets in the city's Homewood section just before 11 a.m. Sept. 16. The young man, who worked security for the Carnegie Library branch there, looked on in disbelief when at least five police officers swarmed his vehicle, pulled him from the SUV and handcuffed him.

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Penn Live - January 23, 2014

Pennsylvania State Nurses Association backs legalizing medical marijuana

The Pennsylvania State Nurses Association has come out in favor of a bill that would legalize medical marijuana. The association also wants the federal government to lower the drug from schedule I to schedule II.

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Trib Live - November 2, 2013

Wrongly jailed Lincoln-Larimer man praises mother

An ankle monitoring device made DeAndre Brown a prisoner in his Lincoln-Larimer home on Saturday, one day after prosecutors dropped a robbery charge that had been based on a wrong identification and kept him in jail for a month.

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Trib Live - May 4, 2013

Police: Uniontown man asked code officer to keep mum about pot

A former Uniontown resident asked a city code enforcement officer not to report an alleged “marijuana grow” operation discovered during an inspection of his home, the officer testified on Friday.

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CBS News - December 6, 2012

Discussing The Legalization Of Marijuana

KDKA Radio's Mike Pintek speaks with the Executive Director of Pittsburgh NORML Patrick Nightingale about the legalization of marijuana.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - January 17, 2012

G20 protester resentenced

A man who was convicted of causing more than $15,000 worth of damage during G20 protests in 2009 will restart his five years' probation after pleading guilty to summary charges of obstructing roadways and disorderly conduct stemming from another protest last year.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - August 26, 2011

Protest against violence on gays leads to 5 arrests in Bloomfield

Police arrested five people who they said blocked roadways and became disorderly during a rally Wednesday night in Bloomfield. One of those arrested was on probation after previously serving time for $15,000 in damage he caused in Oakland during the G-20 protests in 2009.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - November 24, 2010

G-20 protester gets jail time for vandalism

A G-20 protester convicted of breaking $15,000 worth of windows in Oakland was sentenced Tuesday to six to 18 months incarceration. David Japenga, 21, of Lawrenceville, told Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Edward J. Borkowski that he's had a lot of time to reflect on his actions, and recognizes now that they were inappropriate.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - November 03, 2010

Combative defendants are hard to defend

Beating a criminal charge in federal court is hard enough. But what about when the defendant is combative, mentally ill and very smart? That was the challenge for court-appointed defense attorney Douglas Sughrue over the past several months in representing the woman accused of participating in a 2003 bank robbery and fatal collar-bombing in Erie.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - September 23, 2010

Defendant in clergy slaying will get new trial

The man convicted of the 1997 killing of a popular chaplain who served two Pittsburgh universities will get a new trial. Kristopher Heggins, 30, of Highland Park, was found guilty of shooting the Rev. Salvatore "Sam" Brunsvold on Jan. 28, 1997. But the judge who heard the original case granted a new trial because she said his previous attorney allowed the jury to hear that Mr. Heggins had been charged with other crimes.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - July 29, 2010

Man pleads guilty in death of Larimer man

After three separate juries failed to convict Jerry Gaines on homicide charges, he pleaded guilty Tuesday to voluntary manslaughter.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - July 11, 2010

Pa. bill would legalize marijuana as therapeutic option

At Abay, an ultra-hip eatery in East Liberty, pro-medical marijuana activists are recruiting and organizing new members over martinis. And in Harrisburg, some legislators are pushing for passage of a bill that would make Pennsylvania the 15th state to legalize medical marijuana -- if New York and Maryland don't beat them to it.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - June 25, 2010

NYC man pleads guilty to vandalism for graffiti

A man who caused more than $200,000 in damage as a member of a notorious graffiti crew pleaded guilty Thursday to vandalism charges.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - September 30, 2009

Combative defendants are hard to defend

A 21-year-old man was ordered to stand trial today on charges of smashing windows at three businesses in Oakland last week during G-20 protests.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - July 07, 2009

Jury deadlocks again in North Point Breeze homicide

For the second time, an Allegheny County jury could not reach a verdict in the homicide case against Jerry Gaines.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - June 10, 2009

Brentwood woman gets house arrest for killing her live-in boyfriend

Through sobs, Monique Bailey could barely speak yesterday as she asked an Allegheny County judge for leniency for killing her live-in boyfriend.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - May 02, 2009

Sometimes, defendants do the darndest things

Timothy Lee Williams' lawyer, Frank C. Walker II, stood next to him, powerless. He had advised Mr. Williams not to testify, but his client didn't listen. "All I really wanted to do was express myself," the defendant began, launching into an incoherent diatribe about his life and the circumstances surrounding a Hill District homicide.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - March 11, 2009

Mechanic's charges a 'test case'

Investigators first traced the cause of a fatal crash in Brookline to the brakes, then to the fluid cap, then to the mechanic who left the cap unscrewed. Last week, the mechanic was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter, setting in motion what legal experts say is a remarkable case.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - February 25, 2009

Unjust treatment: An 11-year-old should not be tried as an adult

In Pennsylvania, a child under the age of 10 is considered too young to be culpable in a crime. Courts also recognize that youths aged 10 through 17 are different from adults, so their cases automatically are handled in juvenile courts. But not when it comes to murder.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - November 22, 2008

Questions abound in killing of FBI agent

Did Christina Korbe hear the police officers at her door identify themselves? Did she really feel that her life and the lives of her children, ages 10 and 4, were in danger?

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - October 24, 2008

Man acquitted in 2006 fatal shooting in North Point Breeze

After five hours of deliberation, an Allegheny County jury acquitted a Penn Hills man of murder this afternoon.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - April 11, 2008

Deal keeps girl who killed father out of jail

Fourteen-year-old Rachel Booth could have gone to trial in juvenile court to try to prove that a lifetime of abuse led her to kill her father last summer with a shotgun blast to the face. Instead, the Elizabeth Township girl opted for a less-traumatic solution -- a deal that keeps her out of jail.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - December 01, 2007

Convicted strip club owner survives suicide attempt

A former strip club owner convicted of federal tax charges was found Thursday evening in his home after an apparent suicide attempt.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - November 19, 2007

Juveniles languish in adult jails

At 17, Antowian Kelly was jailed on charges of robbery with an unloaded gun. The Hill District sophomore had no prior record but spent 17 months in Allegheny County Jail before a judge decided his case should be heard in juvenile court.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - August 13, 2007

Just decision: A tormented teen defendant is treated wisely

There isn't much to console the heart in the desperately sad case of 13-year-old Rachel Booth, an apparent victim of rape and physical abuse. She admitted to shooting her father to death as he lay sleeping in a squalid rental house in Elizabeth Township on July 30.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - August 12, 2007

Battered woman defense to be used in girl's murder trial

Having undergone years of alleged emotional and sexual abuse, 13-year-old Rachel Booth aimed a shotgun at her sleeping father's face and pulled the trigger.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - April 11, 2008

Teen's homicide case sent to juvenile court

A juvenile court judge will decide whether Rachel Booth, 13, was justified in the fatal shooting July 30 of her father in their Elizabeth Township home, a Common Pleas judge ruled yesterday.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - June 26, 2007

Stripper testifies about 2 killings at party

A stripper testified yesterday about setting off an argument that ended in the deaths of two guests at a birthday party in Penn Hills in 2005.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - November 10, 2006

Jury clears Ohio man

When the jury returned its "not guilty" verdict yesterday in federal court, Greg Lowery stood up and began praising God.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette - September 17, 2005

Man convicted of triple slaying at city eatery

William Thompson was convicted yesterday of three counts of first-degree murder in the triple slaying in 2002 of an 8-year-old girl, her father and a suspected drug dealer.

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