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Jury Instructions

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NEWS
February 24, 1998 | By Richard V. Sabatini, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
After more than 14 years on death row, Clifford Smith, sentenced to die for the 1983 execution-style slaying of a Bucks County pharmacist, is getting a new trial. The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday rejected an appeal by Bucks County District Attorney Alan Rubenstein of a 9-2 ruling in August by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia granting Smith a new trial. Rubenstein said he was "very disappointed" by the high court's refusal to act but would be ready to personally retry Smith, now 38, in the killing of Richard G. Sharp at his Middletown pharmacy on June 17, 1983.
NEWS
April 27, 2011 | By MICHAEL HINKELMAN, hinkelm@phillynews.com 215-854-2656
After speaking with the widow of slain police officer Daniel Faulkner, District Attorney Seth Williams said he would appeal a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals here yesterday awarding convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal a new sentencing hearing. Williams will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the appeals court's decision and reinstate Abu-Jamal's death sentence. The D.A. said Maureen Faulkner was "devastated" by the ruling. Abu-Jamal, 57, was convicted in 1982 of first-degree murder in Faulkner's slaying and was sentenced to death.
NEWS
September 18, 1990 | By Jim Smith, Daily News Staff Writer
A federal appeals court yesterday ordered a new trial for a former Pennsylvania state trooper who had been convicted and sentenced to an 18-month prison term for receiving child pornography in the mail. The unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals said retired Trooper John Brennen Jr.'s conviction and sentence had to be set aside because of improper jury instructions by the trial judge. Brennen, 47, who worked the communications desk at Belmont Barracks in Philadelphia, was arrested in 1988 after receiving child pornography mailed to him by an undercover Philadelphia police officer, Dennis Guzy.
NEWS
July 7, 1990 | By Walter F. Roche Jr., Inquirer Staff Writer
Attorneys for former municipal union leader Earl Stout and his co- defendants charged yesterday that a last-minute change in jury instructions by a federal judge was a key factor in the guilty verdicts returned against their clients on May 4. "You changed the rules after the ninth inning," defense attorney Robert Madden told U.S. District Court Judge J. William Ditter. "It's just not fair. I just sat there and cried when I heard (the instructions)," said Madden. Madden's emotional plea came as he and two other lawyers argued in support of motions to overturn Stout's conviction on racketeering, mail fraud and embezzlement charges.
NEWS
February 1, 2013 | By Michael Matza, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Centre County judge denied Jerry Sandusky a new trial Wednesday, ruling that the former Pennsylvania State University football coach had sufficient time to prepare his defense to charges that he sexually assaulted teenage boys. Sandusky was convicted in June of 45 counts of sexual abuse of minors in a case that drew international attention. He was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison. Sandusky, 68, argued that the denial of a trial delay amounted to a denial of his Sixth Amendment right to an attorney.
NEWS
September 18, 2013 | By Allison Steele, Inquirer Staff Writer
Jerry Sandusky's appeal of his conviction on child sex-abuse charges is set to begin with a hearing Tuesday afternoon in Wilkes-Barre before Superior Court. The former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach, who is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence for molesting 10 boys, is not expected to appear as part of the proceedings this week. The hearing is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Sandusky, who was convicted in June 2012 on 45 counts of sexual abuse, is seeking a new trial.
NEWS
April 10, 1991 | By Walter F. Roche Jr., Inquirer Staff Writer
The attorney for convicted former municipal union leader Earl Stout told an incredulous panel of federal judges yesterday that union board members had given their leader complete authority to take whatever action he saw fit. "They were lazy. They wanted Earl to do it all," James Crawford told the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Crawford, stating that Stout never personally benefited from any of his actions, said the blanket board approval refuted federal prosecutors' claims that Stout repeatedly violated union rules and betrayed his fiduciary duty to union members.
SPORTS
June 27, 1989 | By M. G. Missanelli, Inquirer Staff Writer
The report of John M. Dowd to baseball commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti included instructions on what legal weight to give testimony in his 225-page report, released yesterday afternoon by Hamilton County (Ohio) Common Pleas Court Judge Norbert A. Nadel. Dowd gave Giamatti specific guidelines on how to treat: The credibility of a witness who has a personal outcome in the trial. The testimony of an informant. The testimony of a witness convicted of a crime.
NEWS
July 25, 1997 | By Julia C. Martinez, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
In a significant ruling yesterday, a federal appeals court threw out the conviction of a man sentenced to die for the murder of a Bucks County pharmacist during a 1983 robbery and ordered him conditionally released. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia, in a 2-1 decision, ruled that Clifford Smith's constitutional rights were violated during his trial 14 years earlier because of ambiguous instructions to the jury by the trial judge. The court ordered Smith released from prison unless the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania retries him for first-degree murder within 180 days.
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NEWS
September 18, 2013 | By Allison Steele, Inquirer Staff Writer
Jerry Sandusky's appeal of his conviction on child sex-abuse charges is set to begin with a hearing Tuesday afternoon in Wilkes-Barre before Superior Court. The former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach, who is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence for molesting 10 boys, is not expected to appear as part of the proceedings this week. The hearing is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Sandusky, who was convicted in June 2012 on 45 counts of sexual abuse, is seeking a new trial.
NEWS
July 17, 2013 | ASSOCIATED PRESS
MIAMI - A juror in the George Zimmerman trial said yesterday that the actions of the neighborhood-watch volunteer and Trayvon Martin both led to the teenager's fatal shooting last year, but that Zimmerman didn't actually break the law. The woman known as Juror B37 told CNN's Anderson Cooper that Zimmerman made some poor decisions leading up to the shooting, but that Martin wasn't innocent, either. "I think both were responsible for the situation they had gotten themselves into," said the juror, who is planning to write a book about the trial.
NEWS
May 2, 2013 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia jury considering the murder case against abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell begins its first full day of deliberations Wednesday after lengthy legal instructions from the judge and several hours of review. The Common Pleas Court jury of seven women and five men deliberated about three hours Tuesday after Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart gave two hours of instructions in the law involving murder, abortion, theft, and racketeering. "You've heard the case," Minehart told the jurors.
NEWS
February 1, 2013 | By Michael Matza, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Centre County judge denied Jerry Sandusky a new trial Wednesday, ruling that the former Pennsylvania State University football coach had sufficient time to prepare his defense to charges that he sexually assaulted teenage boys. Sandusky was convicted in June of 45 counts of sexual abuse of minors in a case that drew international attention. He was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison. Sandusky, 68, argued that the denial of a trial delay amounted to a denial of his Sixth Amendment right to an attorney.
NEWS
May 9, 2012 | By Mensah M. Dean, Daily News Staff Writer
DURING HIS closing argument Tuesday in the trial of Sabina Rose O'Donnell's alleged killer, a city prosecutor seized on DNA evidence that linked Donte Johnson to her 2010 rape and murder. A defense attorney, for his part, said that the "feeble-minded" Johnson may have been "one can short of a sixpack" but that he was not guilty. The arguments, delivered to a packed Philadelphia courtroom, were followed by jury instructions from Common Pleas Judge Glenn Bronson. The jury deliberated for about two hours before going home for the day. Johnson, 20, is accused of stalking the 20-year-old Northern Liberties waitress as she rode a borrowed bicycle home on Girard Avenue early on June 2, 2010.
NEWS
April 27, 2011 | By MICHAEL HINKELMAN, hinkelm@phillynews.com 215-854-2656
After speaking with the widow of slain police officer Daniel Faulkner, District Attorney Seth Williams said he would appeal a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals here yesterday awarding convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal a new sentencing hearing. Williams will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the appeals court's decision and reinstate Abu-Jamal's death sentence. The D.A. said Maureen Faulkner was "devastated" by the ruling. Abu-Jamal, 57, was convicted in 1982 of first-degree murder in Faulkner's slaying and was sentenced to death.
NEWS
January 27, 2008 | By Emilie Lounsberry INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
In the nearly 26 years since his conviction for the murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner, the international tempest over Mumia Abu-Jamal has fixed primarily on this question: Did he do it, or was he framed by Philadelphia police? Yet inside the chambers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Abu-Jamal's innocence or guilt is not the issue. Since May, three judges have been weighing whether to reinstate his death sentence, overturned in 2001. If they do, his last hope will be the U.S. Supreme Court, which hears fewer than 2 percent of all petitions filed each year.
NEWS
April 12, 2007 | By George Anastasia INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A federal appellate court panel in Massachusetts has overturned the drug-trafficking conviction of Robert Luisi Jr., a wiseguy who had a brief and checkered career as a Boston-area operative for Philadelphia mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino. A three-judge panel ruled Tuesday that the judge at Luisi's 2002 trial had failed to instruct the jury properly on an entrapment defense. Luisi, 46, was convicted and sentenced to 235 months in prison. A representative for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston said yesterday that the office was reviewing the appellate decision and would have no comment.
NEWS
August 12, 2003 | By Joel Bewley INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A new trial must be held to determine whether a state corrections officer should be awarded punitive damages for sexual harassment by his coworkers, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled yesterday. The justices upheld a 2001 appeals court ruling that because of improper instructions to the jury, Robert Lockley Jr., a guard at the Mid-State Correctional Facility at Fort Dix, was not entitled to the $3 million in punitive damages he had been awarded. Lockley's attorney, Linda Wong, said yesterday that they were ready to take the matter to trial again.
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