UPDATE: Federal Court Releases Man Jailed for 4 Years for Refusing to Decrypt Computer Hard Drives in Child Pornography Case

In 2017, we blogged about a former Philadelphia police officer who has been sitting in jail since Sept. 30, 2015, for refusing to comply with a court order to divulge passwords for two encrypted computer hard drives seized from his home under a search warrant. The hard drives are believed to contain child pornography. The…


Timing Is Everything: When Does PA’s 10-Year Look-Back Period for Enhanced DUI Penalties Begin to Run?

Pennsylvania’s Vehicle Code mandates enhanced sentencing penalties for repeat DUI offenses committed within 10 years of a “prior offense.” But when does the clock begin to run? In a case of unfortunate timing for one DUI defendant, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently provided an answer. Two DUI Offenses In Commonwealth v. Mock, a driver committed…


Police Want Your Computer Password: Does the Fifth Amendment Apply?

The average digital consumer owns 3.23 connected devices, according to marketing research. So, what happens when police ask for your password and providing it would implicate you in a crime? Can you exercise your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refuse to disclose it? In a victory for privacy rights, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania…


Medical Marijuana Is Legal in PA: Can the Smell of Marijuana Give Rise to Probable Cause for a Search Warrant?

With the legalization of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, can police still rely upon the smell of marijuana as a factor for developing probable cause for a search warrant? The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently said “yes.” Strong Odor of Marijuana In Commonwealth v. Batista, police received an anonymous tip about a residence that served as…