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Pennsylvania Increases Penalties for Child Abuse and Child Porn

In reaction to the sensational Jerry Sandusky and Catholic clergy molestation scandals, the Pennsylvania Senate has approved one more bill in a broad response aimed at stiffening penalties for child pornography and abuse. In December 2013, the Senate approved a bill to increase the degree of child pornography crimes, up to as high as a… Read More »

Plea Bargaining in Federal Court

Plea bargaining, or the practice of pleading guilty to a lesser charge than that originally lodged, is widely used in the criminal justice system to move cases along and lessen overcrowding in jails. It benefits defendants by reducing the charges and the consequences and enables them to quickly put criminal incidents behind them. But this… Read More »

Pennsylvania Judge Eases Lifetime Registration Requirements for Juvenile Sex Offenders

A York County judge has ruled a Pennsylvania law imposing lifetime registration requirements on juvenile sex offenders unconstitutional. In his controversial ruling, Senior Judge John C. Uhler concluded that the registration provision of Pennsylvania’s Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) prevents the court from considering the many unique attributes of youth offenders and unfairly… Read More »

When Is a Crime Prosecuted in Federal Court Rather Than State Court?

Many crimes can be prosecuted under both state and federal law. So what determines which path prosecutors pick for a particular crime? It turns out that multiple factors affect this decision. Geographical jurisdiction: If your case crosses state lines, you may be looking at federal prosecution. Interstate crimes may include white collar crimes, child pornography… Read More »