Category Archives: Pittsburgh Homicide Lawyer

Fighting Back! The Use of Affirmative Defenses in Your Criminal Case

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Affirmative defenses, generally speaking, are defenses that if proven by the defendant, mitigate or excuse the conduct of the defendant on legal grounds, even though absent the defense the defendant could have potentially been found guilty of the underlying criminal charge. Affirmative defenses include self-defense, defense of others, defense of property, insanity, intoxication, mistake of fact or law, consent, accident, coercion and duress, execution of public duty, entrapment, and other offense-specific defenses.

Once an affirmative defense has been raised, it is up to the Commonwealth to disprove that defense (with exceptions).  This does not mean that in a criminal case the Commonwealth must disprove all potential affirmative defenses. Instead, affirmative defenses must be raised before they must be contested by the Commonwealth.

A thorough explanation of each defense could constitute the basis of their own post, but generally speaking, most affirmative defenses include a justification or excuse for the intent element necessary to convict of a crime.  For example, in a Simple Assault case, it is a necessary element that the defendant attempted to cause or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused bodily injury to another.  With the affirmative defenses of self-defense or defense of others, the intent is to protect the self or someone else, not to cause injury to the one assaulted.

Not every affirmative defense puts the burden on the Commonwealth to disprove it beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, to establish the defense of entrapment, the burden is on the defense to show that the evidence demonstrates that the evidence shows that it is more likely than not (a preponderance of the evidence standard) that the defendant was entrapped.  Likewise in the case of an insanity defense, the burden is on the Defense to establish that a defense of insanity applies by a preponderance of the evidence.  Most affirmative defenses may be brought up for the first time at trial, with the exception of defenses such as insanity or mental infirmity which require notice to the Commonwealth in a timely manner.

If you or a loved one has been accused of a criminal offense it is important that you retain an experienced attorney who can assess your potential culpability and mount a serious defense to the charges.  Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law is a National Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer and Personal Injury Attorney with offices in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Morgantown, West Virginia. Call now for a consultation! Our number is (412) 212-3878 for our clients in Pennsylvania and (304) 712-2089 for those in West Virginia.

Be Prepared From the Start: The Basics of Preliminary Hearings

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The preliminary hearing is one of the first, most important steps in any new criminal case. If you or a loved one has been accused of a criminal offense you may be wondering what the role of the preliminary hearing is in the proceedings. You may be wondering what the potential outcomes of a preliminary hearing are, and you may have questions as to your rights and obligations in regards to the hearing.

At a preliminary hearing, the Commonwealth has the burden to show that they have what is called a prima facie case relating the charges alleged. Prima Facie is latin for “at first sight.” Generally speaking, the Commonwealth must present evidence and testimony that, if taken as true, would arise to a violation of the criminal code. The burden of proof is lower at a preliminary hearing, as hearsay is admissible as evidence. Also, the preliminary hearing is not the time for challenges based on the credibility of witnesses. Instead, the only assessment is whether, if what the Commonwealth is presenting is taken at face value, that those allegations would meet the elements of the crimes charged.

A majority of cases that reach a preliminary hearing are bound over for court. The preliminary hearing is not a trial. It is merely the beginning of your criminal case. In some cases the goal of the preliminary hearing is to have the charges dismissed based upon a finding of a lack of a prima facie case. However, a preliminary hearing serves other functions important to the defense. It is often the first opportunity to hear what the Commonwealth is offering as evidence against you. This is the first step to begin building a proper defense, figuring out who the witnesses will be and what potential evidence is out there ahead of discovery. Also witnesses for the Commonwealth will have testimony on the record that can be used against them at a potential suppression hearing or at trial.

In some cases, it may be a good idea to waive the preliminary hearing. Though a preliminary hearing is important in many cases, often times waiving a preliminary hearing can have benefits as well. An attorney may at times negotiate a reduction in bail or potential recommendations for programs such as ARD in which the waiver of the preliminary hearing is used as a bargaining chip.

If you or a loved one has an upcoming preliminary hearing, now is the time to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney. The preliminary hearing is the first of many strategic moves for defense counsel to handle that will begin to shape your entire case. Attorney Frank Walker has defended hundreds of criminal cases in Allegheny County and the surrounding areas and can aid you in building the best legal defense possible. Call the offices of Frank Walker Law at (412) 315-7441 to set up a consultation today!

#Pittsburgh Criminal Attorneys Speak on #Ferguson, #MikeBrown and #Witness Safety on #LynnHayesFreelandShow with @KDKA

Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law Joins fellow Pittsburgh CFrank Walker Law Talk show Pittsburgh Lawyerriminal Lawyer Todd Hollis as guests on the KDKA Lynn Hayes Freeland show this Saturday morning, August 30, 2014 at 6:30am Est and Sunday Morning, August 31 2014 at 6:00am EST.

Attorneys Hollis and Walker will discuss in detail, the Mike Brown incident in Ferguson, Missouri and the investigation and the potential grand jury indictment of the officer involved. Also, the Criminal Defense Attorneys will discuss the rash of recent deaths of witnesses involved in #Pittsburgh criminal cases. Finally, the attorneys will reveal the one thing every #CriminalDefenseAttorney should tell their clients.

Attorney ToddHollis

You do not want to miss this show! Tune in early Saturday or Sunday morning or set your DVR to KDKA TV to catch this lively discussion on the Lynn Hayes Freeland Show.

Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law is a National Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer and Personal Injury Attorney with offices in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Morgantown West Virginia. Attorney Walker is also a member of the National College for DUI Defense and qualified as a Pennsylvania Death Penalty Defense Attorney.

If you or someone you love are facing criminal charges or seriously injured in an accident in WV or PA, contact Attorney Frank Walker immediately at 412-315-744124 hours a day, 7 days a week for aggressive and experienced Criminal Defense or Representation in a Civil Case.

 

 

#FrankWalkerLaw – #Pittsburgh Attorney Obtains Death Penalty Certification

Frank Walker Law - Death Penalty Certified

Pittsburgh Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law is pleased to announce his recent certification to accept Capital Cases pursuant to Rule 801 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure.

When reached at his Pittsburgh Office, Attorney Walker commented on the recent certification, “I am honored to join this unique and accomplished group of Attorneys currently fighting the Death Penalty.  I have always maintained that Murder cases are already complex in nature, where clients are facing Life without the possibility of Parole, but Death is Different because it is final. Therefore, I sought the certification to assist with the clientele in need of an aggressive and experienced Death Penalty Defense Attorney.”

According to the Pennsylvania Rules, Death Penalty qualified attorneys must complete and maintain a required amount of Continuing Education to qualify for the certification. Once obtained, Attorneys can maintain their certification by continuing to complete the requisite hours in the specific area of Capital Case Litigation.


Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law
 is a National Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer and Personal Injury Attorney with offices in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Morgantown West Virginia. Attorney Walker is also a member of the National College for DUI Defense and qualified as a Pennsylvania Death Penalty Defense Attorney.

If you or someone you love are facing criminal charges or seriously injured in an accident in WV or PA, contact Attorney Frank Walker immediately at 412-315-744124 hours a day, 7 days a week for aggressive and experienced Criminal Defense or Representation in a Civil Case.

#Pittsburgh Police Make Arrest in Northview Heights Shooting

Police arrested a man in connection with a shooting in Northview Heights over the past weeks

Police arrested the man earlier this week on suspicion of attempted murder, for his part in an altercation and shooting. The 35 year-old suspect was allegedly found unconscious at about 11:30 pm on Saturday, lying on the ground with a gunshot wound to the leg and bleeding from his mouth. According to the criminal complaint, the suspect and three other men were involved in a fight which was broken up by a security guard.

The suspect then allegedly pulled out a gun and a struggle ensued. Police believe that both the suspect and the victim were shot during the struggle, and the suspect may have accidentally shot himself in the leg. The victim was also found on the scène with a gunshot wound to the groin.

The suspect is being charged with various counts, including attempted murder, forgery, and possession with intent to deliver. The latter charges are as a result of counterfeit money and heroin which were found on the suspect during his arrest.

Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law is a National Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer and Personal Injury Attorney with offices in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Morgantown West Virginia.

Carnegie Man to Serve 7 to 14 Years for Third Degree Murder of Step-Father

A Pittsburgh area man pled guilty to killing his stepfather last year, in an incident which saw the man shoot his stepfather following a fight.

The 20 year-old Carnegie man will spend 7 to 14 years behind bars as a result of a plea agreement in which he pled guilty to third-degree murder. The incident in question reportedly began when the suspect’s mother was involved in a domestic dispute on July 27, and asked her son to come over to change the locks. The suspect complied, but when his stepfather arrived at the home and found he had been locked out, he allegedly entered through an unsecured window.

Upon entering the home the stepfather realized that a television, which had been placed in a location on the first floor, was gone – not knowing that it had been taken upstairs. He called the suspect, who then went to the home to check what his mother. The two engaged in a heated argument which became physical, but the fight was broken up. Suddenly the suspect pulled a gun from his waistband and fired, hitting the victim in the chest and killing him.

At the time of this writing, no Appeal had been filed.

Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law is a National Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer and Personal Injury Attorney with offices in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Morgantown West Virginia.

If you or someone you love are facing criminal charges or seriously injured in an accident, contact Attorney Frank Walker immediately at 412-315-744124 hours a day, 7 days a week for aggressive and experienced Criminal Defense or Representation in a Civil Case.

Westmoreland Man Accused of Killing His Girlfriend

A Westmoreland man has been arrested and accused of being responsible for his girlfriend’s death.

The body of the 52 year-old victim was found in a Laurel Mountain home on a Friday at about 10:00 PM. Family members had asked police to check or her because they had not heard from her for several days. Upon entering the home, the responding officer noticed blood in the kitchen and found the victim’s body near a rear door. Apparently officers also found several packages of Band-Aids in the bathroom.

Police say that a friend of the suspect informed them that he had a large cut on his hand the day after the alleged murder, and that the suspect claimed that he suffered the gash in an incident involving a cat. When police located the suspect he apparently had injuries to both hands. According to an autopsy report the victim died from blunt force trauma to the head.

The accused was detained at the Westmoreland County Jail pending a Preliminary Hearing for charges of Homicide.

Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law is a National Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer and Personal Injury Attorney with offices in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Morgantown West Virginia.

If you or someone you love are facing criminal charges or seriously injured in an accident, contact Attorney Frank Walker immediately at 412-315-744124 hours a day, 7 days a week for aggressive and experienced Criminal Defense or Representation in a Civil Case.