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Criminal Defense PACDL: Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Gavel and Bill of Rights
Defending your rights in Pennsylvania since 1988

Calendar of Events

Calendar of Events

2015 Joint Annual Meeting
12 credit hours
Thursday and Friday, April 23 & 24, 2015
Elections and Board of Director's Meeting on Friday, April 24, 2015
The Harrisburg Hilton
1 N. Second Street
Harrisburg, PA






New Members Only Section: U.S. District Court addresses and counties of jurisdiction in Pennsylvania.

PACDL now accepts credit cards.

An Affiliate of NACDL: The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Welcome to the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers website.

The Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is a group comprised of law students and attorneys admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and who are actively engaged in the defense of criminal cases.

To learn more about the benefits of a membership with the PACDL, click here.




PACDL is changing its e-mail address to: Please change your contact information.


The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth has issue a national standard to ensure constitutionally effective representation for all juveniles facing a possible life sentence consistent with Miller v. Alabama, 132 S.Ct. 2455 (2012). Click here for a copy of these guidelines.


PACDL President James A. Swetz has issued a news release on Governor Wolf's declaration of a moratorium of the death penalty in Pennsylvania. Read the news release by clicking here.



On Friday, April 24, 2015, elections for Officers and Members of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers will be held. Anyone wishing to nominate a PACDL Member (including themselves) for a three year term on the Board of Directors should submit a nomination in writing no later than February 23, 2015 to:

PACDL Nominating Committee
115 State Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
FAX 717-234-7462

The election will be held Friday, April 24, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. at the Harrisburg Hilton, 1 N. Second Street, Harrisburg, PA.

Amicus Committee

PACDL’s Amicus Committee spent a busy December, 2014 and filed one Amicus brief with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and joined in a Superior Court Amici filing. Our Amicus Chair, Barbara Zemlock, deserves our thanks and praise for all the 2014 filings. Barb, without you, this would never have been achieved.

In Commonwealth v. Barnes, filed December 23, 2014 in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Middle District, PACDL argued that the activation of police dome lights after pulling up behind a parked car constituted a seizure as a reasonable person would not feel free to leave.  Our thanks go out to David Rudovsky and Jules Epstein for writing this brief. Read the brief by clicking here.

In Commonwealth v. Batts, filed December 26, 2014 in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, Eastern District, PACDL joined with the Juvenile Law Center, the Defender Association of Philadelphia and the Youth Sentencing and Reentry Project in arguing that the imposition of life without parole upon a juvenile is inconsistent with Miller v. Alabama and is unconstitutionally arbitrary and capricious. Thank you to Bradley Bridge, Marsha Levick and Emily Keller.  If you’d like a copy of this brief and are a PACDL Member, send a note to the office at


4/8/14 PACDL files joint Amicus with NACDL in the Third Circuit


Marc Bookman authored an article published in the December 6, 2014 issue of The Atlantic. It is entitled, “Does An Innocent Man Have A Right To Be Exonerated?” It’s about the Arizona v. Youngblood case. Here’s the link:

Simon made President of NACDL

Ted Simon, long time PACDL Member, became President of NACDL at their 2014 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia on August 2, 2014. Read more about it here.


Swetz re-named President of PACDL at 2014 Annual Meeting

Stroudsburg attorney James A Swetz was again elected President of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers at our 2014 annual meeting in Harrisburg.

A Yonkers, N.Y., native and Villanova University School of Law cum laude graduate, Swetz helped found Cramer, Swetz & McManus, one of Monroe County's largest law firms, in Stroudsburg. Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, he has defended many high-profile criminal cases in state and federal courts throughout northeastern Pennsylvania and was listed in Philadelphia Magazine as one of Pennsylvania's top criminal defense lawyers in 2007 and 2009 through 2012.

Newly elected members of our Board of Directors include Hobie Crystle and Christopher Patterson, both of Lancaster; and Brian Jordan, of Stroudsburg.

The 2014 Liberty Award, our highest honor, was given to Bradley Bridge, of the Defender Association of Philadelphia. Also honored was Jules Epstein, of Widener University School of Law, with the 2014 Charles P. Gelso President's Award. Commendations were given to Brian Jordan, Heather Mattes, Eddie Raleigh and Ari Weitzman.

For a full listing of our 2014 - 2015 Officers and Directors, click here.


PACDL Committees

PACDL letter to Franklin County Bench regarding the “Early Accountability Program.”

Expert Witnesses in Sexual Assault Cases -- see Brief Bank tab in Member's Only section


Member Services

The MEMBERS-ONLY section is password-protected and limited to members of PACDL. If you are a member of PACDL and would like to obtain a password, please contact us.

Brief Bank

One of the valuable benefits of membership to PACDL is access to our extensive Brief Bank, a digital library of briefs written and submitted by our members.

PACDL Listserv

The PACDL Listserv is a private email-based discussion group for members of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.








Find a lawyer

Find a Lawyer

We are pleased to offer a searchable database of criminal defense lawyers in Pennsylvania. Click here to search our membership by name or county.

LibertyWatch Online

LibertyWatch Online is the online version of the newsletter that is mailed to PACDL members, featuring updates of important criminal decisions from Pennsylvania's Appellate Courts. To view a sample page, click here.


PACDL accepts checks, Visa and Mastercard as payment options.

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