CLEs, Meetings and Events
Sentence Risk Assessment. PACDL President Bradley Winnick presented testimony before the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing regarding its revisions to the Sentence Risk Assessment Instrument for use by the sentencing court to help determine the appropriate sentence within the limits established by law. President Winnick indicated that the proposed instrument's purpose is duplicative of existing sentencing guidelines and the pre-sentence investigation report practice. His testimony also voiced the concern that reliance upon gender as a risk factor calculation violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. He urged the Commission to inform the General Assembly to rethink its mandate. Act 2010-95 mandated the Commission to adopt a Sentence Risk Assessment Instrument which may be used as an aid in evaluating the risk that an offender will reoffend and be a threat to public safety. PACDL testimony is available here.
Investigating Grand Jury Issuance of Search Warrants. On November 2, 2018, PACDL filed an amicus brief with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in the case of In Re Return of Seized Property of Lackawanna County (93 MM 2018) arguing that the supervising judge of the 41st Statewide Investigating Grand Jury, had no authority to issue a search warrant for property located in Lackawanna County. Specifically, the brief argued that there is no statutory, rule-based or decisional basis for the conclusion that the powers of an investigating grand jury include the authority to issue search warrants, the legislature by including an express listing of certain powers intended to exclude the omiitted power of search warrants, and that excluding search warrant issuance will not lead to any unreasonable result. A copy of the brief can be found here.