CRIMINAL DEFENSE / Articles
CRIMINAL DEFENSE / Articles
 

Articles

To Trust The Jury Is To Trust The Process

By Caroline G. Donato It was around 7:00 p.m. on Monday, February 27, 2017. Pete Kratsa and I were sitting in his office waiting for the phone to ring. It was the culmination of a five day jury trial, weeks of contentious pre-trial litigation, and nearly two years of attempting to persuade the Commonwealth to withdraw the charges and convince two different courts to dismiss the charges. Going to trial was not a fleeting decision. It was a last resort. Our client was a young college student wrongfully accused of Rape. From the outset it was our position that the evidence was...

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How to Choose a PA Criminal Defense Attorney

Being in the position of having to retain a criminal defense attorney is not something any rational person would actually look forward to. While my clients are generally pleased with the outcome of their cases, when we say our goodbyes they uniformly tell me they hope to never see me again. I get that. The above said, good people (whom I frequently refer to as “the uninitiated”) find themselves in the foreign position of having to select a criminal defense lawyer, whether due to a pending government investigation or recent charges. This article offers some “Do’s” and “Don’ts” to guide the...

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Why You Should Not Talk to the Police Without an Attorney

“But, the Officer Said I Didn’t Need a Lawyer!” Let me preface what I’m about to say by allowing that some of my very best friends are police officers and detectives. I respect the work they do. We can be good friends outside of work, but at the same time professional and appropriately detached within our work, and fight fair between the lines. The professional collegiality is one of the things I like most about practicing as a criminal defense lawyer in Chester County. The above said, if one of my detective friends were investigating something I allegedly did (…I didn’t do it), theywould be...

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MacElree Harvey Names New Shareholder

[This article was originally published on macelree.com] MacElree Harvey is pleased to announce that Peter E. Kratsa has become a Shareholder in the firm. “Peter Kratsa is a knowledgeable and excellent criminal defense lawyer who leads the firm’s newly formed Corporate Compliance, Investigations and Criminal Defense Group. As the chair of the litigation department, I am happy that Peter’s talents have led to him becoming a Shareholder in the firm and know those talents will serve the firm’s clients well in even more ways in the future,” said Al Gollatz. Peter Kratsa is a Shareholder with over 20 years of experience practicing law, focusing on criminal law...

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Protection from Intimidation Order: Another Reason to Avoid Social Media

“Can I get a Restraining Order?” That’s a question I’m typically asked once or twice a year by a discontented neighbor, co-worker, or student.  Until July 1, 2015, my answer was “…not unless you slept with them or are related to them.” In my experience, such disagreements abated and, frankly, both parties were better off for having avoided court proceedings. Well, post- July 1, 2015, the answer to the above question is quite different when Pennsylvania’s “Protection of Victims of Sexual Violence or Intimidation” statute was passed by our typically (over-) reactionary Legislature. In addition to provisions allowing for Restraining Orders for victims...

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Guilty: A Verdict of Fact or lnjustice?

By Caroline G. Donato It was always pretty clear to anyone who knows me or my family that I'd practice law. My parents are both attorneys. Growing up I remember classmates and their parents asking me how my dad can stand to represent and defend guilty people. I vividly remember being offended by the question. My dad, however, was never affected by this reaction. He'd consistently say, "Caroline, I protect each client's rights, and I do that until the Government proves that it should take them away." Those words have always remained with me. From a young age I gravitated towards criminal defense, initially...

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Wine collectors fight to save $160G collection from state-mandated destruction

Greg Wilson, Fox News: Pennsylvania v. 2,447 Bottles of Wine is a death penalty case. The bizarre legal battle involves a Keystone State lawyer whose vino was seized when he was charged with violating the state’s notoriously strict alcohol regulations. The criminal case is over — but now Arthur Goldman and his wife, Melissa Kurtzman, are fighting the state to prevent it from destroying their collection, valued at $160,000. “Art and Melissa deserve the return of their wine,” said Goldman’s attorney, Peter Kratsa. “We believe the facts of the case and the law as applied to the facts of the case will vindicate...

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Want advice? You need a lawyer.

Do you need a lawyer? Depends on who you ask… Not infrequently, I’ll have a new client share with me that the arresting police officer told them “Don’t bother with a lawyer, you don’t need one.” Generally, this occurs in first offense DUI’s and other perceived minor arrests. While police do often (although not always) have good intentions in advising people against retaining counsel, I have found that the officers are frequently providing misinformation to their arrestees as to realistic, best case scenario outcomes of their cases and the consequences attendant to those outcomes. If you ask a lawyer the same question, you...

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Implications of new Pennsylvania DUI Legislation

Pennsylvania DUI laws have changed. Our Pennsylvania Legislature, which generally doesn’t seem to get a lot accomplished, did manage to pass a piece of DUI legislation, which has subsequently been signed into law by the Governor on October 27, 2014.  It would appear that the legislation is a reaction to a recent series of articles in one of our local newspapers, decrying both the lack of enforcement of existing DUI-related legislation, as well as perceived “loopholes” allowing for multiple DUI offenders to escape enhanced punishment (i.e. longer jail sentences). In short, effective sixty days from the signing of this legislation by the governor,...

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Attorney-Client Privilege: The Primary Principle of Criminal Defense

I distinctly recall the look of concern (perhaps, skepticism) on my wife’s face the first time we met. The cause for her concern arose when our conversation hinged on my answer to the question “What do you do for a living, Pete?” “I am a criminal defense lawyer,” I answered. Then the inevitable next question: “How do you defend people knowing they are guilty?” As this was neither the time nor the place to debate the topic, my answer was short “easily.” The attorney-client privilege, applicable to all areas of the law, is especially vital in the practice of criminal defense....

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