Vacated Verdict Highlights the Importance of Through Legal Defense Work

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | May 24, 2024 | 0 Comments

On February 1, Michael Baltimore was convicted of domestic violence in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. However, that judgment was soon vacated when the DA learned that there'd been unreported contact between one of the expert witnesses and a jury member.  

Unreported contact violates Pennsylvania's Rules of Civil Procedure, which, among other things, protects a defendant's right to a fair trial. The judge's dismissal marks a clear commitment to preserving both those rights and the integrity of the justice process. It also highlights the kind of impact that a thorough legal defense team can have on the outcome of a case.  

For questions about defense proceedings in your case, we want to hear from you. Call the LLF Law Firm Team today at (888) 535-3686 or contact us online, and let us help ensure your rights are protected.  

What Happened in Baltimore's Case? 

Baltimore was accused of domestic violence, and his trial took place this year between January 31 and February 1, 2024. On January 31—after she'd already testified for the day—the expert witness went out to eat at a local restaurant. There, she was approached by a member of the jury, who thanked her for her testimony.  

Once she realized who she was talking to, the witness immediately terminated the conversation, and—although they did not discuss any facts of the case—she still called the assistant DA immediately to report the conversation.  

Unfortunately, that information was not relayed to the court until after the jury returned with their guilty verdict on February 2, 2024.  

Pennsylvania Law Protects a Defendant's Right to a Fair Trial 

Witnesses are not allowed to have contact with jury members outside the courtroom. This prevents prejudice and undue influence and ensures each jury member has the same information.  

If outside contact does occur, the court is generally allowed to call an alternative juror to fill the other's place. However, this wasn't possible in Baltimore's case. Here, the guilty verdict had already been given. Since Pennsylvania law protects a defendant from double jeopardy—that is, being tried on the same facts more than once—the judge had no choice but to dismiss the case altogether.  

A Thorough Defense Can Make All the Difference  

Baltimore's case underscores the crucial role that a comprehensive legal investigation plays in ensuring a fair trial. A good defense attorney will meticulously scrutinize evidence and identify inconsistencies like these—both in and outside the courtroom—to ensure they do everything possible to defend their client's interest.  

Every person has a right to have their story heard in court. When faced with unsurmountable odds, having a competent and dedicated legal team by your side can make all the difference in achieving a fair and just outcome.  

If you've been accused of a crime and are looking for an exceptional defense to protect your rights, we want to hear from you. Call the LLF Law Firm Team today at (888) 535-3686 or contact us online, and together, we can help secure the best possible outcome for your case.  

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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