Recent Cases

First Degree Murder

COMMONWEALTH V. J.R.

In this PCRA litigation that spanned nearly four years, Mr. Mosser represented a client who had been convicted of first degree murder in Philadelphia.  After an extensive investigation, it was discovered that a key witness for the Commonwealth was paid $20,000.00 after testifying against our client.  Mr. Mosser uncovered the check receipts from the witness’ bank and the records from the City that showed that a now disgraced homicide detective had facilitated the payment. During Mr. Mosser’s investigation, prosecutorial misconduct was also uncovered that demonstrated that the Commonwealth withheld crucial evidence from the defense.  The murder and related convictions were vacated after arguments and briefing in the PCRA court. 

First Degree Murder

C.W. v. N.W.

Mr. Mosser filed a PCRA petition alleging newly discovered evidence in the form of a witness statement.  This witness relayed what another witness had said about the shooting at issue, but this person had died by the time the statement was relayed to the defense.  The PCRA court dismissed the petition, reasoning that the statement from the deceased was hearsay.  Mr. Mosser argued on appeal that the statement at issue was an excited utterance, which is an exception to the hearsay rule.  The Superior Court agreed and remanded the case for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the circumstances of the statement met the requirements for the evidentiary exception.  After litigating the hearing in the PCRA court, the PCRA petition was granted.

Sentence Reduction

Commonwealth v. J.S.

In this case, our client was initially sentenced to thirty to sixty years years’ incarceration for attempted murder and firearms charges.  The sentence contained a maximum sentence for attempted murder of twenty to forty years.  However, that sentence was illegal because no serious bodily injury happened in this case.  None of our client’s prior lawyers identified this issue so it was never litigated until we were retained.  Since over a decade had passed since our client had been sentenced, PCRA litigation raising this issue was deemed untimely.  Ms. Hockensmith and Mr. Mosser then filed a complex motion to modify the sentence, and the District Attorney’s Office agreed that our client should be resentenced such that the illegal sentence would be removed.  At the sentencing hearing, the Commonwealth again argued for a lengthy sentence.  However, after Mr. Mosser’s arguments were made, the Court sentenced Defendant to a total of nine to eighteen years incarceration with no probation to follow.  By that point, our client had already served seventeen years of his sentence, and as such, was immediately eligible for parole.

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