Category Archive: Criminal Defense

  1. 3 Reasons Why You Need a DUI Attorney in PA

    An arrest for driving under the influence can have a significant and immediate impact on your life, as well as long lasting effects.

    In Pennsylvania, a DUI requires a mandatory prison sentence and license suspension. Failing to mount an effective defense from the start of your case can leave you in a position where you are vulnerable to elevated penalties.

    Even if you don’t end up hiring a DUI attorney, having a legal consultation can help you figure out your options.

    Here are a few reasons why you should talk to a Pennsylvania DUI attorney:

    Technical Defense Regarding the Arrest

    Police need probable cause to pull you over. If you are pulled over and the police do not have probable cause, all evidence gathered at that stop can be suppressed.

    Blood and breathalyzer tests are not flawless Many things can go wrong during the testing process or the processing of evidence that can result in an incorrect BAC number. We request records from the police to verify that the breathalyzer was correctly calibrated. This small request has resulted in the discovery of many incorrectly calibrated devices.

    Consulting With an Expert

    Standardized Field Sobriety Tests Experts. These experts can use your performance roadside test to support the possibility that you were not under the influence at the time of your arrest. An expert can testify that you were neither physically nor mentally impaired at the time of your arrest, which will cast doubt on the prosecution’s case. Pennsylvania police officers do not conduct, explain, and/or grade Standardized Field Sobriety Tests properly, and failure in any of these areas could mean the test is invalid and cannot be used against you or at the very least, strengthen your defense.

    Accident Reconstruction Experts. If your DUI involved an accident, injury, or death, an expert accident reconstructionist can offer a differing opinion on what happened leading up to and during an accident, and show evidence that may prove that an accident was not your fault or was unavoidable. This can be especially helpful in DUI Accident, Aggravated Assault by DUI, or DUI Homicide cases where the fault of the accident may be the difference between reasonable doubt and no reasonable doubt.

    Avoid Prison Time and Shorten License Suspension

    We Know the Law. At Clymer, Musser & Sarno, P.C., our lawyers know the law and the full range of possible defenses. We are capable of challenging the evidence in your case or negotiating for the best possible outcome like ARD or even House Arrest in lieu of the mandatory jail time. Our goal is to avoid jail and loss of license whenever possible, through motions to dismiss or by taking your case to trial.

    Contact Us

    If you have questions about a DUI charge you’re facing, call us at 717-299-7101.

  2. No Assault: Local Man Not Guilty on Three of Five Charges Involving Infant Son

    On September 24, 2015, the jury found Kory Merkey not guilty of two counts of assault and not guilty one count of recklessly endangering another person. Merkey was found guilty of two counts of endangering the welfare of his infant son.

    “Owen was severely vitamin D deficient at birth,” said Michael Holick, Boston Medical Center’s director of Bone Healthcare Clinic. “Several of the so-called fractures are in fact consistent with x-ray findings for infantile rickets.”

    Holick testified that the only fracture not caused by rickets occurred when “Owen’s father, responding to Owen’s older sister, as he was walking through the hallway turned quickly hitting Owen’s head on the door frame on February 6, 2014.”

    Owen was immediately taken to the emergency department for treatment after the accident.

    “Kory consistently took Owen to get medical treatment, because he did not intentionally harm his son and he cared deeply about Owen’s well-being,” said Defense Attorney Jeff Conrad.

    “Korey is a good man… The Merkeys are pleased Kory was found not guilty of the most serious charges.”

    Photo credit Anne Worner.

  3. Government Should Hold Up Its End of the Agreement

    The government breached its cooperation agreement by re-indicting Timo Miller, Attorney Jeff Conrad argued on September 9, 2015. During oral argument in Buffalo, New York, Conrad sought the dismissal of the new charges against Miller.

    In 2011, the government entered into a cooperation agreement with Miller and dropped charges filed in Vermont.

    Since then, Conrad argued, Miller has testified truthfully on multiple occasions in fulfillment of the cooperation agreement. Accordingly, the government’s refiling of charges was inappropriate and the charges should be dismissed.

    Miller, an American citizen and permanent resident of Nicaragua, was charged under the International Parental Crime Act, for assisting Lisa Miller (unrelated) in purchasing plane tickets for herself and her daughter. Ms. Miller traveled to Nicaragua in 2009 while in the midst of a custody battle with her lesbian, ex-lover. She and her daughter remain in Nicaragua.


  4. Harassment Charges for Church Discipline Dismissed

    On April 20, 2015, the court dismissed all harassment charges arising from Harvest Bible Chapel of King of Prussia counseling members as part of church discipline.

    “Pastor Townsend and his leaders were not afraid to stand up for what is right and to stand strongly upon their right to practice their religion as God has called them to do,” said Defense Attorney Jeff Conrad of Clymer Conrad PC.

    “[We] give all of the praise and glory to God for this victory in stopping the unconstitutional prosecution of the Church.”

    Harvest Bible Chapel leaders had attempted to council two members of the church to persuade the couple to stop gossiping within the church. In response the couple contacted Detective Jerome Staquet of Upper Merion Township Police Department. On February 25, 2015, Satquet filed harassment charges against Pastor Matt Townsend, Assistant Pastor Scott Allison, and Elders Timothy Cole, Howard Sizemore, and Bevan Greiner of Harvest Bible Chapel.

    At the April 20, 2015, trial before Magisterial District Judge James P. Gallagher of Bridgeport, Pennsylvania, Conrad said, “Judge Gallagher quickly saw … the unconstitutional nature of the charges and dismissed all counts against both pastors and all of the elders.”

    Photo credit.

  5. Self-Surrender: Not as It Appears

    Felix Santiago-Caraballo self-surrendered on Wednesday, March 11, 2015, after being charged with aggravated assault and unlawful restraint related to an alleged incident with his two children and their mother. Santiago-Caraballo had been wanted since March 6, 2015, and surrendered before Magisterial District Judge John Winters with the assistance of his attorney, Jeff Conrad.

    Conrad said the charges will be “actively defended” because “the facts are going to be a bit different than initially reported in this case. Things aren’t always as they appear.”

    Read more here.

    Photo credit Jenny Downing.

  6. 6 Months of Boot Camp for Teen Burglary

    Friday, December 5, 2014, Jeff Conrad negotiated a six-month sentence at Quehanna Motivational Boot Camp for a young man who previously pleaded guilty to burglary, robbery, and impersonating police.

    Read more here.

  7. Drunk Shooter Seeks Downgraded Murder Charge

    Jeff Conrad said he may be able to get his client’s first degree murder charge reduced to third degree because the client was drunk.

    First degree murder requires that the perpetrator acted “with malice and a specific intent to kill” (18 Pa.C.S.A. § 2502).

    Conrad explained that he did not believe a highly intoxicated individual is capable of forming specific intent. Intoxication can be a defense that reduces first degree murder to third degree murder, Conrad continued, if the defense can show that the defendant was highly intoxicated at the time of the offense.

    “We found out from him and [another witness] that he was… highly intoxicated at the time of the homicide,” said Conrad.

    Christopher A. Johnson, 23, of Columbia, was charged with first degree murder after shooting a man in an altercation near The Village bar.

    He was charged with first degree homicide, receiving stolen property, and illegal possession of a firearm.

    “I don’t know if the intoxication defense is here or not,” Conrad said, “but I have to do the investigation.”

    Conrad, who was court appointed to represent Johnson, said, “I’m actively searching for anybody that would have been drinking with Chris that night.”

    Read the full story here.

    Photo credit Tim RT.

  8. Teen Acquitted of Molotov Cocktail Charges

    A Mount Joy teen was acquitted June 27, 2014, of felony arson charges.

    The 17-year-old high school senior was accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at a Mount Joy home in January. He was charged with felony counts of arson, risking catastrophe, and conspiracy.

    Lancaster County Judge David Workman adjudicated him not delinquent after a two-day non-jury trial.

    Defense Attorney Jeff Conrad said the credibility of the Commonwealth’s three eye-witnesses “was completely undermined and their stories did not hold water.”

    The teen’s mother further testified that he was at home at the time of the incident.

    “It was a wonderful victory for [him]. He is a good kid that is going to go on and do big things,” Conrad said of the acquittal.

    The teen was a star athlete being scouted by several colleges. Conrad said a conviction could have ruined his college prospects.

    The cocktail did not explode and caused no injuries. It was found in the grass at the home.

    Read the full story here.

    Photo credit Jes.

  9. Fine for Rapho Township Wedding Barn Owners

    Monday, Carl and Nancy Garman were held in contempt of court for failing to obey the court’s order to cease holding weddings at their Rapho Township barn. Attorney Jeff Conrad was able to avoid jail time for his clients.

    The Garmans received a strongly worded jail threat for any further infractions and a $3,000 fine.

    Conrad said, “[Garman] wants to do as he likes on his property. [But] I was able to explain to [the Garmans], they’re not going to overcome zoning laws.”

    Conrad  convinced his clients that zoning laws “are constitutional.”

    The Garmans had wrangled with Rapho Township for years about their believed property right to hold weddings in their barn. Rapho Township granted conditional approval in June 2011 if the Garmans installed sprinklers, exit signs, and a paved parking area.

    The Garmans never complied with the township’s conditions, and even ignored township citations and a cease and desist order given last October.

    In January, the Garmans signed a settlement agreement saying no further events would be held on their property. However, when the township learned that seven more events were scheduled, they requested an emergency hearing.

    Judge Donald Totaro heard the issue on March 14, 2014, and ordered that no further events be held at the property. On March 15, 2014,  a previously-scheduled wedding on was held on the property.

    Judge Totaro was not pleased by the Garmans’ apparent disregard for his order, “Your conduct was egregious, a blatant violation of a court order, and it occurred the very next day. Your conduct was willful, intentional and deliberate; you made a calculated decision… All of these factors would suggest a jail sentence is appropriate.”

    Mentioning that he had not threatened jail in the March 14 hearing, Judge Totaro gave the Garmans a $3,000 fine, which included almost $2,000 in township attorneys’ fees and costs.

    Judge Totaro warned, “If you violate that injunction again, you will go to jail.”

    “We’re thankful the judge decided to impose just a fine,” said Conrad.

    Read more here.

  10. Probation, No Jail for Accidental Infant Gun Death

    Friday, the father whose accidental gun shot resulted in the death of his two-month-old daughter received six years of probation. Attorney Jeff Conrad’s client, G. Scott Davis, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment, and endangering the welfare of a child.

    Davis will not receive any jail time.

    “I was so proud of my wife and family,” said Davis. “I had such big dreams for [my daughter].” Davis has been haunted daily by flashbacks of the event.

    Conrad said his client has contemplated suicide, but has been helped through this anguish by his family, friends, and church.

    Lancaster County Judge Dennis Reinaker acknowledged that the accidental shooting “will haunt you for the rest of your life.” Judge Reinaker said jail time would serve no purpose and only increase the tragedy.

    The 36-year-old Davis was handling a recently purchased handgun, when the gun accidentally fired and hit the child sitting in a swing across the room. Davis had very little experience with guns and had only fired a gun twice in his life before.

    Davis could have been sentenced to up to 15 years, but the open guilty plea left the sentence up to the judge’s discretion.

    Davis had no previous criminal record. As conditions of his sentence, Davis will owe prosecutorial costs, have 250 hours of community service, and never be able to own a firearm.

    Conrad confirmed that Davis has no desire to ever own a gun again.

    Read the background story here and here; or more about sentencing here.