The Mazza Law Group, P.C.
2790 W. College Ave., Suite 800
State College, PA 16801 March 10, 2016
(814) 237-6255

Criminal Pre-Trial Success

The criminal pre-trial success stories of criminal defense Attorney Steven Trialonas are summarized below:

Photographs Taken By Police Suppressed before Trial due to Unconstitutional Manner in which they were Obtained

Clinton County woman charged with eight counts of 18 Pa.C.S.A. §4304, Endangering the Welfare of Children, three counts of 18 Pa.C.S.A. §5511, Cruelty to Animals. The primary evidence used to support the charges are photographs of the client’s home in addition to the testimony of some Pennsylvania State Police who had been called out to the home on numerous occasions.

On one such occasion, the trooper met the landlord’s employee at the residence, who told the trooper the client hadn’t paid rent in months, was being allowed to stay there out of the kindness of the landlord’s heart, and had received eviction paperwork. This employee allowed the trooper to enter the residence to walk around and take photographs while the client was not home.

Immediately identifying this search as unconstitutional, experienced criminal defense attorney Steven P. Trialonas filed an omnibus criminal pre-trial motion challenging the legality of the search and seizure of evidence from the client’s home without her permission. Specifically, the search infringed the protections afforded by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and by Article I, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution against unreasonable search and seizures.

At the pre-trial hearing, Attorney Trialonas elicited testimony from both the state trooper as well as the employee that supported suppressing the evidence, namely that the trooper hadn’t verified the eviction proceeding before entering, obtained permission from the resident herself, or obtained a search warrant signed by a judge before entering the home.

The trial court ultimately agreed with Attorney Trialonas, ruling that the warrantless search of the client’s residence was unreasonable, and that the apparent authority exception to the search warrant requirement which stems from “third party consent” did not apply because it was patently obvious that an employee or agent of the landlord does not have authority to consent to the search of a tenant’s apartment.

As a result of the very adept criminal lawyer Steven P. Trialonas, who was able to identify the issues early on and successfully argue them to the court, the photographs, observations, notes, or incident reports generated from the illegal search were deemed inadmissible at trial.