Top Philadelphia & Pennsylvania Murder and Homicide Legal Articles


Page Updated September 27, 2017

The following Philadelphia, PA murder and homicide law library is brought to you by the Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers at Nenner & Namerow, P.C.  These articles address topics, from how defendants can choose the best criminal defense lawyers for their cases, to defenses individuals present in criminal murder trials.  This legal library is for information only and is not a substitute for legal advice.

If you have questions about a PA criminal case, it is best to consult with an experienced Philadelphia criminal lawyer. David Nenner has a wealth of experience and was recently selected to the 2016 PA Super Lawyers list as a “Top Rated Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer in Philadelphia, PA.”  Mr. Nenner always offers FREE initial consultations. 215.564.0644

  • Philadelphia Criminal Cases – Murder Trials & Self Defense, by a “Top” Rated Philadelphia Criminal Lawyer Defendants on trial for murder in Philadelphia do not have to prove their innocence. Rather, the burden rests with the prosecution.  However, when defendants raise an affirmative defense, the burden shifts from the prosecution to the defense.  One of those affirmative defenses is self-defense.  See a discussion of what defendants have to prove when presenting self-defense.
  • Philadelphia Criminal Murder Cases – The Alibi Defense Individuals charged with murder in Philadelphia and PA criminal cases are innocent until proven guilty. Individuals can present defenses to raise reasonable doubt as to whether the defendant committed the crime. The alibi defense is one of those defenses a defendant can assert.  This legal article discusses the alibi defense and when it can be raised.
  • Who is the Best Criminal Lawyer for Your Philadelphia Criminal Case? Defendants facing criminal charges such as murder, drugs and gun charges face serious consequences in Philadelphia criminal cases. It is imperative defendants have experienced criminal defense lawyers on their side.  This article discusses how to hire the best criminal defense lawyer for Philadelphia criminal cases.
  • Murder Charges in Pennsylvania – Murder Law in Pennsylvania Pursuant to PA criminal law, there are different degrees of murder charges, and the punishment varies for the different degrees of murder. Murder in the first degree murder carries the most significant sentence in Pennsylvania.  Get the latest legal information about PA murder charges here.
  • My son was convicted of murder in Philadelphia after a jury trial and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Do we have time to appeal his case? There are strict timelines for when defendants can appeal a murder conviction. In this FAQ, David Nenner, Esq. discusses the different types of appeals and when defendants must file them.
  • Pennsylvania Murder Charges – When Juveniles Are Charged as Adults When juveniles are accused of murder, they face serious consequences.  Just because the defendants are juveniles does not mean that the case will be handled by the juvenile system.  In Pennsylvania, criminal courts maintain jurisdiction for all murder cases regardless of the age of the defendant.  The juvenile defendant may file a motion to transfer the case to juvenile court, but it is not guaranteed.  Pennsylvania criminal courts will consider the evidence presented, by a preponderance of the evidence, that transferring the case to the juvenile system will serve the public interest.
  • Pennsylvania Second Degree Murder (AKA: Felony Murder) Law There are varying degrees of murder charges in Philadelphia.  Second degree murder, also known as felony murder, is defined as any death that occurs during the commission of a felony crime, such as robbery or drug trafficking.  An accomplice can also be charged and convicted of felony murder.  An intent to kill the victim is not necessary for a defendant to be convicted of felony murder.
  • Philadelphia Murder Cases – Police Investigation Tactics Police officers often interrogate suspects with the goal of getting an admission of guilt.  However, some police questioning tactics are inhumane which causes the individual to undergo severe emotional and physical stress.  As a result, they will admit to a crime even though they did not commit it just to get out of the room.  This article discusses recent Philadelphia murder cases where wrongly accused defendants succumbed to an interrogation and gave a confession for a crime they did not commit.

Defenses to Philadelphia Murder Charges

Mr. Nenner is a highly experienced Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer and has represented defendants accused in murder cases, from manslaughter to first degree murder. Mr. Nenner has successfully presented different affirmative defenses, which are discussed below.

Affirmative Defenses

In criminal cases, defendants do not have to prove their innocence.  Rather, the burden of proof rests with the prosecution to prove the defendants’ guilt.  Therefore, defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and they do not have to provide evidence that they are innocent.

However, if defendants present affirmative defenses at trial, then the burden shifts from the prosecution to the defendant.  Affirmative defenses are strategies whereby defendants provide evidence and proof as to why the crime was committed and negate criminal liability. Some of the most common affirmative defenses include self-defense and the alibi defense.

Self-Defense in Murder Cases

Consider the following: a defendant is on trial in Philadelphia for murdering her ex-boyfriend.  On the night of the murder, the defendant’s ex-boyfriend went to the defendant’s house and attacked her.  The defendant tried to get away but could not, and she finally was able to grab a knife in the kitchen to defend herself.  A struggle ensued and the ex-boyfriend was stabbed as a result.

In such a case, the defense attorney presents the affirmative defense of self-defense and must prove that the defendant was justified to use deadly force because she was under the belief that it was necessary to prevent serious physical harm or her own death.

Alibi Defense in Murder Cases

An example of the alibi defense would be the following: A victim was shot at a corner bar in South Philadelphia, and the defendant is accused of the murder.  On the night of the murder however, the defendant says that he was at home with his friend watching a football game.  In such a case, the defendant has an alibi defense and has the burden to prove that he was not present when the murder happened.  The friend would be called as an alibi witness to help prove the defendant was not at the bar.  Other evidence would also be presented, such as what football game they were watching, to help prove that the defendant was not at the bar.

There are other affirmative defenses.  Please visit our criminal library to see all other Philadelphia, PA criminal defense legal articles.