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Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC (412) 281-2146

    Case Results

    Not Guilty Verdict in Stolen Property Case

    Apr 19 2021 in Case Results, Criminal Defense, Theft Crimes

    When a stolen laptop was found in our client’s possession, it led to receiving stolen property charges and a very serious situation. Attorney Samir Sarna took the case to trial and successfully explained the circumstances behind how the accused came into possession of the laptop.

    Ultimately, we showed that while she did have possession, she did not obtain it in a way that suggested she either knew or should have known it was stolen. Our client was found not guilty and avoided any penalties or consequences.

    The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any similar or future case.

    Not Guilty Verdict for Nurse Accused of Sexual Assault

    Feb 25 2020 in Case Results, Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes

    We represented a 33-year-old nurse in Somerset County, charged with a sex crime that put her freedom and career at risk.

    While employed at a State Correctional Institution, as an LPN, an inmate propositioned her for sex. She followed the procedure and reported the incident. The inmate was placed in a restricted housing unit and an internal Department of Corrections investigation followed.

    The inmate claimed that he and the LPN had an ongoing sexual relationship. The nurse denied this, and despite no corroboration, witness statements, or physical evidence, she was charged with institutional sexual assault.

    Since the inmate was in custody, he could not consent. Therefore, as a third-degree felony, this woman was potentially facing seven years in prison, sex offender registration, and the loss of her nursing license. She was also suspended from her job, and she contacted experienced attorney Matt Ness with Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC.

    The DA made some favorable plea offers that removed the possibility of jail and sex offender registration, but our client would not admit to any wrongdoing. Despite suffering finically, she had the fortitude to continue fighting.

    The case moved to trial and attorney Ness highlighted the problems with the case and overall lack of evidence. After two days of testimony and illustrating the flaws in the inmate’s story, the jury returned a not guilty verdict in under 3 hours.

    In the end, our client’s decision to fight paid off. She was spared from a sex crime conviction, significant prison time, and her nursing license was immediately reinstated. She is now gainfully employed and seeking back pay from the Department of Corrections for her wrongful termination.

    The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any similar or future case.

    Delays in Child Porn Case Result in Dismissal

    Jan 24 2020 in Case Results, Criminal Defense, Notable Case Results, Pennsylvania Criminal Process, Sex Crimes

    Our client was a 44-year-old on probation and living as a registered sex offender in Allegany County. He found himself facing charges again after an child pornography allegedly identified his IP address.

    A search warrant was obtained, and the police found a laptop with hundreds of illicit images of children. This potentially exposed him to 75 years in prison and as a repeat offender, a second strike conviction would result in a mandatory sentence between 25 and 50 years.

    With essentially a life sentence hanging over his head, the man contacted Worgul, Sarna, & Ness after he became dissatisfied with his first attorney. The prosecution asked for a few continuances to prepare their witnesses and evidence, but after a few more delays, we noticed the time limit to prosecute the case was close to expiring.

    We thoroughly reviewed the case file and confirmed that the Commonwealth had exceeded its one-year time limit to bring a case to trial from the date of arrest. As a result, we prepared a motion based on Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 600 or simply “Rule 600” and argued that the case should be dismissed.

    The prosecutor objected and made some excuses, but the judge agreed that the delay was unfair. Ultimately, the case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning that the state could not file charges again, and our client was completely free to go.

    The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any similar or future case.

    Not Guilty Verdict in Felony Domestic Violence Trial

    Jan 13 2020 in Assault and Domestic Violence, Case Results, Criminal Defense, Notable Case Results, Violent Crimes

    Attorney Matt Ness recently assisted a young man in Adams Township when domestic violence charges put his freedom at risk.

    After a heated argument, his live-in girlfriend decided to leave and stay with her parents. Days later, the police arrived in the middle of the night and arrested him based on her claims. Her accusations were harsh and ranged in charges for felony strangulation, aggravated assault, misdemeanor unlawful restraint, making terrorist threats, and simple assault.

    This man had no prior criminal record and was now suddenly facing years in custody and a life-long stigma as an abuser of women. Luckily, we were able to secure his release and immediately started working to protect him.

    During our investigation, it became clear that the police did little to corroborate the alleged victim’s story. Attorney Ness and our team discovered there was a lot of friction between the woman and her family regarding her relationship as well as numerous inconsistencies in her version of events.

    Eventually, we located a security guard from our client’s apparent complex who interacted with her on the night in question. He recalled that nothing about their encounter raised any alarm and that she appeared uninjured.

    Despite the discrepancies and very little evidence of any injuries, the prosecutor was unwilling to offer less than a year in jail. As a result, we took the case to trial and challenged the case. By highlighting the weaknesses in both evidence and credibility, the jury only took three hours to return a not guilty verdict.

    While this was a drawn-out process, by working with an experienced attorney from the beginning, our client spared himself from years in custody and a haunting domestic violence label. In the end, the client cleared his name and was free to move on.

    The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any similar or future case.

    21-Year-Old Carnegie Mellon Student Acquitted of Multiple Sexual Offenses

    Aug 09 2019 in Case Results, Sex Crimes

    Recently, a Carnegie Mellon University student was charged with multiple criminal offenses, including:

    The charges stem from a situation in which he met a University of Pittsburgh student and agreed to meet up at a bar to spend some time together. Upon realizing the woman forgot her ID, they buy some alcohol from a liquor store, go back to his place, and start drinking. Things eventually got physical, and the two had sex. The next morning, however, the woman woke up and didn’t remember the events of the night before. As such, she contacts some friends and eventually reports the situation to the police – telling them she doesn’t remember consenting to sexual intercourse.

    The police ask the Carnegie Mellon student for a statement, which he gave – but without a lawyer. He tells officers the two had consensual sex, and could prove it with a recording he made of the previous night’s activities – in which expressions of affirmative consent were made multiple times. He handed the recording over, the police officer listened to it, and the man was charged with the above offenses.

    Wanting to avoid the harsh penalties of conviction, which included time behind bars, a permanent criminal record, immigration issues, and more, the young man reached out to Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC for help.

    Initially he was charged with what is called a violation of Pennsylvania Wire Tap Act, as he recorded the woman without her permission. At the preliminary hearing this charge was thrown out, and the case for the above offenses eventually proceeded to trial.

    As the case progressed, more details of the case were revealed, including sound bites from the recording, and details about the night in question. One such detail was that after the client fell asleep, the women screamed loudly, ran naked out of his apartment, and ran into a stranger who eventually called the police. Upon law enforcement’s arrival and questioning, she tells them she had consensual sex and was not sexually assaulted. Upon noting her inebriation, officers took her to the hospital where she got hydrated and helped out. It wasn’t until the next day that she returned to them and said she didn’t remember consenting.

    At trial, the jury ended up acquitting the client of the rape, simple assault, and unlawful restraint. They did, however, convict him of sexual assault, stating that he should have known the woman was too drunk to provide consent. As attorney Matt Ness was preparing for sentencing, he filed a motion for judgment of acquittal. This asked the judge to vacate the verdict, and that it was not supported by legally sufficient evidence. The judge eventually granted this request, and the jury verdict was vacated. As such, the client was found not guilty of each offense for which he was charged.

    The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any similar or future case.