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    Violent Crimes

    Home Health Aid Not Guilty of Abuse

    Apr 26 2021 in Assault and Domestic Violence, Case Results, Criminal Defense, Violent Crimes

    In Allegheny County, Pittsburgh defense attorney Samir Sarna represented a home care aid, who was charged with abusing a patient. Aside from the potential harm to their career, a conviction would almost certainly result in jail time.

    Despite having the incident on video, attorney Sarna moved forward with a bench trial and argued that what happened did not warrant criminal charges. While the experience was difficult for the client, the judge agreed with attorney Sarna and issued a not guilty verdict. This spared the home care aid from a criminal conviction, jail time, and a ruined career.

    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.

    Comparing Pittsburgh’s Crime Rates to National Rates

    Nov 11 2018 in Violent Crimes

    Most of us have been victims of crime at some point in our lives, or at least know someone who has been. Yet our country is a safer place to live than most of us think. In fact, Pittsburgh may even be safer than most of its citizens realize. Gallup and Pew surveys reaching back two decades consistently show that at least 60 percent of Americans believe that crime rates are increasing. However, reliable authorities consistently report that crime rates have steadily been decreasing.

    If you or a loved one have been investigated for or charged with a crime, contact the criminal defense lawyers at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys right away. We will stand by your side and protect your rights. Call us at (412) 281-2146.

    National Crime Rates Are Much Lower than in the Nineties

    There are two primary sources for national crimes rates. One is provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which every year counts all instances of serious crimes reported to the police in 18,000 jurisdictions across America. The other source is the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), which calculates crime rates by surveying 90,000 households and asking all residents over the age of 12 whether they have been a crime victim.

    The crime rates reported by the BJS are much higher than those reported by the FBI. In 2016, for example, the BJS rate of 21 crimes per 1,000 people was more than five-and-a-half times higher than the FBI rate of 386 violent crimes per 100,000 people. Not all crimes get reported to the police, which means that the FBI fails to count a substantial number of crimes. But the BJS crime rates, which are based on the recollections of random individuals, might be less reliable than the FBI’s, which are informed by objective government records.

    Despite these methodological differences, the BJS and FBI’s measurements of crime rates both show that violent crime has declined since 1993. The FBI numbers show that violent crime decreased by almost half between 1993 and 2016. The BJS data shows that violent crime rates fell by 75 percent during the same time. Following a similar pattern, property crime rates fell by half according to the FBI and by 66 percent according to BJS.

    Pittsburgh Murder Rates Are High, but Violent Crime Is Generally Low

    In Pittsburgh, the violent crime rate according to the FBI is approximately 270 per 100,000 residents, which is well below the national average of 386 per 100,000. The city’s murder rate, however, is significantly higher than the national average. The murder rate in Pittsburgh was 18 per 100,000 residents in 2016, but only 5 per 100,000 nationally. Yet Pittsburgh murder rate is lower than Chicago (28 murders per 100,000), Baltimore (51 per 100,000), and St. Louis (60 per 100,000).

    This means that in Pittsburgh, you have a higher than average chance of being murdered. On the other hand, your chances of being the victim of violent crime in general is lower than average. There are many different offenses that get counted in the category “violent crime,” from murders to simple assault and battery. Furthermore, different types of violent crimes tend to occur in different areas. Pittsburgh, like many other cities, has a persistent gang and gun violence problem–even though other types of crime have generally subsided in the long term.

    Because of the ongoing gang and firearm-related violence in the city, Pittsburgh and Allegheny authorities vigorously prosecute all cases involving guns or an alleged gang affiliation. If you get accused of one of these crimes, the best way to avoid the devastating penalties of a criminal conviction is to retain the services of an experienced Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Contact Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC today at (412) 281-2146 for a free consultation with your defense team.

    Judge with gavel filling out form

    Violent Crime Rates Drop in Pittsburgh

    May 30 2018 in Violent Crimes

    Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has announced that the city has seen a drop in violent crimes over the last year. While the mayor recognizes that this decrease is a result of the hard work of many, the city does attribute much of its success to the efforts of an organization known as the Group Violence Intervention (GVI).

    If you have been charged with a violent crime, our Pittsburgh violent crimes lawyers at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC can give your case a thorough review and help you build a strong defense. Contact us today at (412) 281-2146 for a free and confidential consultation.

    Crime Numbers at a Glance

    In 2016, Pittsburgh experienced a total of 180 shootings, both fatal and non-fatal. However, in 2017 that figure fell to 140, marking a 26 percent decrease in just a year. In fact, the year 2017 shows an eight percent decline in the past five years and a 12-year low for the city.

    The figures for this year are looking even better. By March 2017, the city had recorded 31 non-fatal shootings, while this year the number has only reached 14.

    What is The GVI?

    While the police force has been praised for their efforts to keep violent crimes down, they aren’t doing it alone. The Group Violence Intervention (GVI) has offered their services as well. The GVI aims efforts on reforming violent offenders, gang members, and anyone else who they believe deserves a second chance.

    The GVI was first introduced in 2010, but they were quickly disbanded – despite their best efforts, they were unable to work well with officers to make a positive impact on violent criminal activity. But, the group was revived in 2015 and given full support by police.

    GVI uses the term “group” instead of “gang” to allow influential gang leaders to see the police as an ally rather than the enemy. Headed by prison minister Cornell Jones, the organization focuses on the most violent group members to reduce gun violence and homicides by street groups. Jones refers to it as a “carrot and stick” endeavor – on the one hand, they want group members to know they support them and care about their future. But on the other hand, group members who are not interested in turning their lives around need to know that the city does not plan to tolerate violence.

    Have You Been Charged With a Violent Crime in Pittsburgh?

    If you are facing violent crime charges, understand that you could suffer severe consequences. Don’t hesitate to call a violent crimes lawyer at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC right away. Not only will we immediately begin to work on your defense, but we will also ensure your rights are protected. Contact us today at (412) 281-2146 to schedule a free consultation.

    Flashing police car lights at night

    Violent Crimes on the Rise in Pittsburgh

    Nov 15 2017 in Criminal Defense, Violent Crimes

    Statistics from the United States Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) show that violent crime has been increasing in Pittsburgh. Acts of violent crime can cause devastation for a community, and local law enforcement officials are very concerned about this upward trend that has a wide impact on Pittsburgh residents. While incidents of violence must be reported and fully investigated by police in order to reduce their occurrence, a heightened state of alert among law enforcement has shown to cause more arrests and false accusations against innocent parties.

    Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC has years of experience handling violent crime cases in Pittsburgh courts, and we can help you clear your name if you have been falsely accused of serious criminal charges. To speak with a skilled violent crimes attorney, call our office today at (412) 281-2146.

    Why Are Specific Violent Crimes Are On The Rise

    Between 2015 and 2016, violent crime rose over nine percent in Pittsburgh and has seen an increase in all of the southwestern Pennsylvania counties that constitute the greater Pittsburgh area. Violent crimes include murder, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery. While the number of murders in Pittsburgh remained the exact same in 2016 as in 2015 with 57 deaths, the other types of violent crimes increased by the following rates:

    • Aggravated assault rose by 3.3 percent
    • Robbery rose by 16.6 percent
    • Rape rose by 22 percent

    While it is clear that certain crimes – especially violent acts where people are often serious injured – are on the rise, there remains huge doubt as to why. This has resulted in extensive debate as to what must be done in order to reduce crime. Reasons for an increase in violent crime could range from conflict between criminal groups to a failure of officials to apprehend and convict serious repeat offenders.

    Defending Against Violent Criminal Charges

    Police and state prosecutors are under increased pressure to arrest and convict violent criminals due to the noteworthy increase in the crime rate in Pittsburgh. As criminal defense attorneys, we understand that this can sometimes result in the police jumping to conclusions, and innocent people being investigated and charged with a crime. If you have been arrested for a violent crime, you face years in prison and a felony charge on your permanent record. For this reason, it is important to seek a skilled and experienced violent crimes attorney to protect your rights and freedom.

    Among the many different reasons that you could be falsely charged with a crime, some would include:

    • You were acting in self defense
    • A case of mistaken identity has caused you to be arrested
    • You did not have the required intent to commit the crime with which you are charged
    • An accuser has falsely made a claim against you

    A Lawyer Can Help You If You Have Been Charged With A Serious Crime

    Police have been very concerned with the rise of violent crime in the Pittsburgh area, and they are looking to crack down on offenders. While the causes behind the increase remain uncertain, some believe that an increase in gang activity or opioid consumption may be to blame. Our office understands what families go through when someone is arrested for a serious crime, and we are ready to help you protect your rights and clear your name.

    If you or a loved one have been charged with a violent crime, the consequences can be very severe. The attorneys at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC know how to help you. Call our office today at (412) 281-2146, or contact us online for a free consultation.