Winget, Spadafora & Schwartzberg, LLP encourages pro bono efforts for those in need of effective representation who cannot otherwise afford representation. Recently, in New Jersey, one of our attorneys secured a victory on an appeal of a conviction where the State failed to disclose exculpatory evidence.
On August 26, 2020, Allison J. Beatty, an attorney in the Philadelphia Office, assisted by her paralegal, Roxanne Drunas, successfully appealed the Municipal Court conviction of her pro bono client. Ms. Beatty’s client was detained by the Cherry Hill police department after they were called by a local retail store’s security guard because of a theft allegedly committed by Ms. Beatty’s client. Upon being confronted by the police, Ms. Beatty’s client denied the accusation. After the security guard admitted that he did not witness Ms. Beatty’s client steal anything, Ms. Beatty’s client was ultimately arrested and charged with obstructing justice, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. After a trial, she was later convicted of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct and received a fine and court costs. Ms. Beatty was then assigned to handle the appeal on a pro bono basis. She filed the appeal on the grounds that the State violated its obligations under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87 (1963) by failing to produce the body camera video footage of the arresting officers to her client prior to trial. On appeal, the Superior Court agreed and vacated the convictions of Ms. Beatty’s client.