“What is next for Officer Lisa Mearkle?”, is a question only she can answer. What we can expect over the coming months is an invigoration of the civil Wrongful Death action in Federal Court. The attorney for Mr. Kissick’s survivors will likely move forward with discovery, depositions and with the typical steps designed to bring the matter to resolution in Federal Court. It is not over because there are two different burdens of proof. The burden of proof for a
civil cause of action in is quite a bit different than it is for a criminal case.
In a criminal case the burden of proof is on the Commonwealth or State to prove that a person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. By contrast, in a civil case (in Federal Court or otherwise), the burden of proof is lower on the Plaintiff where the Plaintiff is only required to prove that the Defendant is liable to a preponderance of evidence (greater that 50% likely). By way of illustration, the difference between the two burdens of proof made it possible for the Goldmans to sue OJ after he was acquitted of murder in his Criminal case.
The civil process may take the case deep into 2016 (or even 2017), where a settlement may be reached or another jury trial may take place. This process will not necessarily bring closure quickly to those craving it most, but rather will likely keep the wounds from healing. So, for those who had hoped that the conclusion of the criminal trial would bring closure, there is likely more delay in store.
I successfully defended a Corporal in the State Police in 2012 (alleging an unjustified use of force) through a criminal trial where he was acquitted by a jury and the civil case on the same issue continued to drag until it settled nearly two years later. Hummelstown PD is covered by an insurance policy that will likely pay for the defense and for the settlement or verdict (if any), but the case will likely remain in the mid-State’s dialog for the distant future.
As someone born and raised in Central Pennsylvania, I am proud to announce that Harrisburg Magazine readers named me as their 2015 Reader’s Choice winner for Criminal Attorney in the magazine’s annual “Simply the Best” issue.
Over 24,000 votes were submitted for this years survey and a sincere thank you goes out to not only those who voted, but to the staff of Harrisburg Magazine and all of the people involved in the success of this event, now in its 18th year.
Thanks must be made to my colleagues, friends and more importantly my clients for their support in helping me win this award. 2015 has been a productive year with many cases and clients well represented throughout both Dauphin and Cumberland Counties.
The Harrisburg Magazine Simply the Best Awards Gala will take place on August 27, 2015 beginning at 6:30 and at this time will formally announce the winners of their respective categories. The Gala is being held at the Radisson Hotel Harrisburg, in Camp Hill, PA where winning businesses in all categories will be honored.
Our office door is always open to those who need a criminal defense attorney with years of experience for representation or a case evaluation. Our location in Harrisburg provides free parking, no need to fear the meter while we discuss your case matters.
My continued goal for 2015 and 2016 is to best represent clients charged with crimes on both the East and West shore of Central Pennsylvania.
Act 24, which lowered Pennsylvania’s legal limit of alcohol from .10 to .08, was signed into law on September 30, 2003. The new Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Law creates a tiered approach toward DUI enforcement and treatment, and includes many changes to the penalties, terms of suspension, fines and other requirements. The combination of an individual’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level, and prior offenses, determines the licensing requirements and penalties. The new law focuses on treatment for first-time DUI offenders, rather than strictly punishment and suspension.
Learn more about driving under the influence charges in the state of Pennsylvania