Duquesne University School of Law

Prof. Ledewitz discusses Pa. Supreme Court order in Lancaster case

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Lancaster Online interviewed Prof. Bruce Ledewitz for an article about a Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s denial of a petition to replace a verdict from a traffic citation case.  

In denying a petition by the Lancaster district attorney with a 16-word order, the ruling ended an ongoing legal dispute over whether Elizabethtown District Judge Jayne Duncan erred in replacing another judge's verdict.

Ledewitz, a state constitutional law expert law, called the situation “very unusual” and a “precise circumstance that is not likely to be repeated.” 

The mandamus filing is not unusual, he said. Because Duncan's ruling was a “partial acquittal,” prosecutors have little ability to appeal due to double jeopardy laws.

The mandamus filing was a potential way to look for a remedy, Lancaster Online continues. While the district attorney may have been looking for a correction of the verdict, he may have also been attempting to ensure something like this could not happen in the future.

“This is kind of a complex legal context,” Ledewitz said. “What type of precedent does this set for the future, if any?”

The court could be saying this is the kind of error that just cannot be corrected or they may have meant there is no error at all, Ledewitz told the publication. Or maybe it was an error, but it doesn't rise to the level of mandamus, he said.

Read the Lancaster Online story

Faculty Referenced In Article

Bruce Ledewitz, J.D.Professor of Law