In Pennsylvania, the offense known as “Criminal Homicide” includes the crimes of (a) Murder ( 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree) and (b) Manslaughter (Voluntary and Involuntary). A conviction of the crime of Murder of the First Degree carries with it the sentence of life imprisonment without parole or, in a capital murder case, the possibility of the death penalty.
Because of the serious consequences surrounding a conviction of Murder of the First Degree in a capital case, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania mandates that only attorneys who meet the experiential and educational criteria set forth in Rule 801 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure are permitted to participate in such cases as retained or appointed counsel.
Among the stringent experience and educational requirements to serve as defense counsel in capital cases, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania mandates that the defense counsel (1) be a member in good standing of the Bar of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; (2) be an active trial practitioner with not less than 5 years of criminal litigation experience; and (3) have served as lead or co-counsel in not less than 8 “significant” cases that resulted in jury deliberations. During the 3-year period immediately prior to his entry of appearance or appointment, counsel shall have completed not less than 18 hours of training pertaining to capital case representation, as approved by the Pennsylvania (CLE) Continuing Legal Education Board including the following training in:
Attorney Dennis G. Charles of the Charles Law Offices, by virtue of his extensive legal training, knowledge and trial experience, is qualified under Rule 801 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure to serve as lead counsel in capital murder cases. Since his admission to the Pennsylvania Bar in 1979, Attorney Charles has served as lead counsel in numerous criminal homicide cases, including capital murder cases, and has an outstanding record of success.
In his nearly 40 years of trial experience, Attorney Charles has successfully presented and cross-examined forensic experts in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, mental health, firearms, tool and dye, ballistics, internal medicine, forensic pathology, toxicology, DNA, blood splattering, accident reconstruction, engineering, and other forensic disciplines.
Among his numerous criminal homicide acquittals, Attorney Charles achieved a Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity (NGRI) jury verdict and received national media coverage in a criminal homicide case involving a juvenile accused of murdering his parents. He is the only attorney in the history of Lehigh County to achieve multiple Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI) jury acquittals in criminal cases and has been featured on nationally syndicated and regional television programs, including the Arts & Entertainment Network television program “American Justice,” Court TV, the Lifetime Movie Network television program “Killer Kids,” and AM Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Inquirer Newspaper featured Attorney Charles in a front page article entitled “Insanity on Defense.”
Attorney Charles is also thoroughly trained and experienced in the law of self-defense, justification, and lack of specific intent to kill, and has achieved multiple complete acquittals in homicide cases, or a reduction of the grade of criminal homicide, which greatly reduces the possible criminal sentence.
If you are facing capital murder or criminal homicide charges, contact veteran criminal defense attorney Dennis G. Charles of the Charles Law Offices for a consultation about your legal options. Attorney Charles will work closely with you, and will zealously protect and defend your legal rights at every stage of your case to achieve the best possible outcome.
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with a lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the attorneys at Charles Law Offices.
The Charles Brothers’ devotion to the law is derived from a family history in the legal system and of service to others. Their father, Charles “Chink” Charles (depicted in the lower left-hand corner of the photograph) held a 35 year career in law enforcement, and was selected to serve as the personal bodyguard for former United States Presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon and Lyndon B. Johnson during their campaign visits to Allentown.