Commonwealth v. Weeden May 26, 2021

Commonwealth v. Weeden 2021 PA Super 108 (May 26, 2021).

Weeden implicates noise pollution law.

First, Weeden demonstrates that police may be trained to distinguish types of sound and that such distinctions are admissible. [Slip 4](“The operators and police have also been trained to differentiate between the sound of gunshots and other similarly loud sounds, such as a firecracker pattern.”) Thus, Weeden supports police, for example, distinguishing between illegally modified exhaust systems and legal exhaust systems.

Second, Weeden concludes that reports from automated devices such as gunshot detection systems are admissible and specifically not hearsay. [Slip 10](“… data automatically generated by a computer does not constitute a statement asserted by a person and, therefore,cannot qualify as hearsay.”) Weeden specifically implicated a noise-related automated system (to purportedly detect gunshots). [Slip 10] Thus, a noise-violators may not challenge the admissibility of noise detection system reports.

Third, Weeden concludes that gunshot detection reports do not violate either the federal or Commonwealth Confrontation Clauses. Furthermore, general noise-violation reports should not implicate Confrontation Clause issues because such reports are not related to criminal prosecution. See [Slip 12](“[S]tatements are testimonial when the circumstances objectively indicate that there is no such ongoing emergency and that the primary purpose of the document is to establish or prove past events potentially relevant to later criminal prosecution.”)(emphasis added).