Over the past two decades, the ATF has helped convict hundreds of individuals through the use of "stash house sting" operations, which involve the recruitment of suspects to rob a residential drug stash house. Every detail of the robbery, however, is a product of the government's imagination—the stash house itself does not actually exist, and the amount of drugs supposedly inside the house are not real. This Note discusses the history of the outrageous government conduct defense and examines its viability as a tool to combat convictions arising out of these controversial operations.
The Pennsylvania General Assembly's Act 13, as originally enacted in 2012, exempted all oil and gas operations within the Commonwealth from local zoning control, and mandated statewide zoning uniformity. Shortly thereafter, a plurality of Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices invalidated these provisions—reasoning that such a broad renunciation of local control violated the Commonwealth's Environmental Rights Amendment. The plurality's decision notwithstanding, this Note argues that local zoning exemptions afforded under the Public Utility Code, particularly with respect to oil and gas pipelines, are in accord with Pennsylvania’s Environmental Rights Amendment and, by extension, the plurality's Robinson Township decision.
While the promises afforded by the First Amendment include the right to assemble, the once-fundamental Assembly Clause has been slowly eroded over the course of the last century, all in the name of maintaining civil order and the status quo. This attitudinal shift and societal decision to value safety over individual liberty has also resulted in a stark increase in the level of militarization of America's local police forces. If we truly view our constitutional liberties as sacred and inalienable, changes must be made at every level of government to reinvigorate the once-robust right of assembly.