Collateral Estoppel Elements Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania courts have adopted a three-step approach in application of the doctrine of collateral estoppel: while the offenses charged in the two offenses need not be the same, the issues must be similar and material; collateral estoppel only bars redetermination of those issues necessarily determined and litigated between the parties in the first proceeding; collateral estoppel requires a final judgment in the first proceeding. Commonwealth v. Hude, 492 Pa. 600, 611-612, 425 A.2d 313, 319 (1980). Collateral estoppel is embodied in the Fifth Amendment, pursuant to the holding in Ashe v. Swenson, 397 U.S. 436, 90 S. Ct. 1189, 25 L. Ed. 2d 469 (1970). In Ashe, at least three men robbed six poker players. the defendant was tried, and subsequently acquitted, in a state court for armed robbery of one of the poker players. Because the jury in the first trial had determined by its verdict that the defendant was not one of the robbers, the court reversed the robbery conviction obtained in the second trial, involving a second poker player, applying the doctrine of collateral estoppel. The court found that the ultimate fact of the identity of the robber had been determined in the first trial and was not subject to review in trials related to any of the other five victims. In v. Lagana, 510 Pa. 477, 509 A.2d 863 (1986), in which two suppression hearings resulted from two separate offenses charged arising from a single stop and arrest, the Supreme Court held that jeopardy did not attach from the first suppression of evidence as to a burglary. The court found there was no constitutional bar to relitigating a suppression motion during the course of a second prosecution. Lagana also recognized the doctrine of coordinate jurisdiction, which would balance any unfairness of a second procedure while assuring that an erroneous earlier decision could be corrected by availability of additional or new evidence.