• Sean McGraw - State College Attorney

State College Lawyer – Sean McGraw

A criminal defense lawyer, Sean McGraw developed his advocacy skills during fifteen years of intense litigation experience in government service. As a State College criminal defense attorney, McGraw fought tirelessly to protect those disadvantaged by poverty, illness, and disability, winning numerous “not guilty” verdicts and precedent-setting appellate decisions. As a prosecutor, McGraw further refined his trial skills, litigated one of the most important gun cases in Pennsylvania history, and acquired an insider’s understanding of the entire process of criminal prosecution.

Motivated by his awareness that every case involves serious, real-life consequences, McGraw represents his clients with attuned strategic insight and well-planned, thoughtful advocacy.

Professional Highlights

Assistant District Attorney , Centre County District Attorney’s Office,
January 2010 – April 2013

  • Prosecuted criminal actions from investigation through trial and appeal, with emphasis on violent felonies, sex offenses, and serious misdemeanors.
  • 96% conviction rate.
  • Prevailed in two significant reported appellate decisions:
    • Commonwealth v. McKown, 79 A.3d 678 (Pa.Super. 2013) (Pennsylvania resident whose Pennsylvania firearms license has been revoked may not carry a concealed firearm under the auspices of an out-of-state license; Pennsylvania firearms law does not violate Second Amendment)
    • Commonwealth v. Shawver, 18 A.3d 1190 (Pa.Super. 2011) (Pennsylvania’s recidivist DUI sentencing scheme does not violate Equal Protection Clause)
  •  Commonwealth representative, Centre County DUI Court.

Assistant Public Defender, Centre County Public Defender’s Office,
June 1998 – December 2009

  • Represented indigent persons in legal proceedings implicating liberty interests: criminal actions; mental health commitment proceedings; collateral review of convictions under Pennsylvania’s Post Conviction Relief Act.
  • Extensive trial experience, including thirteen felony jury trials resulting in five total acquittals, six partial acquittals, and one hung jury. 
  • Prevailed 12 times in the Pennsylvania Superior Court and twice in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Four of these were reported decisions:
    • Commonwealth v. Omar/ O’Connor, 602 Pa. 595, 981 A.2d 179 (Pa. 2009) (Pennsylvania trademark counterfeiting statute violates First Amendment)
    • Commonwealth v. Haun, 984 A.2d 557 (Pa.Super. 2009), aff’d, 613 Pa. 97, 32 A.3d 697 (Pa. Nov. 30, 2011) (concession of guilt does not preclude PCRA relief)
    • Commonwealth v. Rowe, 984 A.2d 524 (Pa.Super. 2009) (home entry by police violated Fourth Amendment)
    • In re K.L.S., 594 Pa. 194, 934 A.2d 1244 (Pa. 2007) (Pa.R.C.P. 227.1(c)’s requirement of post-trial motions does not extend to appeals under the Mental Health Procedures Act)


  • The Ohio State University College of Law (Juris Doctor, 1997)
    • Member, The Ohio State Law Journal
    • Cali Award, Constitutional Theory, 1996
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania (B.A. Philosophy, 1992) magna cum laude

Advocacy Training

  • Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College, Regional Seminar
  • The Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University, Public Defender Appellate Skills Training
  • The Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University, Public Defender Advocacy Training
  • National Criminal Defense College, Mercer Law School, Trial Practice Institute

Professional Affiliations

  • Defense Bar Representative, Centre County DUI Court
  • CJA Panel Attorney for Middle District of Pennsylvania
  • Board Member, Community Alternatives in Criminal Justice

“…compassionate, vigorous, and undying perseverance…displayed commanding knowledge of the facts and law…polite, dogged, and helpful to [the judge]…”