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COMMONWEALTH v. SANTANA (03/19/70)

decided: March 19, 1970.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
SANTANA, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Nov. T., 1967, No. 1466, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Perrie A. Santana.

COUNSEL

Bernard L. Segal, with him Needleman, Needleman, Segal & Tabb, for appellant.

James D. Crawford, Assistant District Attorney, with him Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, and Cercone, JJ. Opinion by Jacobs, J. Montgomery, J., concurs in the result. Wright, P. J., would affirm on the opinion of President Judge Reimel.

Author: Jacobs

[ 216 Pa. Super. Page 184]

Appellant was tried on charges of conspiracy and receiving stolen goods. At the trial below before Judge Reimel, sitting without a jury, appellant was found guilty of conspiracy to aid in the disposition of stolen goods.*fn1 Appellant's motions in arrest of judgment and

[ 216 Pa. Super. Page 185]

    for a new trial were denied. The sole issue before us is the sufficiency of the evidence to support the conspiracy conviction.

In testing the sufficiency of the evidence after a verdict of guilty the evidence must be read in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth. Commonwealth v. Lawrence, 428 Pa. 188, 236 A.2d 768 (1968); Commonwealth v. Burns, 409 Pa. 619, 187 A.2d 552 (1963); Commonwealth v. Hayes, 205 Pa. Superior Ct. 338, 209 A.2d 38 (1965). Viewed in this light the facts are as follows: A Philadelphia cigar manufacturer, by whom the appellant was at one time employed, had established a sales promotion program whereby its customers could obtain merchandise in exchange for certain amounts of bands removed from the cigars they purchased. On October 17, 1967, the subsidiary company which administered the premium distributions received an envelope containing several hundred cigar bands and a request for certain merchandise. The bands had never been on any cigars and were in fact stolen from the manufacturer. The return address on the envelope as well as the premium request form had the name "Pearl Santaner" inscribed on them, although the address on both these items was that of the appellant, Perrie Santana. The police and postal officials were notified of this request and arrangements were made to arrest the recipient upon delivery and acceptance of the merchandise. When the packages containing the premium merchandise were delivered appellant signed for them and took them into her house, whereupon the police moved in and made the arrest.

At the time of the arrest, appellant denied any knowledge of stolen bands and said that she did not request the packages which she had just accepted. Appellant further stated that her mother previously informed her that she would be receiving the packages and to keep them until her mother came for them. Appellant

[ 216 Pa. Super. Page 186]

    admitted that on previous occasions she had received cigar bands from her mother and her uncle, both of whom were at one time employees of the cigar manufacturer, and that she had used those bands to obtain premium merchandise. There was no evidence, however, that those bands had been stolen.*fn2 The plant manager for the cigar manufacturer testified that, although records were maintained concerning the number of bands used by employees, there was no record that either appellant or her mother had ever taken any bands.

Expert testimony concerning the handwriting on the premium request forms and the envelope in which they were sent was introduced by both sides. The Commonwealth's expert testified that, in his opinion, this was the disguised handwriting of the appellant. On the other hand, appellant's expert testified that this could not be ...


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