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COMMONWEALTH v. KATCHMER (09/19/73)

decided: September 19, 1973.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
KATCHMER, APPELLANT



Appeal from order of Superior Court, Oct. T., 1970, No. 1102, affirming the judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, Dec. T., 1968, No. 404, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. George Andrew Katchmer, Jr.

COUNSEL

Michael J. Perezous, with him Xakellis, Perezous & Mongiovi, for appellant.

George T. Brubaker, Assistant District Attorney, with him Henry J. Rutherford, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Nix.

Author: Nix

[ 453 Pa. Page 462]

Appellant was tried before a judge and jury and convicted of selling one gram of hashish in violation of

[ 453 Pa. Page 463]

The Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act of 1961.*fn1 After post-trial motions were denied, he was fined $200 plus costs and sentenced to from two to five years imprisonment. On appeal, the Superior Court affirmed the judgment of sentence. Commonwealth v. Katchmer, 220 Pa. Superior Ct. 231, 281 A.2d 747 (1971). This Court granted a request for allocatur and this appeal followed.

The appellant contends that the trial court committed reversible error in permitting the prosecutor to cross-examine alibi witnesses concerning their prior juvenile offenses. We agree and we now reverse.*fn2

The Commonwealth's case rested totally upon one Paul Guy, who testified that appellant had sold him one gram of hashish for $10 on December 14, 1968, at 7:15 in an apartment on Chestnut Street, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Appellant testified in his own defense that he had been in Philadelphia at the apartment of a friend, Martha Levis, on the day and at the time in question. His alibi was corroborated fully by two witnesses: Miss Levis and Robert Bachman, appellant's roommate.

At the conclusion of Miss Levis' direct testimony, defense counsel requested a side-bar conference and stated that if the prosecutor attempted to cross-examine her concerning juvenile offenses, the defense would ask for the withdrawal of a juror. The Court permitted the prosecutor to ask what sort of trouble the witness had been in in the past, thereby eliciting testimony that the ...


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