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COMMONWEALTH v. ASHFORD (04/11/74)

decided: April 11, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
ASHFORD, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, Nos. 1701 and 1702 of 1972, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Lonnie Ashford.

COUNSEL

William C. Haynes, Public Defender, for appellant.

Robert A. Longo and Michael H. Ranck, Assistant District Attorneys, and D. Richard Eckman, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Watkins, P. J., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Price, J.

Author: Price

[ 227 Pa. Super. Page 352]

Appellant was charged with assault and battery and obstructing an officer in the execution of process. The officer involved was an officer of the Lancaster City Police Department. This officer and a student-officer*fn1

[ 227 Pa. Super. Page 353]

    were the only witnesses presented by the Commonwealth at the jury trial of January 15, 1973. The jury returned a guilty verdict on both counts and timely motions for arrest of judgment and for new trial were denied on April 17, 1973. Appellant was sentenced on April 27, 1973, to serve two months in the Lancaster County Prison and to a fine of $25.00 on each count, with the sentences to run concurrently. From judgment of sentence appellant filed this appeal on May 25, 1973, raising the issues of whether the verdict was contrary to the evidence, contrary to the weight of the evidence and contrary to law. It is clear that it is not, and judgment of sentence will be affirmed.

In determining whether the evidence was sufficient to support the guilty verdict, we accept the Commonwealth's evidence as true, including all reasonable inferences therefrom. Commonwealth v. Portalatin, 223 Pa. Superior Ct. 33, 36, 297 A.2d 144 (1972). So viewed, the testimony will show why the lower court was correct in dismissing appellant's motions.

On August 18, 1972, at 2:10 a.m., the testimony reveals that the appellant was walking in the vicinity of South Plum Street in Lancaster when a police cruiser occupied by Officer Carr and Student Officer Stockton stopped. Officer Carr testified that he had thought the appellant had signaled for the police to approach, which the officers did. The appellant, on subsequent questioning, denied needing any assistance, used loud and abusive language, profanity and began "tapping me [Carr] on the side of my face with his finger." (T. 16)

The policeman kept the appellant standing near the cruiser until Student Officer Stockton checked for outstanding warrants against appellant. When the station reported no warrants Officer Carr told the appellant he was free to go.

[ 227 Pa. Super. Page 354]

The testimony establishes the actions which followed. Officer Carr stated, and Student Officer Stockton corroborated, that as Carr turned to go back to the car, the appellant shoved him and pushed his head onto a parked car. Officer Carr then grabbed appellant and placed him under arrest for assault and battery and appellant began a fight. Appellant denied that recitation of facts and stated that once he started to leave the area, upon being told that he was free to go, Officer Carr said, "I'm not ...


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