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COMMONWEALTH v. VORHAUER (12/11/74)

decided: December 11, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
VORHAUER, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, April T., 1970, No. 573, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Hans Vorhauer.

COUNSEL

Calvin S. Drayer, Jr., Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.

Stewart J. Greenleaf and J. David Bean, Assistant District Attorneys, William T. Nicholas, First Assistant District Attorney, and Milton O. Moss, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Cercone

[ 232 Pa. Super. Page 87]

The appellant, Hans Vorhauer, was found guilty by a jury of robbery, armed robbery, robbery together with other persons, conspiracy to commit robbery, and burglary. Post-trial motions were argued and denied. Following the imposition of sentence this appeal followed.

Appellant has advanced numerous alleged errors in support of his contention that he be afforded a new trial. We shall consider them in the order in which they were presented.

First, appellant argues that he was denied a speedy trial. The crimes for which he was subsequently indicted and convicted, occurred on the evening of December 7, 1967, when the home of Blanche and Herman Hoffman was burglarized and the Hoffman family robbed of personal property having an approximate value of $25,000.00. Due to the robbers' effective disguises the police investigation was both difficult and unproductive until April 29, 1970, when the appellant and Jerome McKenney were arrested and charged with the instant crimes. The information leading to these arrests was supplied by Jerome McKenney. On September 11, 1970, indictments were returned against the appellant and McKenney. In late October, 1970, the appellant absconded from the jurisdiction of the court and failed to appear for his original trial on June 22, 1971. On May 21, 1972, appellant was returned to Pennsylvania in the custody of federal authorities and remained in their custody until November 16, 1972, when he was surrendered to the Commonwealth to commence service of a previously imposed sentence. On September 4, 1973, the appellant was finally brought to trial.

[ 232 Pa. Super. Page 88]

Appellant cannot now complain that he was denied a speedy trial when his own conduct was responsible for the delay in his being brought to trial. See Commonwealth v. Petrisko, 432 Pa. 250 (1968); Commonwealth v. Taylor, 193 Pa. Superior Ct. 386 (1960); Commonwealth ex rel. Sell v. Burke, 174 Pa. Superior Ct. 344 (1953); U. S. v. Tate, 336 F. Supp. 58 (E.D. Pa. 1971). Although the crimes in question occurred in December, 1967, the appellant's identity and participation in the crimes did not become known to the police until 1970. Once the appellant's implication was disclosed the Commonwealth promptly instituted the procedures necessary to dispose of the charges. The appellant, however, fled the jurisdiction while released on bail and failed to return for his original trial scheduled for June 22, 1971. Under these circumstances the appellant's contention is without merit.

Appellant next takes issue with remarks made by the trial judge during trial*fn1 and upon completion of his charge to the jury,*fn2 which are alleged to have been prejudicial to the appellant.

In Commonwealth v. Anskate, 221 Pa. Superior Ct. 122, 124-25 (1972), this Court in discussing the issue of alleged prejudicial remarks by the trial court said: "It must be determined from all the circumstances ...


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