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COMMONWEALTH v. MEO (03/31/75)

decided: March 31, 1975.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
MEO, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, April T., 1973, Nos. 1072 to 1074, inclusive, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. John Meo.

COUNSEL

Joel Harvey Slomsky and William F. Coyle, for appellant.

Geoffrey H. Keppel, Mark Sendrow, and Steven H. Goldblatt, Assistant District Attorneys, Abraham J. Gafni, Deputy District Attorney, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Van Der Voort

[ 233 Pa. Super. Page 485]

The Appellant, John Meo, after trial before a judge sitting without a jury was convicted on charges of driving without lights to avoid arrest, resisting arrest and forcible entry. Following unsuccessful post-trial motions and sentencing, appellant filed this direct appeal to our Court.

The record shows that during the evening of March 31, 1973, two Philadelphia police officers in a patrol car observed a 1968 Chevrolet proceeding along the road; the car had heavy steam escaping from its front end. The officers, intending to investigate the problem with the Chevrolet, attempted to stop it by blowing the police car horn and activating its red flasher lights. Instead of stopping, the driver of the Chevrolet shut off its lights and accelerated to speeds of fifty to sixty miles an hour in a twenty-five mile per hour speed zone, while recklessly going from one side of the street to the other. The officers chased the Chevrolet for five or six blocks.

The driver of the Chevrolet pulled over and parked at an address on Cayuga Street, which officers later found to be the appellant's home. The driver of the Chevrolet, who

[ 233 Pa. Super. Page 486]

    was later identified by one of the pursuing officers, got out and walked around to the passenger's side of the car. He then turned, looked in the direction of the officers, and suddenly ran down an alley, and escaped the officers.

The officers continued to search for the appellant for about an hour, until they were called to investigate an incident nearby on Dungan Street. Upon their arrival at the Dungan Street location, the officers proceeded into a private residence (4346 Dungan Street) where they found the appellant sitting in a chair in the living room. The resident of the address, an elderly woman, related that she was in her home that evening when a man (the appellant) suddenly walked into her home through the unlocked screen door. He pushed her and told her to get out. She quickly did so and summoned the police.

The officers testified that when they entered the home and found the appellant in the chair, he did not put up any resistance. Upon the questioning of the police, Meo replied that he lived in the house. He showed the officers a vehicle registration card which indicated the Cayuga Street address. He was then arrested and taken to the police station. The appellant took the stand at trial and testified simply that he could not recollect the details of any of his activities on the night in question due to the fact that he was completely intoxicated at the time of the incidents in issue.

Appellant's first claim is that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction on all three charges. We find that the evidence of driving without lights to avoid arrest and of forcible entry was clearly sufficient. However, in view of the facts of record, even when considered in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, (Commonwealth v. Pierce, 446 Pa. ...


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