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COMMONWEALTH v. MORGAN (12/01/75)

decided: December 1, 1975.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
MORGAN, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas of Centre County, Nos. 773 to 776, inclusive, of 1973, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Larry Arthur Morgan, Sr.

COUNSEL

Benjamin Novak, Assistant Public Defender, with him Robert L. Martin, Public Defender, for appellant.

Robert A. Mix, Assistant District Attorney, and Charles C. Brown, Jr., District Attorney, submitted a brief for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Price

[ 237 Pa. Super. Page 403]

Larry Arthur Morgan, Sr., the appellant herein, was convicted of four counts of forgery*fn1 following a non-jury trial. The only issue raised in this appeal is whether the lower court correctly refused appellant's demurrer at the close of the prosecution's case. Appellant contends that the Commonwealth's evidence was insufficient to establish his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The question to be resolved by the trial court on a demurrer to the evidence is whether, accepting as true all the facts of record and all reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom, they would support a verdict of guilty. Commonwealth v. Collins, 436 Pa. 114, 259 A.2d 160 (1969); Commonwealth v. Green, 210 Pa. Superior Ct. 482, 233 A.2d 921 (1967).

[ 237 Pa. Super. Page 404]

Applying this principle to the instant case, the lower court found the following facts: On October 13, October 14, and November 22, 1972, four counterfeit checks were cashed in Centre County stores. Each check was drawn on the First National Bank of Hartford, Connecticut, by the Hartford and Travelers Insurance Companies, and made payable to William J. Erdley. The payee's name was typewritten onto the check; the amount payable was imprinted by a check writing machine. The checks were dishonored by the bank and were returned to the businesses as bogus items.

On January 8, 1973, service of an unrelated arrest warrant was made upon Gloria Morgan, appellant's wife, at their residence in Blair County, Pennsylvania. The state policeman who made the arrest observed a printing press and assorted items used in the printing process in appellant's home. A search warrant was obtained on the basis of his observation, and as a result of its execution, the following items were seized and introduced at trial: a typewriter, a check writing machine, two portable printing presses which had been dismantled, a box containing print, a box containing printing furniture,*fn2 and several newspapers.

Following the seizure, the items were submitted to the Pennsylvania State Police Crime Laboratory in Harrisburg, where they were given to Corporal Gencavage, an expert in examining questioned documents. Corporal Gencavage testified that, based upon his examination, the typewriter seized from appellant's home was the same one which had been used to enter the payee's name on the forged checks. He also stated that the check writing machine was identical in style to that used on the checks, but could not be positively identified. He further testified that the type characters found were like those on the

[ 237 Pa. Super. Page 405]

    checks, but because the printing presses were dismantled, a comparison ...


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