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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. THOMAS THORNTON (03/31/77)

decided: March 31, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
THOMAS THORNTON, APPELLANT



Appeal from Judgment of Sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, County of Allegheny, at No. CC7504348A. No. 519 April Term, 1976.

COUNSEL

John R. Cook, Pittsburgh, with him John J. Dean, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Charles W. Johns, Assistant District Attorney, Pittsburgh, with him Robert L. Eberhardt, Assistant District Attorney, and Robert E. Colville, District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ. Jacobs, Hoffman and Spaeth, JJ., concur in the result.

Author: Cercone

[ 247 Pa. Super. Page 95]

This appeal arises from appellant's conviction by a jury of involuntary manslaughter.*fn1 The question raised in this case is whether appellant's guilty plea to a summary offense under the Vehicle Code*fn2 barred his subsequent prosecution for involuntary manslaughter. The unusual facts of this case are as follows.

On May 21, 1975, Mrs. Marie Marcin was killed when appellant's car, driven by appellant's fifteen and one-half year-old sister flew off the road and landed on the porch of the Marcin home, pinning Mrs. Marcin beneath it. Officer Russell Clifford of the Wall Borough Police Department

[ 247 Pa. Super. Page 96]

    arrived on the scene minutes after the accident and called for assistance. He interviewed appellant, who had been a passenger in the car when the accident occurred, and assisted in the investigation on the scene. As a result of this investigation Barbara Thornton, appellant's sister, was charged with involuntary manslaughter.

On May 22, 1975, Officer Clifford, after consulting with a county detective and an assistant district attorney, filed a citation with a local justice of the peace charging appellant with violating Section 626 of the Vehicle Code.*fn3 After receiving the citation in the mail, on May 27, 1975, appellant signed that portion of the citation form indicating that he pleaded guilty to the summary violation, and returned it to the squire together with a check for thirty dollars, the amount of the fine and costs.

The following day, May 28, a coroner's inquest was held concerning Mrs. Marcin's death. The facts disclosed at the inquest led to the immediate filing of a complaint for involuntary manslaughter against appellant, and he was arrested forthwith. He was ultimately tried and convicted of that crime.

Appellant maintains that, on the basis of Commonwealth v. Campana*fn4 and Section 110 of the Crimes Code, he should not have been required to stand trial on the charge of involuntary manslaughter because he had previously been convicted for an offense arising from the same ...


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