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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JOSEPH MYLES GRIMM (10/06/77)

decided: October 6, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JOSEPH MYLES GRIMM, APPELLANT



No. 1520 October Term, 1975, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, Lancaster County, Nos. 1429/1432 of 1974.

COUNSEL

Penn B. Glazier, Assistant Public Defender, Lancaster, for appellant.

Michael H. Ranck, Assistant District Attorney, and D. Richard Eckman, District Attorney, Lancaster, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Hoffman

[ 249 Pa. Super. Page 443]

Appellant makes four allegations of errors in this direct appeal: (1) the lower court should have granted a mistrial when the prosecutor elicited testimony from a police witness that appellant had stolen a keg of beer, (2) the court should have declared a mistrial when a police witness stated that he had heard that an intoxicated individual was causing a disturbance, (3) the court erred in allowing the Commonwealth to impeach one defense witness with evidence that he had been convicted of aggravated assault and another defense witness with his guilty plea to disorderly conduct, (4) the lower court erred in refusing to order the production of copies of written pre-trial statements made by Commonwealth witnesses. We are unable to assess the prejudice of denying appellant's counsel this resource for cross-examination because the police reports were not made a part of the record. We, therefore, remand, with instructions to consider

[ 249 Pa. Super. Page 444]

    the harmlessness of this error in combination with the other errors which occurred at trial.

The events leading to appellant's arrest and conviction for aggravated assault*fn1 and resisting arrest*fn2 occurred on Sunday afternoon, May 19, 1974. At trial on October 21-23, 1974, the Commonwealth's evidence established that appellant and several companions entered Long Park, which is operated by the City of Lancaster but located just outside the city limits. A park policeman first observed appellant and 5 other young people in a jeep cruising at about 10 miles per hour above the park speed limit of 15 miles per hour. One or two of appellant's companions were riding on the jeep's running board. When the officer attempted to give the jeep's driver a citation, appellant alighted from the jeep, successfully obstructed the officer's view of the license plate, and began arguing with him. During the ensuing argument, appellant repeatedly threatened to kill the officer. The officer finally abandoned his effort to issue the ticket because he wanted to avoid further trouble.

Subsequently, the officer observed appellant operating a motorcycle without a helmet or safety glasses. He was driving precariously close to crowds of people and "doing wheelies;" i. e. maneuvering the motorcycle onto its rear wheel by using the torque of the vehicle to raise the front wheel from the ground. The park officer next observed appellant and his companions as they were leaving the park in their jeep traveling in the direction of the city. At this point, he called the Lancaster City police department to report the previous incidents.

Appellant and his companions returned to the park an hour or two later, parked on the side of one of the roadways, and began harassing passersby. The officer again called the Lancaster police station. Two officers arrived and attempted to apprehend appellant. For a while, appellant eluded the officers by dodging in and out of the assembled crowd;

[ 249 Pa. Super. Page 445]

    eventually they captured him, placed him under arrest, and started to take him to the police cruiser. Suddenly, appellant broke loose and started swinging his fist at both ...


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