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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. MANUEL GONZALES (10/06/77)

decided: October 6, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
MANUEL GONZALES, APPELLANT



No. 1536 October Term, 1976, Appeal from the judgment of sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, Criminal Sec., No. 740 of 1970.

COUNSEL

Edward F. Browne, Jr., Assistant Public Defender, Lancaster, for appellant.

Ronald L. Buckwalter, First Assistant District Attorney, Lancaster, and D. Richard Eckman, District Attorney, Lancaster, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ.

Author: Watkins

[ 249 Pa. Super. Page 360]

This is an appeal from the judgment of sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Lancaster County, after conviction by a jury of public indecency under the Act of June 24, 1939, P.L. 872, § 519; 18 P.S. § 4519; and from the denial of post-trial motions. The defendant was sentenced to pay a fine of $50.00 plus costs of prosecution and serve one year on probation.

The defendant-appellant, Manuel Gonzales, was observed masturbating in the front seat of an automobile double parked in Penn Square, Lancaster, Pennsylvania during daylight hours by a city detective and a bank employee. The evidence was sufficient to sustain the conviction. Commonwealth v. Davidson, 220 Pa. Super. 451, 289 A.2d 250 (1972).

The defendant was indicted on June 31, 1970, but was not tried until March 19, 1975. The appellant filed a motion to quash the indictment raising the issue of denial of his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial. The application was dismissed by Judge Johnstone of the court below without a hearing. Judge Johnstone dismissed the petition on the grounds that: "Defendant a fugitive since January 11, 1971 (sic)." In Judge Bucher's opinion it was stated that: ". . . the record indicates that defendant was not tried until 1975 because he had fled to Puerto Rico. The motion to quash was therefore properly denied." This was evidently based on the appellant's answer to a question on cross-examination during his trial:

"BY MR. BUCKWALTER:

"Q. Why didn't you appear?

[ 249 Pa. Super. Page 361]

"A. I -- my family was sick in Puerto Rico and I went to see them and ...


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