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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. RAY E. FIRESTONE (04/13/78)

decided: April 13, 1978.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
RAY E. FIRESTONE, APPELLANT



No. 631 April Term 1976, Appeal from Order dated Feb. 25, 1976, of the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, Pa., Criminal Div., denying Appellant's Post-Conviction Hearing Petition at Nos. 462 and 462 1/2 of 1972.

COUNSEL

Thomas P. Ruane, Jr., Uniontown, for appellant.

Conrad B. Capuzzi, District Attorney, Uniontown, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ. Watkins, former President Judge, did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Spaeth

[ 253 Pa. Super. Page 578]

This is an appeal from the denial of a petition under the Post-Conviction Hearing Act, Jan. 25, 1966, P.L. (1965) 1580, § 1, 19 P.S. § 1180-1 et seq.

On August 24, 1972, appellant, another man, and two young women -- one of them a minor -- drove to a bridge on the Cheat River. The two men in the party had a swim and the group drove about a half mile further along the shore. Appellant and the young woman who was a minor walked a short distance into the woods and had sexual intercourse. The next day appellant was arrested and charged with statutory rape and corrupting the morals of a minor.

[ 253 Pa. Super. Page 579]

At trial a Commonwealth witness, a state trooper, testified:

Q. Where was the place they had gone swimming?

A. According to the information we gathered from Pletcher and Firestone [appellant] it was in Springhill Township, along the river, apparently in the village of Nilan or near there.

N.T. 97.

The given locations are in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Later, at the hearing on the post-conviction petition, appellant testified that he had informed both his privately retained trial counsel and his court appointed appellate counsel that he had doubts that the conduct charged had occurred in Pennsylvania. At trial, however, he did not deny or introduce any other evidence to rebut the trooper's testimony.

The jury found appellant guilty. After post-trial motions were denied, he was sentenced to costs, a fine of $200, and imprisonment for five to ten years. He appealed to this court, where his conviction was affirmed. Commonwealth v. Firestone, 229 Pa. Super. 706, 322 A.2d 662 (1974). He petitioned twice for allocatur, but was denied. He then began to serve his prison sentence.

On May 15, 1975, appellant filed a Post-Conviction Hearing Act petition, and a hearing was held June 27, 1975. At that hearing, a substantial quantity of evidence was admitted to prove that appellant and his friends had crossed the Pennsylvania border and that the criminal activity had actually occurred in West Virginia; the evidence was uncontradicted. Nonetheless, on February 25, 1976, the petition was denied.

-1-

Jurisdiction in criminal matters rests solely in the courts of the state or country in which the crime is committed. Huntington v. Attrill, 146 U.S. 657, 13 S.Ct. 224, 36 L.Ed. 1123 ...


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