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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JOSEPH HERRIOTT (04/12/79)

decided: April 12, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JOSEPH HERRIOTT, APPELLANT. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA V. FRANK MACHI, APPELLANT



No. 891 April Term, 1977, No. 895 April Term, 1977, Appeal from Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Criminal Division, at Nos. CC7607693A and CC7607695, dated June 27, 1977 (as to Appellant Herriott) and Appeal from Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Criminal Division, at No. CC7607748, dated June 27, 1977 (as to Appellant Machi).

COUNSEL

Stanton D. Levenson, Pittsburgh, for appellant Joseph Herriott.

Richard C. DeRenzo and Dennis J. Clark, Pittsburgh, for appellant Frank Machi.

Robert L. Eberhardt and Charles W. Johns, Assistant District Attorneys, Pittsburgh, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Cercone, Wieand and Hoffman, JJ. Hoffman, J., files a concurring statement.

Author: Wieand

[ 265 Pa. Super. Page 147]

This is a direct appeal from the judgments of sentence imposed following Joseph Herriott's conviction non-jury on three counts of promoting prostitution and one count of corruption of minors and Frank Machi's conviction on three counts of promoting prostitution and one count of simple assault. Appellants contend (1) that the evidence was insufficient to support the several verdicts of guilty; (2) that the trial judge erred in denying motions to suppress evidence; and (3) that the trial judge erred in refusing their motions for new trial based on after-discovered evidence. Appellant Machi asserts additionally that the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County lacked subject matter jurisdiction to try him on two counts of promoting prostitution. We find no merit in these contentions and affirm.

[ 265 Pa. Super. Page 148]

"In appraising the sufficiency of evidence, we must apply a two-step test. First we must regard the evidence in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, accepting as true all evidence upon which the fact finder could properly have based its verdict; then we must ask whether that evidence, with all reasonable inferences from it, was sufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." Commonwealth Page 148} v. Eddington, 255 Pa. Super. 25, 386 A.2d 117 (1978). Applying this test to the instant case, the evidence was clearly adequate to support the trial court's findings of guilt on all charges.

During May, 1976, the prosecution witness, Barbara Star, age fifteen, was a runaway from a juvenile detention center. In need of a place to stay, she contacted Machi, with whom she had been acquainted for less than a year. On May 21, 1976, she held a conversation with Machi in Pittsburgh, during which she told him that she had run away from the detention center. Machi suggested that she become a prostitute. He assured her that she would have a place to stay and would not have to work the streets. He also made clear that he, Machi, would handle the money. The discussion of prostitution was continued later that same day, this time in the presence of Herriott, at an apartment on Stanton Street in Pittsburgh. Machi and Herriott told Barbara that a woman, whom she would find at the place where she was to commence her career as a prostitute, would "explain things better."

That evening, appellants drove Barbara to an apartment in New Kensington, Westmoreland County, and left her in the company of an unidentified woman. After some conversation with this woman, Barbara began to perform various sexual acts with and upon men. Each of approximately 6 or 7 customers paid her sums varying between twenty and fifty dollars. These sums she gave to the woman in the apartment. With the exception of May 23, Barbara worked at her new profession daily until May 29, 1976. Her hours of work were from 8:00 o'clock, P.M. to 4:00 o'clock, A.M. During the day, appellants took the witness to dinner and kept her supplied with valium. All moneys received by Barbara were given to the unidentified woman who, in turn, delivered a portion thereof to Machi.

On May 30, Machi drove the witness to an apartment in Bloomfield, Allegheny County, gave her the key and left her there alone. The following day, an argument caused Machi to demand ...


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