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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. LINDA WICKS (04/13/79)

decided: April 13, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
LINDA WICKS, APPELLANT



No. 320 April Term 1978, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Criminal Division, at Nos. CC7702726, 2727, 2728, 2729, 2730, 7704701, 4702 and 4827.

COUNSEL

Paulette J. Balogh, Assistant Public Defender, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Charles W. Johns, Assistant District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Van der Voort, Spaeth and Lipez, JJ. Van der Voort, J., concurs in result.

Author: Spaeth

[ 265 Pa. Super. Page 307]

This appeal involves the issue of whether in imposing sentence the lower court complied with the requirements of Commonwealth v. Riggins, 474 Pa. 115, 377 A.2d 140 (1977).

Appellant was charged with eight separate counts of theft by unlawful taking.*fn1 The circumstances of each charge were similar; appellant had gained entrance to the victim's house under some pretense and had taken money or other valuables. On March 3, 1977, appellant visited the house of Edward Mitchell and asked and was permitted to enter to use the bathroom. After she had left the house, Mr. Mitchell discovered that $50 had been removed from his dresser drawer. On March 18 appellant went to the house of Fanny Mainer. After she had left the house, $17 was missing from Ms. Mainer's purse. On March 22, while with a friend at Rose Hunter's house, appellant stole $60 of Ms. Hunter's money. On April 2 appellant went to the house of Leanora Ebberhart and was allowed to use the telephone. When she left, Ms. Ebberhart's watch and several other items totaling $228 were missing. On April 4, while in the house of

[ 265 Pa. Super. Page 308]

Philomena Wells, appellant entered the living room and removed $40 and a necklace from Ms. Wells' purse. On June 13 appellant obtained access to the house of James Owens under the pretense of making a telephone call and took property worth $18. Similarly, on June 14, she was allowed into the house of Cleo Dunn to make a telephone call and, while there, took property worth $122. Finally, on June 25 appellant was permitted to enter the house of William Williams, Jr., under the pretense of waiting for her brother, who lived in the apartment next door, and stole property valued at $155.

At a hearing on August 22, 1977, appellant pleaded guilty to five counts of theft by unlawful taking. Sentencing was deferred pending the preparation and receipt of a pre-sentence report and the disposition of the three remaining counts. The sentencing hearing took place on October 4, 1977, and at that time appellant pleaded guilty to the remaining counts.

Since five of the eight thefts involved property valued at $50 or more, they were misdemeanors of the second degree. The Crimes Code, Act of Dec. 6, 1972, P.L. 1482, No. 334, § 1, as amended, Act of June 17, 1974, P.L. 356, No. 118, § 1, 18 Pa.C.S. § 3903(b)(1). The other three thefts involved property valued at less than $50, and were therefore misdemeanors of the third degree. Id. § 3903(b)(2).

At the beginning of the sentencing hearing the lower court stated:

THE COURT: Bring her forward. Having gone over the pre-sentence report, this young lady has been in all kinds of difficulty, and the Court has to do something about it. We can't let this go on.

It is the sentence of the Court --

MR. RUSLANDER: Excuse me, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Do you have anything to say?

MR. RUSLANDER: Yes. We have Linda's mother in court and we just want to comment on a couple of aspects ...


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