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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. PETE MEEKINS (05/11/79)

decided: May 11, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
PETE MEEKINS, APPELLANT



No. 1075 October Term, 1978, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Criminal Division, as of No. 507, 1977.

COUNSEL

Roy Davis, Assistant Public Defender, Media, for appellant.

David E. Fritchey, Assistant District Attorney, Chief, Law and Appeals Unit, Media, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Cercone, President Judge, and Hester and Hoffman, JJ. Cercone, President Judge, concurs in the result.

Author: Hester

[ 266 Pa. Super. Page 160]

Appellant Pete Meekins has twice stood trial in the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County on charges of burglary, theft, and receiving stolen property. Both proceedings terminated prematurely in mistrials, once because the jury was deadlocked and once upon appellant's own motion. When the Commonwealth moved for trial still a third time, appellant filed a motion to dismiss the charges on the ground that another trial would violate his rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. This motion was denied and an immediate appeal taken to this Court.*fn1 We affirm.

The charges grew out of an incident occurring on the evening of January 11, 1977 in Chester, Pennsylvania. At approximately 8:30 p. m. that night, the victim Melvin Wade walked into his home on West Seventh Street and saw in his kitchen an intruder carrying various items belonging to

[ 266 Pa. Super. Page 161]

Wade. The intruder immediately took his leave out the back door, pursued closely by Wade. Outside, the burglar was joined by several confederates and the group, fleeing on foot down a back alley, was able to elude Wade. Appellant Pete Meekins was thereafter arrested and charged with the crime and was identified by Wade as the perpetrator.

As already stated, appellant's first trial, on June 23-24, 1977, ended when the court sua sponte declared a mistrial after ascertaining the jury was hopelessly deadlocked.*fn2 The second jury trial, held October 4, 1977, was aborted when the complainant Wade became extremely uncooperative on the witness stand and offered series of gratuitous remarks prejudicial to appellant's cause. Early in the trial, in an answer unresponsive to the assistant district attorney's question, Wade stated:

THE WITNESS: -- I don't have --

THE COURT: Read the question back --

THE WITNESS: -- the good sense to accuse this man as being the man that burglarized my home. Now, we've gone through this once, you have already cost me a lost of money. I would like for this case to be thrown out. It has cost me a hundred dollars in contempt,*fn3 it has cost me three hundred dollars thus far, and my time wasted for a thousand dollars. I no longer want to ...


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