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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ROBERT C. TERRY (02/15/80)

filed: February 15, 1980.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ROBERT C. TERRY, JR., APPELLANT



No. 2646 October Term, 1978, Appeal from Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Tioga County, Criminal, No. 199 CA of 1977.

COUNSEL

David B. Keeffe, Sayre, for appellant.

Rudolph Vander Hiel, District Attorney, Wellsboro, submitted a brief on behalf of the Commonwealth, appellee.

Hester, Hoffman and Catania, JJ.*fn*

Author: Hester

[ 275 Pa. Super. Page 185]

This is an appeal from the judgment of sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Tioga County.

Appellant was convicted of failing to support a bastard child (18 P.S. ยง 4323). Post verdict motions were denied and he was, subsequently, sentenced to a year in jail, sentence suspended in lieu of paying a $750.00 fine. This appeal followed.

[ 275 Pa. Super. Page 186]

Appellant asserts, inter alia, that the lower court erred in permitting the prosecutrix to testify as to an offer made by appellant to pay her hospital bills and the expenses involved in her delivery.

It is generally the rule in civil litigation that offers of settlement or compromise, not accepted, are not admissible at trial. Durant v. McKelvey, 187 Pa. Super. 461, 144 A.2d 527 (1958).

The reasons for the rule are clear. First, the evidence that defendant expressed a desire to settle the case is not really evidence that the defendant was in the wrong. There are occasions when it is better to settle a case irrespective of the fact that you are right, rather than to risk the time and expense of a lawsuit. Secondly, the law favors out of court compromise rather than litigation. To permit the introduction at trial of a defendants offer to settle would severely inhibit defendants from attempting to settle potential litigation.

The within matter is controlled by the opinion of this Court in Commonwealth v. Luciano, 205 Pa. Super. 397, 208 A.2d 881 (1965) wherein Judge Hoffman stated on page 883:

"Our legislature has dramatically demonstrated the truly civil nature of these interests in the Civil Procedural Support Law, Act of July 13, 1953, P.L. 431, as amended, August 14, 1963, P.L. 872, 62 P.S. 2043.31 et seq. which authorizes civil proceedings for the support of illegitimate children, and contemplates a civil determination of paternity. ...


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