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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ROBERT D. RAMBO (03/20/80)

decided: March 20, 1980.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ROBERT D. RAMBO, APPELLANT



No. 204 January Term, 1978, Appeal from the Judgment of the Superior Court, No. 1765 October Term, 1975, affirming the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Trial Division, Montgomery County, from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, Criminal Section, of Montgomery County, at No. 3109 July Term, 1974

COUNSEL

Arthur L. Gutkin, Lafayette Hill, Walter McDonough, Ardmore, for appellant.

Ronald T. Williamson, Asst. Dist. Atty., Joseph A. Smyth, Mary M. Killinger, Norristown, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Larsen and Flaherty, JJ.

Author: Roberts

[ 488 Pa. Page 335]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant Robert D. Rambo was tried by a jury and found guilty of possession with intent to deliver hashish, a Schedule I controlled substance, in violation of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, Act of April 14, 1972, P.L. 233, § 13, as amended, 35 P.S. § 780-113(a)(30) (1977). Post-trial motions for new trial and in arrest of judgment, and a supplemental motion for a new trial, were denied. Appellant was sentenced to serve one to three years imprisonment and to pay a $1,000 fine and costs of prosecution. The Superior Court affirmed the judgment of sentence, Commonwealth v. Rambo, 250 Pa. Super. 314, 378 A.2d 953 (1977) (Hoffman, J., dissenting, joined by Jacobs and Spaeth, JJ.).

It is well established that "[i]n determining whether the evidence is sufficient in law to prove that a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the crime or crimes charged, we must, after a verdict of guilty, accept as true all

[ 488 Pa. Page 336]

    of the evidence, direct or circumstantial, and all reasonable inferences arising from the evidence, upon which the trier of facts could properly have based the verdict." (Emphasis in original), Commonwealth v. Fortune, 456 Pa. 365, 318 A.2d 327 (1974); Commonwealth v. Malone, 444 Pa. 397, 281 A.2d 866 (1971). A conviction cannot be based upon mere conjecture or surmise. Commonwealth v. Bailey, 448 Pa. 224, 292 A.2d 345 (1972). We agree with appellant that the evidence adduced at trial and the reasonable inferences arising from that evidence fall far short of establishing appellant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and that the conviction here is based only upon conjecture. Appellant must, therefore, be discharged.*fn1

At trial the evidence disclosed that on July 1, 1974, a United States Postal Inspector initiated an investigation with respect to two parcels which were mailed to this country from Tangiers, Morocco. One of the packages was addressed to Robert Rambo at English Village Apartments, Building Number 8, Apartment A-6, North Wales, Pa. 19454, and the other was addressed to Mrs. P. Krammer, English Village Apartments, Building Number 8, Apartment R.D., North Wales, Pa.*fn2 Both packages had been intercepted in New York by the United States Bureau of Customs after a routine inspection revealed that the packages contained over ten pounds of hashish. A "controlled delivery" of the packages was arranged for July 6, 1976.

On that date an agent of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Narcotics obtained a search warrant for appellant's apartment, and a special mail carrier delivered both packages to appellant. Appellant accepted the packages and signed a receipt for each one. Appellant placed the packages on the floor of his apartment without ...


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