No. 130 March Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court at No. 888 April Term 1978 reversing the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division of Mercer County at No. 497 Criminal 1977
Charles F. Gilchrest, Routman, Moore, Goldstone & Valentino, Sharon, for appellant.
Samuel J. Orr, Dist. Atty., David B. Douds, Asst. Dist. Atty., Mercer, for appellee.
Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ. Eagen, C. J., filed a dissenting opinion in which Roberts and Nix, JJ., join.
Appellant, Gary Douglas Brocklehurst, was convicted of burglary after a non-jury trial in Mercer County. After post-verdict motions were argued, appellant was discharged pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 1100 ("Rule 1100"). On appeal, the Superior Court reversed and remanded for sentencing. We granted allocatur and now affirm.*fn1
On June 22, 1977, the police filed a criminal complaint charging Gary Paul Brocklehurst with burglary, theft by unlawful taking, theft by receiving stolen property, and criminal conspiracy.*fn2 On July 30, 1977, appellant was arrested and the police discovered that the June 22 complaint had named the wrong Gary Brocklehurst. Accordingly, the complaint was corrected immediately in handwriting to state the name, birthdate and social security number of appellant, Gary Douglas Brocklehurst. At his preliminary hearing on August 9, 1977, appellant objected to amending the complaint
on two grounds: (1) that the first complaint was fatally defective because it identified the wrong person as defendant, and (2) the statute of limitations had run on all charges but burglary.*fn3 The Commonwealth then withdrew the complaint and immediately filed a new one charging Gary Douglas Brocklehurst with burglary only. Appellant was re-arrested that same day and a preliminary hearing was held. Trial began on December 27, 1977, within one hundred eighty days of the filing of the second complaint.*fn4 Although it had refused before trial to dismiss on Rule 1100 grounds, the court, after hearing post-verdict motions, discharged appellant because trial had commenced after the one hundred eighty day run date of the June 22 complaint. The Superior Court properly reversed.
This Court consistently has held that the Rules of Criminal Procedure must be interpreted as written.*fn5 We also have held that Rule 1100 serves two equally important
functions: (1) the protection of the accused's speedy trial rights, and (2) the protection of society. Commonwealth v. Hamilton, 449 Pa. 297, 304-05, 297 A.2d 127, (1972).*fn6 With ...