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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. HUGH M. RIDALL (09/26/80)

filed: September 26, 1980.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
HUGH M. RIDALL, JR., APPELLANT



No. 1929 October Term, 1978, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence in the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County, Criminal Division, No. 2711 of 1975.

COUNSEL

Lewis J. Bott, Assistant Public Defender, Wilkes-Barre, for appellant.

Chester B. Muroski, District Attorney, Wilkes-Barre, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Price, Gates and Dowling, JJ.*fn*

Author: Price

[ 280 Pa. Super. Page 318]

Appellant appeals from the judgment of sentence following his conviction for willfully failing to remit $4,883.12 of

[ 280 Pa. Super. Page 319]

    sale taxes*fn1 collected from May 1973 through September 1974. On March 19, 1976, appellant was found guilty in a jury trial. Timely post-trial motions for a new trial and in arrest of judgment were filed on March 22, 1976, which motions were denied. Subsequently, on May 30, 1978, appellant was sentenced to a two (2) year probationary period, ordered to make restitution, and required to pay the costs of prosecution. A notice of appeal to this court was duly filed on June 23, 1978.

In seeking reversal of the judgment of sentence, appellant contends that the trial judge erred: (1) in admitting Commonwealth exhibits 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8; (2) in admitting Commonwealth exhibit 9; (3) in refusing to grant his demurrer; and (4) in refusing to grant his motion alleging that the verdict was contrary to the weight of the evidence and the law. We find these claims lacking in merit and affirm the sentence of the trial court.

Exhibits 4 through 8 are sales tax returns which were introduced by the Commonwealth. Prior to their introduction, testimony established that appellant, Hugh M. Ridall, Jr., had applied for a sales tax license for Pennsylvania Galleries, and that license number 40-20175-2 had been issued. Daniel B. Swantko, a tax examiner for the Department of Revenue, Bureau of Sales and Use Taxes, testified that these returns came from his department's files. He further testified that such returns were sent to all sales tax taxpayers. The disputed returns were addressed to Pennsylvania Galleries and contained the aforementioned license number. Finally, Mr. Swantko testified that these returns were signed by Hugh M. Ridall, Jr. as owner. Appellant's counsel objected to their admission, citing lack of proper authentication as the grounds.

We believe the trial judge properly overruled the objection. According to Professor McCormick,

[ 280 Pa. Super. Page 320]

"where a public office is the depository for private papers such as wills, conveyances, or income tax returns, the proof that such a purporting deed, bill of sale, tax return or the like has come from the proper custody is usually accepted as sufficient ...


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