No. 1402 April Term, 1978, Appeal from the Order of September 15, 1978, reaffirming the Judgment of Sentence of August 16, 1978 of the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Criminal Division at No. 469 of 1978.
Angelo P. Arduini, Assistant Public Defender, Erie, for appellant.
Michael M. Palmisano, Assistant District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Cercone, President Judge, and Montgomery and Lipez, JJ.
[ 282 Pa. Super. Page 195]
This appeal involves the issue of whether, in imposing sentence, the lower court complied with the requirements of Commonwealth v. Riggins, 474 Pa. 115, 377 A.2d 140 (1977).
On or about February 27, 1978, appellant and four juveniles stole a 1967 Ford vehicle from Martin Ford, Inc. Together they drove to the Security People's Trust Company in Millcreek, Pennsylvania. Appellant entered, pointed a small caliber handgun at two female tellers and proceeded to rob them of $1,800. Appellant was arrested on March 28, 1978 and pled guilty to one count of Robbery, one count of Crimes Committed With Firearms, and Unauthorized Use of Vehicle. On August 16, 1978, the Honorable Lindley R. McClelland sentenced appellant to a term of imprisonment of not less than 9 years nor more than 18 years. Petition for Reconsideration of Sentence was filed by appellant on August 18, 1978. After argument, appellant's petition was denied. This appeal followed.
Appellant contends that his sentence should be vacated and the case remanded to the trial court for resentencing because the lower court failed to state its reasons for the sentence on the record.
[ 282 Pa. Super. Page 196]
The Pennsylvania concept of indeterminate sentencing requires "an implicit adoption of the philosophy of individual sentencing." Commonwealth v. Valentin, 259 Pa. Super. 496, 393 A.2d 935 (1978), Commonwealth v. Martin, 466 Pa. 118, 130, 351 A.2d 650, 656 (1976). It is the trial judge who is best able to weigh the varying factors of each individual case and determine a fair and just sentence. He must have broad discretion to do so and, as such, his decision will only be overturned if that discretion is clearly abused. Commonwealth v. Valentin, supra, Commonwealth v. Martin, supra. To assist in the proper exercise of judicial discretion in sentencing, the legislature promulgated guidelines in the Sentencing Code, Act of December 30, 1974, P.L. 1052, No. 345, 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 1321(b), (Supp. 1977). Under the Sentencing Code, a sentence must be imposed for the minimum amount of time that is consistent with the gravity of the offense, the rehabilitative needs of the defendant and the protection of the public. Commonwealth v. Martin, supra.
In formulating a sentence which meets the above criteria, the judge must consider the character of the defendant and the particular circumstances of the crime. Commonwealth v. Roberts, 263 Pa. Super. 237, 397 A.2d 1187 (1978), Commonwealth v. Martin, supra. If the sentence complies with the above requirements, is within the statutory limits for the offense, and the reasons for the sentence are stated on the record, then the judgment of the lower court will be upheld. Commonwealth v. Riggins, supra, requires such a statement to assist the appellate court in ascertaining "whether the sentence imposed was based upon accurate, sufficient, and proper information." 474 Pa. at 131, 377 A.2d at 148.
After careful review of the testimony, and a judicial determination of the true facts relative to the case before him, the trial judge must then articulate the thought process by which he arrives at a particular appropriate sentence. The statement of reasons should reflect consideration of, if not actually include ...