No 24 January Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Wayne County, Criminal Division, at Nos. 101-101(e) January Term.
Stephen G. Bresset, Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellant.
William R. Lee, Christopher T. Powell, Peter T. O'Malley, Scranton, for appellee.
Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ. Roberts, J., filed a dissenting opinion. Nix, J., filed a dissenting opinion.
The Commonwealth appeals from an order pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 1100(f) dismissing murder and related charges against appellee, Anthony Genovese, arising out of the death of a 23 month old infant.*fn1 The sole issue presented is whether the 180 day period mandated by Rule 1100 commences on the date of filing the first or the second criminal complaint when all charges contained in the first complaint have been dismissed at a preliminary hearing for failure to state a prima facie case, when there has been no improper effort by the Commonwealth to circumvent Rule 1100, and when the accused has been rearrested on the same charges. Because the trial court erroneously calculated the Rule 1100 run date from the filing of the first complaint, we reverse and remand for trial.*fn2
On Christmas morning, 1977, the Honesdale Ambulance Corps responded to an emergency call from the home of Larraine Forry and appellee, where they found Ms. Forry's 23 month old daughter, Christine, in an unconscious state. The child was taken immediately to the Community Medical Center in Scranton, where she died four days later as a result of a fractured skull. After a police investigation, appellee was arrested on March 24, 1978 and charged with murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment, aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
The preliminary hearing commenced on April 3, 1978 and, after various delays and motions not here relevant, was scheduled to recommence on May 10, 1978. On May 3, 1978, however, the defense filed a motion to secure the attendance of Dr. Dominic J. DiMaio, an out-of-state witness.*fn3 The motion was denied the following day, whereupon defense counsel immediately petitioned the court for and received permission to depose Dr. DiMaio.*fn4 The deposition originally was scheduled for May 19, 1978. However, on May 9, 1978, the Commonwealth filed with this Court a Petition for Review in the Nature of a Writ of Prohibition seeking to prevent the taking of Dr. DiMaio's deposition.*fn5 We denied the Commonwealth's petitions on May 23, 1978, and the deposition was rescheduled for July 7, 1978.
In the interim, the original district justice resigned and another was specially assigned to conduct the preliminary hearing. On August 22, 1978, after hearing testimony for three days and following appellee's challenge to the sufficiency of the Commonwealth's evidence, the new district justice dismissed all charges for lack of a prima facie case and released appellee from bail.*fn6 It is thus clear from the record that appellee was not discharged at the preliminary hearing at the request or instigation of the prosecutor, but only because the Commonwealth failed to persuade the district justice that it had presented a prima facie case. There is no evidence of any attempt by the Commonwealth to evade the mandate of Rule 1100.
On September 11, 1978, a second complaint, containing charges identical to those previously dismissed, was filed before a third district justice, and appellee was arrested the
next day.*fn7 Following a preliminary hearing, the district justice concluded that the Commonwealth had established a prima facie case.*fn8
On December 20, 1978, appellee filed a motion to dismiss all charges with prejudice pursuant to Pa.R.Cr.P. 1100(f), claiming that in excess of 180 days had passed since the filing of the original complaint.*fn9 The motion was granted on ...