Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. HARRY PAUL BRYNER (03/20/81)

SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: March 20, 1981.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
HARRY PAUL BRYNER, APPELLANT

No. 990 April Term, 1979, Appeal from the Judgments of Sentence entered in the Court of Common Please of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, Criminal Division on October 9, 1979, at Nos. 357, 358, 369, 471, 472, 473, 474, 475, 476, 477, 478, 479, 480, 481, 484, 485, 486, 487, 488, 489, 490, 507, 509, 533, 652, 653, 654, 655, 656, 657, 658, 659, 660, 661, 662, 663, 664, 665, 666, 667, 668, 669, 670, 671, 672, 673, 674, 675, 750, 812 - all of 1978, fractional numbers thereunder. No. 54 of 1979.

COUNSEL

Peter U. Hook, Uniontown, for appellant.

Gerald R. Solomon, District Attorney, Uniontown, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Spaeth, Johnson and Popovich, JJ.

Author: Popovich

[ 285 Pa. Super. Page 307]

On April 3, 1979, the appellant, Harry Paul Bryner, entered pleas of guilty to forty-three (43) charges of burglary, theft and receiving stolen property.*fn1 On October 9, 1979, a term of imprisonment of not less than five (5) years nor more than ten (10) years was imposed for the offense at No. 357 of 1978. A consecutive sentence of not less than four (4) years nor more than eight (8) years was ordered for the offense at No. 471 of 1978. The sentences for the remaining crimes were either suspended or ordered to run concurrently. Thereafter, appellant filed a motion for reconsideration of sentence which was denied by the court below.

The sole contention raised by appellant on appeal is that the sentences imposed were manifestly excessive. The validity of said claim cannot be determined from the instant record; therefore, we must vacate the judgments of sentence and remand for resentencing.

As this Court has often stated:

"It is settled that the imposition of a proper sentence is a matter vested in the sound discretion of the sentencing

[ 285 Pa. Super. Page 308]

    judge. Commonwealth v. Valentin, 259 Pa. Super. 496, 393 A.2d 935 (1978). In exercising this discretion, however, the judge must rely on full and accurate information and must state on the record the reasons for the sentences imposed. Commonwealth v. Riggins, [474 Pa. 115, 377 A.2d 140 (1977)]; Commonwealth v. Wicks, 265 Pa. Super. 305, 401 A.2d 1223 (1979). This statement of reasons must show that in imposing sentence, the judge attached weight to the factors set forth in the statutory guidelines for sentencing, and carefully considered the facts concerning the circumstances of the offense and the character of the defendant. Commonwealth v. Wicks, supra. If the sentencing judge fails to state the reasons for the sentences on the record, we will vacate the sentences and remand for resentencing. See Commonwealth v. Young, [272 Pa. Super. 82, 414 A.2d 679 (1979)]; Commonwealth v. Wicks, supra." Commonwealth v. Maxwell, 280 Pa. Super. 235, 242, 421 A.2d 699, 703 (1980).

The only evidence of record reflective of the "circumstances of the offenses and the character of the accused" came from counsel, who stated that: 1) appellant was instrumental in securing the conviction of those persons responsible for the commission of a homicide in a neighboring county; 2) appellant did no more than drive the vehicle in the crimes to which he pled guilty; 3) no bodily injury was inflicted by appellant in any of the crimes committed; 4) appellant was willing to make some kind of substantial restitution; 5) appellant was a family man with children ages 7 and 8; and 6) appellant provided information to law enforcement agencies to aid them in disposing of outstanding cases -- this point was corroborated by the district attorney of Somerset County and a state trooper from Westmoreland County.

When it came time for the lower court to fix sentence, it stated the following:

"In making these sentences the Court feels that this is the minimum sentence and the minimum amount of time of confinement that is consistent with the protection of the public and the gravity of the offense and the rehabilitative

[ 285 Pa. Super. Page 309]

    needs of the defendant. We feel that a lessor sentence would depreciate the seriousness of the crime of the defendant." N.T. 10/9/79, at 12)

These statements, we conclude, fall short of complying with the dictates of Commonwealth v. Riggins, supra. More particularly, "in the consequence of their brevity and conclusory quality, they do not manifest a consideration of the statutory guidelines for sentencing, nor otherwise explain the reasoning behind the sentences imposed." Commonwealth v. Wicks, supra, 265 Pa. Super. at 313, 401 A.2d at 1227; see also Commonwealth v. Valentin, supra (court need not specifically cite or include the language of the sentencing code in fixing sentence provided the reasons stated adequately indicate balancing of all relevant factors).*fn2 Further, there appears to be no statement of reasons in the lower court's memorandum opinion to fill this void. See Commonwealth v. Wertz, 252 Pa. Super. 584, 384 A.2d 933 (1978) (where neither the record nor lower court opinion contains reasons for sentence imposed, remand for resentencing required); accord, Commonwealth v. Turecki, 278 Pa. Super. 511, 420 A.2d 658 (1980).

Consequently, given the paucity of facts in the instant case, we cannot effectively treat appellant's claim that the sentences were excessive.*fn3 Commonwealth v. Jefferson,

[ 285 Pa. Super. Page 310484]

Pa. 115, 398 A.2d 971 (1979). Therefore, we vacate the judgments of sentence and remand to allow the lower court an opportunity to articulate its reasons for the sentences imposed. Any further appeal must be from the new sentence thus imposed.


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.