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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JAMES F. TROUTMAN (10/30/81)

filed: October 30, 1981.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,
v.
JAMES F. TROUTMAN, APPELLANT



No. 1577 PHILADELPHIA, 1980, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Lebanon County, No. 39 of 1978.

COUNSEL

Charles P. Buchanio, Lebanon, for appellant.

David Brightbill, District Attorney, Lebanon, submitted a brief on behalf of Commonwealth, appellee.

Hester, Cavanaugh and Van der Voort, JJ.

Author: Hester

[ 291 Pa. Super. Page 610]

This is an appeal from the judgment of sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County. The procedural history and facts relevant to the issues on appeal are as follows:

Appellant was convicted by a jury of the August 10, 1977 burglary of the residence of his uncle, Charles L. Minnich, in Lebanon County. Minnich testified that his home was not ransacked but apparently burglarized by someone familiar with it. Insurance papers, bonds, and bankbooks were removed from a secret compartment and stolen along with guns and jewelry, including a diamond ring.

The chief witness against appellant was an accomplice, Robert Weber. He testified that on the morning of August 10, 1977, he and appellant talked about burglarizing some house and appellant indicated he had a place in mind. Weber related that appellant broke a window with a screwdriver, removed the aforementioned items, then left through a sliding door. They then went back to appellant's apartment. Later, a savings account passbook was used to withdraw money and some of the other items were disposed of at a flea market. The two men were later arrested in New Jersey on unrelated charges and Weber told police where they could find the items from this burglary and another burglary in Berks County.

[ 291 Pa. Super. Page 611]

After post trial motions were denied, appellant was sentenced to two to five years imprisonment. This timely appeal followed.

Appellant contends the trial court erred in permitting testimony concerning appellant's involvement in another burglary in Berks County.

Our examination of the record discloses that appellant's trial counsel attempted to impeach Weber's credibility by a series of questions on cross-examination. Trial counsel brought out that appellant and Weber had a conversation at the Berks County Jail. However, there was no indication as to whether appellant visited Weber there or why appellant happened to be there. The purpose of this questioning was to disclose that Weber allegedly stated he was going to testify against appellant because he could thereby obtain a favorable plea bargain.

Further questioning brought out the fact that appellant was wearing the stolen diamond ring at the time of arrest. However, part of appellant's defense at trial was that he was wearing it at the time of arrest, and not during the week prior because he had in fact purchased it from Weber sometime after the actual burglary had taken place. Weber next indicated that none of the stolen items were left at appellant's apartment and ...


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