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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. DAVID ARTIS (01/08/82)

filed: January 8, 1982.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
DAVID ARTIS, APPELLANT



No. 2764 Philadelphia, 1980, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Montgomery County, No. 1243 of 1980.

COUNSEL

David A. Artis, Sr., Graterford, appellant, in pro. per.

Ronald T. Williamson, Assistant District Attorney, Norristown, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Wickersham, McEwen and Beck, JJ.

Author: Beck

[ 294 Pa. Super. Page 278]

On December 29, 1979, appellant engaged in a battle with John Wilson during which appellant stabbed Wilson once in the stomach with a kitchen knife. Appellant was arrested and incarcerated on April 17, 1980. On June 5, 1980, the District Attorney of Montgomery County lodged three Bills of Information against appellant, to wit:

No. 1243-80 Criminal Attempt - Murder

No. 1243.1-80 Simple Assault - two counts

Aggravated Assault - two counts

No. 1243.2-80 Recklessly Endangering Another Person

All of the Bills of Information charged appellant with causing bodily injury to Wilson with a knife on December 29, 1979.

From June 12, 1980 up to and including November 10, 1980 appellant was represented by private counsel.

Trial by jury was held on October 16 and 17, 1980. The defense was justification. It was conceded that Wilson had initially attacked appellant, had been ejected from the

[ 294 Pa. Super. Page 279]

    house, and had resumed fighting with appellant when appellant later emerged from the house carrying a kitchen knife. Appellant contended that he had carried the knife because he feared Wilson, a larger and heavier man, and feared Wilson would injure him. Appellant contended that Wilson was at all times the aggressor. The Commonwealth contended that appellant had become the aggressor or, in any event, had used excessive and unnecessary force in using a knife against a man armed only with a stick or board.

The jury voted on a verdict sheet which listed each of the four charges separately, each followed by "Guilty" and "Not Guilty" blocks for the juror to enter his or her vote. The jury was not asked to find as a matter of fact whether or not the act by appellant was "committed in a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent."*fn1

The jury found appellant guilty of Recklessly Endangering Another and of Simple Assault and Not Guilty of the other charges.

The Sentencing Hearing was held*fn2 and sentence was imposed on November 10, 1980. The sentencing judge asked whether he had requested a pre-sentence report, and was told he had not. The District Attorney informed appellant that he would have to waive a pre-sentence report if ...


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