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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ROBERT E. BECKMAN (07/16/82)

filed: July 16, 1982.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ROBERT E. BECKMAN, JR., APPELLANT



No. 2016 Philadelphia, 1981, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Montgomery County at No. 926 of 1981.

COUNSEL

Jerry Schuchman, Glenside, for appellant.

David M. McGlaughlin, Assistant District Attorney, Norristown, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Wickersham, Rowley and McEwen, JJ.

Author: Wickersham

[ 304 Pa. Super. Page 241]

On July 6, 1981 appellant, Robert E. Beckman, Jr., filed an omnibus pre-trial motion containing, inter alia, a motion to quash an information based on a claim that jeopardy had attached, which motion was denied.

Denial of a pretrial application seeking discharge on double jeopardy grounds is considered a "final order" and may thus be appealed before trial. Commonwealth v. Fields, 491 Pa. 609, 421 A.2d 1051 (1980).

On February 14, 1981 Robert Beckman, appellant herein, led police on a high speed chase through Upper Dublin and

[ 304 Pa. Super. Page 242]

Abington Townships in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. As a result of the chase he was charged with two counts of aggravated assault, four counts of reckless endangerment, three counts of resisting arrest, misdemeanor disorderly conduct, and two misdemeanor Vehicle Code violations. Beckman was also charged with twenty-six summary offenses. All of these charges were filed in Upper Dublin Township on February 15, 1981, in the office of District Justice A. T. Maynard, the issuing authority for the magisterial district covering Upper Dublin Township who held a preliminary hearing on March 25, 1981. Beckman was represented by counsel at this hearing. At the beginning of the hearing District Justice Maynard refused to hear the ten summary charges arising out of Beckman's conduct in Abington Township, believing he had no jurisdiction to hear charges based on events occurring outside his district. Beckman made no objection to this decision. District Justice Maynard held Beckman for court on all felony and misdemeanor charges; he did not rule on the sixteen summary offenses that occurred in Upper Dublin but rather sent them to common pleas court with the other charges.

After District Justice Maynard refused to hear charges relating to events occurring in Abington Township, Officer McCreary of the Abington Township Police Department filed the ten summary charges with District Justice Frank Plummer. District Justice Plummer's district covers Abington Township. The offenses (reckless driving, speeding, driving without lights to avoid identification or arrest, fleeing a police officer, throwing liquor bottles on the highway and five violations of traffic signals) took place in Abington Township, as Beckman fled from Upper Dublin. On April 7, 1981, Beckman was tried in District Justice Plummer's court. Two police officers testified against him; he was found guilty on all ten charges. Beckman was sentenced to pay fines and costs.

When the Upper Dublin portion of the case came to trial in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, Beckman moved to quash the bills of information based on an

[ 304 Pa. Super. Page 243]

    alleged violation of the double jeopardy clause of the United States and Pennsylvania Constitutions as well as 18 Pa.C.S. ยง 110. After a hearing on this motion the Honorable Samuel W. Salus, II denied Beckman's motion on all save two charges. This appeal followed. Beckman was directed to file a statement of matters complained of on appeal and did so on September 16, 1981. Judge Salus wrote an opinion explaining his order denying Beckman's motion. This opinion was filed September 21, 1981.

The evidence adduced at the preliminary hearing showed that Mrs. Lee Losse was driving home from work at about 10:30 p.m. on February 14, 1981. As Mrs. Losse drove down Susquehanna Road in Upper Dublin Township, she stopped at a light where the driver of another car attracted her attention. Mrs. Losse later identified the driver as Beckman. When Mrs. Losse pulled away from the light, the other car began to push hers. In an effort to avoid the car behind her, Mrs. Losse steered toward the shoulder; as she did so the other car pushed again. ...


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