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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. WILLIAM CORONETT (01/21/83)

filed: January 21, 1983.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
WILLIAM CORONETT, APPELLANT



No. 3052 October Term, 1978, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division - Criminal Section, of Philadelphia County, No. 1332 August Term, 1978

COUNSEL

Theodore Simon, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Garold E. Tennis, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Spaeth, Montgomery and Lipez, JJ.

Author: Lipez

[ 309 Pa. Super. Page 559]

In a trial without a jury, William Coronett was convicted of simple assault, 18 Pa.C.S. ยง 2701, and was sentenced to two years' probation. He appeals from the judgment of sentence, arguing: 1) that the prosecution for simple assault and other indictable offenses was barred due to the former prosecution of traffic violations arising out of the same incident; and 2) that the Commonwealth's evidence was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was not acting in self-defense. We affirm.

[ 309 Pa. Super. Page 560]

The incident giving rise to the charges in this case occurred on July 4, 1978, in Philadelphia. Appellant was driving east on Market Street in heavy Independence Day traffic. When he reached the corner of Third and Market Streets, Philadelphia Police Officer Patrick Cubbage, who was directing traffic at that intersection, indicated that all traffic should make a left turn to proceed north on Third Street. Appellant, however, wished to stay on Market Street and disregarded Officer Cubbage's directions, continuing to drive east through the intersection. Cubbage motioned to Officer Harold Bias, stationed at the next corner, to stop appellant's car. Bias did so, and told appellant that Cubbage wanted to speak to him. Appellant began to back up at a high rate of speed to return to where Cubbage was standing. Cubbage, believing that appellant was trying to hit him with the car, drew his gun and ordered him to stop. Appellant did so, but as Cubbage was returning his gun to its holster, he got out of the car and struck Cubbage in the face with his open hand. The two police officers then subdued and arrested appellant.

On July 4, Cubbage issued citations to appellant for three Motor Vehicle Code violations (hereinafter referred to as "traffic offenses"): failure to obey an officer's signals, reckless driving, and driving without a license. He also filed a criminal complaint on that date, charging appellant with attempted murder, aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, and resisting arrest (hereinafter referred to as "indictable offenses"). Authorization to issue process pursuant to the complaint was given on July 5, 1978.

After a preliminary hearing on August 21, 1978, defendant was held for trial in common pleas court on the indictable offenses. The traffic offenses were tried separately on August 23, 1978, in Philadelphia Traffic Court, and appellant was found guilty only on the charge of failing to obey an officer's signal. On October 5, 1978, appellant moved to dismiss the criminal informations on the indictable offenses, contending that their prosecution was barred by

[ 309 Pa. Super. Page 561]

    the prior trial of the traffic offenses. This motion was denied, and the case proceeded to trial, resulting in the conviction and judgment of sentence now before us for review.

Appellant's first argument is that the lower court erred in denying his motion to dismiss the informations on the indictable offenses. He contends that the prosecution of these offenses was barred under the compulsory joinder principles of section 110 of the Crimes Code*fn1 and the decisions of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Commonwealth v. Campana*fn2 because he had previously been convicted of traffic offenses arising from the same criminal episode. We must disagree. We conclude that ...


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