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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. LARRY GREEN (03/25/83)

filed: March 25, 1983.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
LARRY GREEN, APPELLANT



No. 603 Philadelphia, 1981, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Trial Division, Criminal Section, No. 951, July Term, 1980.

COUNSEL

Gilbert E. Toll, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Gaele M. Barthold, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Wickersham, Rowley and McEwen, JJ.

Author: Mcewen

[ 312 Pa. Super. Page 267]

We here review an appeal brought by appellant from a judgment of sentence to a term of imprisonment of from eighteen to thirty-six years, imposed after he entered a guilty plea to five charges of robbery, three charges of conspiracy, one charge of unlawful restraint, two charges of assault and one charge of possession of instruments of crime. Appellant contends: (1) that the sentence imposed was illegal; (2) that the sentence imposed was an abuse of discretion; and (3) that the sentencing judge erred by failing to conduct a hearing upon the motion of appellant to withdraw his plea of guilty. We find no merit to these contentions and, accordingly, we affirm.

Appellant, in the company of two other men and a woman, traveled from Washington, D.C. to a house in Philadelphia where a craps game was being held. Appellant and the two other men each used a gun to threaten six participants in the craps game while proceeding to strike three of the players and rob four of them. Appellant and one of the other robbers, while in flight from the craps game, robbed at gunpoint another individual of the sum of $275.00. When police pursuit began, appellant and his accomplice, with threats and pointed gun, forced their way into the car of another individual. Defendant was subsequently apprehended after further chase during which he pointed his gun at pursuing policemen.

The distinguished Philadelphia County Common Pleas Court Judge Judith J. Jamison sentenced appellant to serve a term of imprisonment of from ten to twenty years on one

[ 312 Pa. Super. Page 268]

    of the bills that charged robbery of a participant in the craps game and to serve a consecutive term of imprisonment of from ten to twenty years upon the bill that charged robbery during the flight and escape. This latter sentence was subsequently, in response to an application by defendant for reconsideration of sentence, reduced to a term of from eight to sixteen years. The sentences imposed on other bills were either suspended or made concurrent and the total term of imprisonment of from eighteen to thirty-six years was to run concurrently with a federal sentence confronting appellant.

Appellant initially argues that the sentence was illegal and in support thereof he relies on the following statute:

§ 9757. Consecutive sentences of total confinement for multiple offenses.

Whenever the court determines that a sentence should be served consecutively to one being then imposed by the court, or to one previously imposed, the court shall indicate the minimum sentence to be served for the total of all offenses with respect to which sentence is imposed. Such minimum sentence shall not exceed one-half of the maximum sentence imposed.

It is the contention of appellant that this statute directs that his aggregate minimum sentence should not exceed one-half of the longest maximum sentence on any one count and he concludes that the correct sentence should have been ten to thirty-six years. We reject this contention. We are compelled to apply the "plain meaning" rule to this statute. See 1 Pa.C.S. § 1903; Commonwealth v. Mumma, 489 Pa. 547, 552, 414 A.2d 1026, 1029 (1980). The plain meaning of the statute is that the aggregate ...


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