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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ROGER A. STAFFORD (04/29/83)

filed: April 29, 1983.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ROGER A. STAFFORD, APPELLANT



No. 967 Pittsburgh, 1981, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of August 24, 1981 In the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Criminal Division, No. 1848 of 1980 and 338 and 339 of 1980.

COUNSEL

Carmela R.M. Presogna, Assistant Public Defender, Erie, for appellant.

Michael R. Cauley, Assistant District Attorney, Erie, submitted a brief on behalf of Commonwealth, appellee.

Cercone, P.j., and Wieand and Beck, JJ.

Author: Cercone

[ 313 Pa. Super. Page 233]

This is a direct appeal from the judgment of sentence imposed by the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County on August 24, 1981 following appellant's entry of guilty pleas to charges of resisting arrest*fn1 and simple assault*fn2 at Number 1848 of 1980; robbery*fn3 and simple assault at Number 338 of 1981; and simple assault at Number 339 of 1981. In taking the instant appeal, appellant argues, inter alia,*fn4 that the sentencing court failed to adequately discharge its sentencing responsibilities as they are delineated in the Sentencing Code,*fn5 Pa.R.Crim.P. 1405(b), and supporting caselaw.

After reviewing the transcript of the sentencing proceedings, we agree that the lower court did not state with sufficient specificity the reasons underlying its sentence. Consequently, we vacate the judgment of sentence and remand the case for resentencing.

It is settled that "[s]entencing is a matter within the sound discretion of the sentencing judge, to be exercised within the statutory guidelines and considerations. When so exercised, the sentence will not be disturbed by an

[ 313 Pa. Super. Page 234]

    appellate court unless it is so clearly excessive as to constitute an abuse of discretion." Commonwealth v. Hollerbush, 298 Pa. Superior Ct. 397, 406-407, 444 A.2d 1235, 1240 (1982).*fn6 In view of the wide latitude accorded to sentencing judges, an appellate court's review of a challenged sentence necessarily begins with an evaluation of the degree to which the sentencing judge followed the guidelines set forth in the Sentencing Code.*fn7 Commonwealth v. Coleman a/k/a Chevron, 310 Pa. Superior Ct. 133, 456 A.2d 218 (1983). As we recently stated in Commonwealth v. Kraft, 294 Pa. Superior Ct. 599, 440 A.2d 627 (1982):

If the sentencing judge followed the obligatory procedures enacted to assure careful, intelligent and informed

[ 313 Pa. Super. Page 235]

    sentencing, then this court may review the sentence only to ensure that there has not been an abuse of the wide discretion accorded the sentencing court: Commonwealth v. Knight, 479 Pa. 209, 387 A.2d 1297 (1977); Commonwealth v. Martin, 466 Pa. 118, 351 A.2d 650 (1976); Commonwealth v. Landi, 280 Pa. Super. 134, 421 A.2d 442 (1980). On the other hand, if the sentencing judge did not follow the obligatory procedures, then this court must remand for resentencing in accordance with the applicable statutes and rules. Commonwealth v. Butch, 487 Pa. 30, 407 A.2d 1302 (1979); Commonwealth v. ...


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