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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. BARBARA MITCHELL (05/27/83)

filed: May 27, 1983.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
BARBARA MITCHELL, APPELLANT



No. 61 Philadelphia 1982, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Criminal Division, at No. 6128 of 1980.

COUNSEL

William J. Winning, Media, for appellant.

Andrew S. Kovach, Assistant District Attorney, Media, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Cercone, President Judge, and Rowley and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Rowley

[ 314 Pa. Super. Page 365]

Appellant was convicted, after a jury trial, of burglary, theft and criminal conspiracy. Post-trial motions were filed

[ 314 Pa. Super. Page 366]

    and denied. Appellant was sentenced to a total term of not less than seven years or more than seventeen years imprisonment. This direct appeal followed.

Appellant argues that the trial court erred in allowing the Commonwealth to present testimony concerning a charge of forgery that was filed against her some five years prior to the burglary. We agree that the testimony was improper and prejudicial. Therefore, we will reverse the judgment of sentence and remand for a new trial.

The burglary occurred November 1, 1980, at the home of Robert J. Sanders. The burglary victim, Robert J. Sanders, had at one time been the general manager of Pennell Service Company (Pennell). He testified at trial that he had hired appellant in 1975 as a bookkeeper for Pennell. Appellant left the employment of Pennell in late November or December of 1975. When asked by the prosecutor why appellant left her employment at Pennell, Mr. Sanders testified, over the objection of defense counsel, that "[t]here was missing checks and shortage of . . . well, there were checks signed that were not signed by me". He further testified that appellant had been charged with forgery in connection with the incident. The prosecutor then asked:

Q. Now listen to my question, Mr. Sanders. As of November 1, 1980, were those charges ever resolved? Were they tried or just thrown out or did anything happen with those charges?

A. No.

Q. Why ...


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