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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. MARTIN ASKIN (11/16/83)

SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: November 16, 1983.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
MARTIN ASKIN, APPELLANT

No. 40 E.D. Appeal Dkt. 1983, Appeal from Order of Superior Court entered November 19, 1982, at No. 1931 Philadelphia 1981, Pa. Super. , Roberts, C.j., and Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson and Zappala, JJ.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 502 Pa. Page 576]

OPINION OF THE COURT

This is an appeal by allowance from an order of the Superior Court, 306 Pa. Superior 529, 452 A.2d 851, affirming convictions of forgery (eleven counts) and conspiracy (one count). Appellant contends that the charge of conspiracy, which was brought in February of 1980 and which alleged that the conspiracy occurred between July 1975 and June 1976, was barred by the two-year statute of limitations set forth in 42 Pa.C.S. § 5552(a). A divided panel of the Superior Court held that the statute of limitations for conspiracy is determined by the statute of limitations for the most serious offense for which appellant could properly have been convicted, which in this case was forgery, an offense with a five-year statute of limitations.

The Superior Court's holding is contrary to the plain language of 42 Pa.C.S. § 5552. At the time the present action was commenced, section 5552 provided:

"(a) General Rule. -- Except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, a prosecution for an offense other than murder or voluntary manslaughter must be commenced within two years after it is committed.

(b) Major offenses. -- A prosecution for any of the following offenses under Title 18 (relating to crimes and offenses) must be commenced within five years after it is committed:

Section 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse).

Section 3301 (relating to arson and related offenses).

[ 502 Pa. Page 577]

Section 3502 (relating to burglary).

Section 3701 (relating to robbery).

Section 4101 (relating to forgery).

Section 4902 (relating to perjury)."*fn1

Because criminal conspiracy is not an offense enumerated in subsection (b) of section 5552, the two-year statute of limitations established by subsection (a) must apply.*fn2

The order of the Superior Court is modified to reverse the conspiracy conviction. As modified, the order of the Superior Court is affirmed.


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