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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. DONALD E. REAGAN (03/19/84)

submitted: March 19, 1984.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
DONALD E. REAGAN, APPELLANT



NO. 03084 PHILADELPHIA, 1982, Appeal from the Order dated September 28, 1982, in the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County, Criminal Division, at No. 76108401.

COUNSEL

Charles B. Coleman, Assistant Public Defender, Reading, for appellant.

Charles M. Guthrie, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, Reading, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Spaeth, President Judge, and Rowley and Beck, JJ.

Author: Beck

[ 330 Pa. Super. Page 418]

The question is whether an appeal from an interlocutory order adjudicating appellant competent to stand trial for homicide under the provisions of the Mental Health Procedures Act, 50 P.S. ยง 7101 et seq. (hereinafter "Act")*fn1 is appealable prior to trial. We hold that such an interlocutory order is not appealable.

Although neither party has raised the issue of the appealability of this order, we address the issue sua sponte. Commonwealth v. Hunter, 294 Pa. Super. 52, 54, 439 A.2d 745, 746 (1982).

Section 7403 of the Act provides that when a defendant previously found incompetent to stand trial has regained competence, "the [criminal] proceedings shall be resumed."

Generally, a criminal defendant may appeal only from a judgment of sentence. However, an appeal before final judgment may be permitted in "exceptional circumstances", such as

". . . (1) where an appeal is necessary to prevent a great injustice to the defendant, or (2) where an issue of basic human rights is involved, or (3) where an issue of great importance is involved." Id., 294 Pa. Superior Ct. at 56,

[ 330 Pa. Super. Page 419439]

A.2d at 747, quoting Commonwealth v. Bolden, 472 Pa. 602, 610-611, 373 A.2d 90, 93-4 (1977).

For example, in Bolden the Pennsylvania Supreme Court permitted pre-trial appeal of the refusal to dismiss an indictment based on double jeopardy grounds. The Court concluded that because the double jeopardy clause was designed to protect an individual from having to stand trial, not merely to bar a second conviction, ...


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