No. 303 Harrisburg, 1981, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of September 30, 1981 in the Court of Common Pleas of Union County, Criminal Division, No. 67-1979
Robert H. Steinberg, Middleburg, for appellant.
Graham C. Showalter, District Attorney, Lewisburg, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Cercone, President Judge, and Wickersham and Montemuro, JJ.
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Appellant was arrested and charged with four counts each of delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. He proceeded to trial before a jury. Appellant admitted selling the controlled
[ 326 Pa. Super. Page 349]
substances, but claimed that, as a result of pressure applied by a Mr. Walburn, he had been coerced and entrapped to do so. He was convicted on all counts and sentenced to two (2) to four (4) years in prison on each count, to be served concurrently. He here appeals the judgment of sentence.
On appeal appellant raises five (5) assignments of error all of which pertain to his entrapment defense. The first three claims address evidentiary ruling of the trial court. Finding merit to one of such claims, we are constrained to reverse and remand for a new trial. We choose to briefly address the other issues so to provide guidance to the trial court on remand.
Appellant contends that the trial court improperly restricted his cross-examination of an undercover investigator. He attempted to question the witness regarding the role of the Lewisburg Police Department in the investigation and the investigation's goal of apprehending appellant's supplier. The court found such inquiries irrelevant to the charges at hand and to the claim of entrapment. We agree.
Evidence is relevant if it in some degree advances the inquiry, making the desired inference more probable than not. Commonwealth v. Walzack, 468 Pa. 210, 360 A.2d 914 (1976); Commonwealth v. Miller, 268 Pa. Superior Ct. 123, 407 A.2d 860 (1979). The admission of such evidence rests with the discretion of the trial court. Id., 268 Pa. Superior Ct. at 133, 407 A.2d at 866. We find no error in excluding the above evidence for we fail to see how the proposed inquiry could further appellant's claim that he was entrapped or coerced by the conduct of an alleged agent of the Commonwealth.
Next appellant argues that the court should have allowed him to introduce evidence as to the violent propensities of Walburn, who first brought appellant and the undercover agent together. He contended that it was out of fear of this person that he sold the illicit drugs. The trial court found the proffered evidence ...