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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. PAUL MORRISON (04/16/84)

submitted: April 16, 1984.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
PAUL MORRISON, APPELLANT



No. 03657 PHILADELPHIA, 1982, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence in the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Philadelphia County, Nos. 80-02-940 and 941.

COUNSEL

John Packel, Chief, Appeals, Assistant Public Defender, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Jane C. Greenspan, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Montemuro, Cercone and Hester, JJ. Cercone, J., filed a dissenting opinion.

Author: Hester

[ 334 Pa. Super. Page 506]

This is an appeal from judgment of sentence entered after appellant was adjudged guilty on January 21, 1981 of, inter alia, burglary, criminal trespass and conspiracy. Appellant contends the lower court erred in denying his right to appellate review when it dismissed his post-verdict motions.

Appellant's post-verdict motions were first scheduled for oral argument on March 25, 1981. Due to administrative delay the matter was continued until October 27, 1981, at which time appellant failed to appear.

Appellant again failed to appear on April 6, 1982 as he had escaped the jurisdiction at or about that time. The trial judge specifically addressed appellant's fugitive status by issuing a bench warrant.*fn1 On April 22, 1982, the trial judge further recognized appellant's fugitive status and entered the following notation in the Quarter Sessions File: "Def. -- Sentence [deferred sentence]."

When appellant again failed to appear at the October 20, 1982 listing, a second bench warrant was issued. On November 18, 1982, the judge entered in the Quarter Sessions file "BW to stand, Deferred Sentence, c [continued] 12-2-82."

Appellant was apprehended on or about November 16, 1982, after seven and one-half months as a fugitive. On December 2, 1982, the lower court formally dismissed appellant's

[ 334 Pa. Super. Page 507]

    post-verdict motions prior to sentencing. Appellant filed with this Court a Petition to Remand requesting that the lower court be required to consider appellant's post-verdict motions. This Court denied the petition without prejudice to appellant's right to raise this issue on appeal.

We affirm the lower court based on the factually similar case of Commonwealth v. Lewis, 300 Pa. Super. 191, 446 A.2d 295 (1982). In Lewis, the trial judge afforded the fugitive defendant one continuance for his post-verdict motions. At the next scheduled hearing, the judge noted in the record "9-26-78 Defendant ...


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