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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JOHN CRAWFORD (05/24/84)

submitted: May 24, 1984.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JOHN CRAWFORD, JR., APPELLANT



No. 00272 PHL 83, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of January 7, 1983 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division, at No. 2202-2241 December Term, 1981.

COUNSEL

Kenneth R. Dixon, Philadelphia, for appellant.

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

Del Sole, Montemuro and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Hoffman

[ 334 Pa. Super. Page 632]

Appellant contends that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions for aggravated assault, resisting arrest, and riot. We find the appellant's challenges to be without merit and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of sentence.

In connection with a December 12, 1981 disturbance outside a bar, appellant was arrested and charged with simple and aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, resisting arrest, hindering apprehension, riot, failure to disperse, disorderly conduct, and criminal conspiracy. Jury trial commenced on June 4, 1982, and on June 8 appellant was found guilty of disorderly conduct, failure to disperse, riot, resisting arrest, and three counts each of simple and aggravated assault; he was acquitted on the conspiracy charge.*fn1 Post-verdict motions were timely filed and denied.*fn2 On December 1, 1982, appellant was sentenced to a term of two-and-one-half-to-seven years imprisonment for riot, with all other sentences to run concurrently.*fn3 Appellant's petition for reconsideration was denied on January 6, 1983, prompting this appeal.

In determining whether the evidence is sufficient to support a conviction, we accept as true all the evidence, and

[ 334 Pa. Super. Page 633]

    the reasonable inferences therefrom, upon which the factfinder could have based its verdict and then ask whether that evidence, viewed in a light most favorable to the Commonwealth, was sufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Commonwealth v. Pagan, 315 Pa. Super. 7, 8, 461 A.2d 321, 322 (1983).

So viewed, the facts are as follows: In the early morning hours of December 12, 1981, Policeman Edward McBride observed a "large disturbance" involving twelve or more people in the 2800 block of Oxford Street, Philadelphia. The officer testified that one-half of the members of the group were screaming and hollering at the other half. He thereupon called for backup units and ordered the crowd to disperse. McBride left the scene briefly, but, upon his return, he saw appellant struggling with Officers Arthur Williams and Joseph Arrison. Williams had attempted to arrest appellant for disorderly conduct after appellant said to him, "Fuck you, you motherfuckers. I'm tired of your shit, too." When appellant asked Williams what he was doing, someone from behind grabbed Williams, and two others jumped Arrison. Appellant then turned about and punched Arrison in the eye. McBride came to the assistance of the other two officers, grabbed appellant, and pushed him into the front seat of a police van. Appellant bit McBride on the left hand while another (unidentified) person hit him on the head causing McBride to black out. A fourth policeman sustained some contusions and a sprained ankle when he tried to assist in appellant's arrest.

Appellant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions for aggravated assault and resisting arrest because his arrest for disorderly conduct was illegal. See 18 Pa.C.S.A. ยงยง 2702(a)(3) (lawful arrest is element of aggravated assault offense) and 5104 (lawful arrest is element of resisting arrest). The Commonwealth asserts, however, that probable cause existed to arrest appellant for disorderly conduct. "A person is guilty of disorderly conduct ...


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