No. 219 Harrisburg 1982, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, York County, Criminal, at Nos. 728, 1980.
John R. Carroll, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Floyd P. Jones, Assistant District Attorney, York, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Wickersham, Del Sole and Montemuro, JJ.
[ 330 Pa. Super. Page 554]
This matter is before the court on the appeal of Scott Charles Davis from a mandatory life sentence*fn1 after conviction of first degree murder.*fn2 Appellant maintains that under a section of the Juvenile Act,*fn3 his judgment of sentence must be reversed and his case remanded for proceedings under the Mental Health Procedures Act (hereinafter "MHPA").*fn4
On June 7, 1980, the appellant shot and killed Roderick Kotchin, who had been his friend, employer, and neighbor. At the time of the incident, appellant was fifteen years of age. Appellant was arrested under the criminal system, and his counsel filed a petition for transfer of the case from criminal court to juvenile court in accordance with § 6322(a) of the Juvenile Act.
On September 30, 1980, a hearing was held within the criminal system on appellant's transfer petition. Expert testimony offered by the appellant as well as the Commonwealth
[ 330 Pa. Super. Page 555]
indicated that appellant was mentally ill. The lower court issued its opinion and order on November 10, 1980, denying transfer to the juvenile system. That opinion stressed that appellant had failed to prove that he was amenable to treatment within the juvenile system. 42 Pa.C.S. § 6355(a)(4)(iii)(A). Citing Commonwealth v. Pyle, 462 Pa. 613, 342 A.2d 101 (1975), the lower court found that appellant had not established that he could be rehabilitated prior to the expiration of the juvenile system's jurisdiction when appellant reached twenty-one years of age.
On December 22, 1980, appellant filed a motion for rehearing of his petition to transfer the proceedings to the juvenile system. The motion alleged that appellant was even more seriously ill than had previously been believed. Appellant argued both that: (1) under 42 Pa.C.S. § 6355(a)(4)(iii)(B), transfer to the juvenile system must be made upon a finding that a child charged with murder is mentally ill and committable, and (2) under 42 Pa.C.S. § 6356, where any hearing indicates that a child is mentally ill and committable, the court must proceed under the MHPA.
After argument, the lower court entered an order and memorandum opinion denying appellant's rehearing petition. That opinion of March 13, 1981, discussed appellant's first argument and held under Commonwealth v. Pyle, supra, that even a finding that a child is committable does not, per se, require transfer to the juvenile system.*fn5 The lower court's memorandum opinion did not address appellant's second argument under 42 Pa.C.S. § 6356.
The appellant was tried on May 4-7, 1981, and the jury found him guilty of first degree murder. It is significant that appellant never contended that his mental illness caused him to be either incompetent to stand trial or rendered
[ 330 Pa. Super. Page 556]
him legally insane.*fn6 Appellant filed a motion in arrest of judgment on the basis that § 6356 of the Juvenile Act mandated a separate procedure and disposition of all mentally ill children, and that he should not have been prosecuted in the criminal system. Relying on the opinion already filed ...