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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. FRANK LONG (10/26/84)

filed: October 26, 1984.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
FRANK LONG, APPELLANT



No. 3294 Philadelphia, 1982, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Bucks County, Criminal Division, at No. 4115/1981.

COUNSEL

Catherine A. Porter, Doylestown, for appellant.

Michael S. Goodwin, Assistant District Attorney, Doylestown, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Brosky

[ 334 Pa. Super. Page 555]

Three issues are raised in this appeal but essentially the question before us is whether the trial court erred in prohibiting appellant's counsel from eliciting from a Commonwealth witness that the witness was, at the time of trial, incarcerated.*fn1 We reverse.

Frank Long took this appeal following his conviction by a jury on charges of recklessly endangering another person*fn2 and possession of an instrument of crime.*fn3 Appellant was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of six to twenty-three months. The charges filed against him arose out of an incident that occurred on October 15, 1981. A Commonwealth witness, James Baxter, testified that on that date he lived in the home of Morris Carter; that he was in the house, to which he had returned after an altercation with appellant; and that approximately 3:00 a.m. appellant drove to the house, shouted threats at Mr. Baxter and fired a gun shot at him which struck the storm door. Mr. Baxter, who said that he had gone out on the porch of the house before the shot was fired, testified that appellant drove away after firing the gun.

On cross-examination appellant's trial counsel sought to elicit from Mr. Baxter that he was, at the time of trial, incarcerated in the Bucks County Prison. He argues that he might have been able to show bias on the part of the

[ 334 Pa. Super. Page 556]

    witness because of his incarceration. The following exchange took place:

BY MR. GRAHAM:

Q. Mr. Baxter, if I'm not mistaken, you said your current address is 211 Buckley Street?

A. Yes.

Q. I thought your current address was Bucks County Prison. Is that your current address?

A. Right now at this moment it is.

Q. You live at Bucks County Prison, not 211 Buckley Street?

MR. WILLIAMS: Your Honor, I object to this entire line ...


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