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filed: April 26, 1985.


No. 2685 Philadelphia, 1983, Appeal from the Order in the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Criminal Division, Nos. 4251, 4252, 4253, 4254 of 1983


Ann A. Osborne, Assistant District Attorney, Radnor, for Com., appellant.

Paul G. Hughes, Broomall, for appellee.

Cavanaugh, Beck and Tamilia, JJ. Dissenting opinion by Beck, J.

Author: Tamilia

[ 342 Pa. Super. Page 121]

This appeal was taken from the Order of the trial court in a criminal proceeding wherein the trial court granted a hearing on the appellee's petition for "decertification" of his offenses which had been certified to the criminal court after a juvenile certification proceeding pursuant to section 6355 of the Juvenile Act, 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 6301 et seq.

This case originated when juvenile petitions were filed charging the defendant, sixteen years of age, in each of four separate petitions, with possession of controlled substance in violation of 35 P.S. 780-113(a)(16) and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance in violation of 35 P.S. 780-113(a)(30). A possession or use would bring a sentence of one year imprisonment and a fine of $5,000. The penalty under section 113(a)(30) is a felony and would bring a penalty of five years imprisonment and a fine of $15,000. The Commonwealth, at the certification hearing, established a prima facie case on each of the counts which were certified to the criminal court. The first involved an

[ 342 Pa. Super. Page 122]

    offense that occurred on February 1, 1983 at approximately 3:00 p.m.; a transfer occurred of 50 doses of LSD to undercover detectives by the defendant and a companion for the price of $135. Prior to the next transaction, the undercover detective was in touch with the defendant who informed him that he could procure drugs such as quaaludes and seconal and up to 10,000 doses of LSD. On February 18, 1983, at 3:00 p.m., contact was made with the defendant and together they drove in the undercover agent's car to an area near Holy Cross College where a transfer of 100 doses of LSD was made to the agent for an amount of $200. During the course of that transaction, discussion concerning other possible transfers was had during which the defendant asked if the agent would move large quantities of cocaine and during which the defendant confirmed that he could procure large doses of LSD. On the same day, at a later time, they drove to another man's house where the defendant entered and returned to the vehicle providing the agent with 160 doses of LSD for $300 in currency. A second agent testified that on May 25, 1983, at about 3:35 p.m., he met the defendant behind the Delaware County Hospital at the Upper Darby High School. The transfer from the defendant to the agent involved about one ounce of hashish for the price of $85. The agents testified that in their opinion, the defendant was involved in a sophisticated drug operation.

Also, at the certification hearing testimony was presented by a supervisor of the Delaware County Juvenile Court Probation department. It was her testimony, after reviewing the records relating to the defendant without interviewing him, that in relation to the serious nature of the crimes and her appraisal of the need for long-term custodial treatment, there were no available juvenile facilities that could adequately handle the defendant's treatment. She also testified there was nothing to indicate he required treatment in a mental health facility. Her judgment was that he was not amenable to the facilities of the juvenile justice system based on the nature of the offenses which are

[ 342 Pa. Super. Page 123]

    considered to be extremely dangerous. The reason given for this opinion was that the juvenile facilities provided treatment for periods between six and nine months and that because of the serious nature of these offenses, the defendant required a much longer term of custodial treatment. Her testimony, on cross-examination, was that community treatment or probation were not suitable alternatives. The defendant had no prior juvenile record and except to the extent of the workup and study that was done in the detention home, there was no written report; the only social record supplied to the court being the supervisor's report. One reason given for not doing a study prior to the certification hearing was the need to obtain the approvals of the child, his attorney and the administration, which had not been obtained. In response to the appellee's attorney's question, the probation administrator acknowledged that no study had been done specifically dealing with John Madden to determine whether he was amenable to rehabilitation in the juvenile court system.

Pursuant to Commonwealth v. Stokes, 279 Pa. Super. 361, 421 A.2d 240 (1980) the certification court was required to make a statement of his reasons for certification; this statement being sufficient to demonstrate that the question of certification has received careful consideration in the juvenile court. This is pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 6355, supra. In this regard, the court made a statement in which he acknowledged being governed by the provisions of the Juvenile Act and in consideration thereof, he made findings concerning the age of the juvenile and that notice had been given that the acts alleged would be considered a felony if committed by an adult and that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the child was not amenable to treatment, supervision or rehabilitation as a juvenile through available facilities, based on the supervisor's testimony. He ...

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