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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ERNEST WOODS (07/12/85)

SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: July 12, 1985.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT,
v.
ERNEST WOODS, APPELLEE

Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, Trial Division, Criminal Section, dated April 4, 1984, entered on No. 90 June Session, 1983

COUNSEL

Eric B. Henson, Deputy Dist. Atty., Philadelphia, for appellant.

John W. Packel, Chief, Appeals Div., Leonard Sosnov, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson, Zappala and Papadakos, JJ.

Author: Nix

[ 508 Pa. Page 296]

OPINION

In this case the Commonwealth appeals the trial court's determination that section 9712 of the Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Act, 42 Pa.C.S. § 9712, is unconstitutional. That section requires the imposition of a minimum sentence of five years total confinement if it is established by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant was in visible possession of a firearm during the commission of certain felonies.*fn1 In light of our recent decision in Commonwealth v. Wright, 508 Pa. 25, 494 A.2d 354 (1985), we find it unnecessary to discuss at length the issues raised in this appeal.

In Commonwealth v. Wright, supra, we held that the preponderance standard of proof prescribed in section 9712 satisfies the minimum requirements of due process. Accordingly, the lower court's holding that section 9712 is unconstitutional is reversed, the sentence imposed is vacated and the cause is remanded for resentencing pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § 9712.


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