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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. HAROLD VANDERHORST A/K/A HAROLD VANDERHORSE (09/10/85)

submitted: September 10, 1985.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT,
v.
HAROLD VANDERHORST A/K/A HAROLD VANDERHORSE



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of December 5, 1984 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division, No. 83-08-906.

COUNSEL

Susan V. Kahn, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellant.

William T. Cannon, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Wieand, Cercone and Roberts, JJ.

Author: Cercone

[ 347 Pa. Super. Page 650]

In August, 1984, appellee was convicted in a non-jury trial of voluntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to serve a ten-year term of probation. The Commonwealth timely filed petitions to reconsider sentence, which were denied. The Commonwealth filed this appeal claiming that the trial court, in imposing sentence, abused its discretion by unreasonably deviating from the sentencing guidelines.

In the evening of May 23, 1983, the victim approached appellee while he was seated on the front steps of his porch and directed insulting remarks at appellee and appellee's sister. Later that evening, appellee went to the neighborhood bar and while there he was again confronted by the victim. Appellee left the bar and began walking home, followed by the victim who continually harassed and insulted him. Appellee kept telling the victim, "Man, I don't even know you. Just leave me alone." As appellee approached his home, he was physically assaulted from behind by the victim. A fistfight ensued which resulted in appellee throwing the victim to the ground and striking his head several times on the asphalt, causing the victim's death.

The legislature has provided that the appellate courts, in reviewing the discretionary aspects of a sentence on appeal, shall affirm the trial court's sentence unless it finds that "the sentencing court sentenced outside the sentencing guidelines and the sentence is unreasonable." 42 Pa.C.S.A. ยง 9781(c)(3). In determining whether a particular sentence is "unreasonable", the appellate court must review the record with regard for:

(1) The nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant.

(2) The opportunity of the sentencing court to observe the defendant, including any presentence investigation.

[ 347 Pa. Super. Page 651]

(3) The findings upon which the sentence ...


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