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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. DENNIS CARLISLE BRYNER (02/26/86)

filed: February 26, 1986.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
DENNIS CARLISLE BRYNER, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Indiana County, No. 283 Criminal 1983.

COUNSEL

Jay Y. Rubin, Indiana, for appellant.

William J. Martin, District Attorney, Indiana, for Com., appellee.

Olszewski, Popovich and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 351 Pa. Super. Page 197]

A jury found appellant guilty of burglary, theft by unlawful taking or disposition, and receiving stolen property. Appellant was sentenced to two (2) to four (4) years imprisonment, and this appeal was taken. Appellant raises three assignments of error for our consideration:

1. the trial court erred in prohibiting appellant from cross-examining the juvenile witness co-conspirator as to bias;

2. the trial court erred in prohibiting cross-examination of the juvenile witness co-conspirator concerning prior delinquency adjudications for crimes of crimen falsi to impeach his credibility; and,

3. the trial court erred in permitting the Commonwealth during its closing argument to incorrectly relate the

[ 351 Pa. Super. Page 198]

    time at which the juvenile witness gave his statement to the police.

In accordance with the provisions of 42 Pa.C.S. ยง 6354(b)*fn1, a juvenile record may not generally be used for impeachment purposes. Commonwealth v. Katchmer, 453 Pa. 461, 309 A.2d 591 (1973). However, the United States Supreme Court has since held that the state's interest in protecting the confidentiality of a juvenile's record must yield to the accused's constitutional right to cross-examine an adverse witness to show bias. Davis v. Alaska, 415 U.S. 308, 94 S.Ct. 1105, 39 L.Ed.2d 347 (1974). In applying Davis to cases within the Commonwealth, our Supreme Court has indicated that something more than a mere assertion of possible bias is necessary before the defense can take advantage of the holding in Davis, i.e., sufficient facts must be presented which will permit a clear and direct inference of bias to be drawn. Commonwealth v. Slaughter, 482 Pa. 538, 394 A.2d 453 (1978); Commonwealth v. Case, 322 Pa. Super. 24, 469 A.2d 162 (1983). Specifically, there must be a logical connection between the facts to be proven and the inference to be drawn from those facts. Commonwealth v. Case, Id., 322 Pa. Superior Ct. at 29, 469 A.2d at 165.

The record in the matter before us includes the following sidebar discussion immediately before defense counsel ...


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