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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. WILLIAM RICHARDSON (06/09/86)

filed: June 9, 1986.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
WILLIAM RICHARDSON, APPELLANT



APPEAL FROM THE ORDER ENTERED SEPTEMBER 16, 1985 IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF DELAWARE COUNTY, NO. 6176 OF 1983 CRIMINAL SECTION

COUNSEL

Edward Reif, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Vram Nedurian, Assistant District Attorney, Newtown Square, for Com., appellee.

Cirillo, President Judge, and Rowley and Wieand, JJ. Rowley and Wieand, JJ., concur in the result.

Author: Cirillo

[ 354 Pa. Super. Page 195]

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County denying appellant's petition to

[ 354 Pa. Super. Page 196]

    expunge his record of arrest. We conclude that denial of the petition was improper and accordingly reverse.

Appellant was a cab driver. He picked up a young female fare who asked to be taken to her home. On the way there, appellant pulled his cab into a church parking lot, climbed into the back seat, and had sexual intercourse with the woman. He was arrested two days later and charged with rape, indecent assault, simple assault, indecent exposure, false imprisonment and reckless endangerment. Appellant maintained that the intercourse was consensual.

A prima facie case having been established at the preliminary hearing, appellant was held over on all counts. At trial, which was before a jury, the alleged victim testified on behalf of the Commonwealth. On cross-examination, the prosecution asked appellant whether he did not pull the victim to the floor of the car to avoid being seen by a passerby. To this, appellant unresponsively blurted out that he had earlier passed a lie detector test. The Commonwealth requested a mistrial, which was granted. At the subsequent bench trial, the alleged victim was not present to testify.*fn1 The case was dismissed and appellant was discharged.*fn2 Thereafter, he petitioned for expungement, which was denied.

Insofar as appellant was never found guilty, it was clearly the Commonwealth's burden to demonstrate at the hearing that expungement would be improper in this case. Commonwealth v. Chacker, 320 Pa. Super. 402, 467 A.2d 386 (1983). Thus, the Commonwealth was obligated to set forth compelling reasons for denial of appellant's petition. Commonwealth v. Wexler, 494 Pa. 325, 431 A.2d 877 (1981); Rambo v. Commissioner of Police, 301 Pa. Super. 135, 447

[ 354 Pa. Super. Page 197]

A.2d 279 (1982). Thereafter, the hearing court must weigh the individual's right to be free from the harm attendant in maintenance of the arrest record against the reasons given to ...


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