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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. GREGORY TAYLOR (03/10/87)

decided: March 10, 1987.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT,
v.
GREGORY TAYLOR, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania at No. 90, Harrisburg, 1983, dated October 12, 1984, vacating judgment of sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County at No. 739 C.D 1982, dated March 15, 1983, Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson, Zappala and Papadakos, JJ.

Author: Mcdermott

[ 513 Pa. Page 548]

OPINION

This is an appeal by the Commonwealth from an order of the Superior Court which vacated a judgment of sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County following appellees conviction by a jury on a charge of carrying a firearm without a license.*fn1

The facts as they relate to the issue presented are these. On the evening of April 6, 1982, Harrisburg police received a report of a domestic disturbance at 124 Baum Street in which a pistol was involved. Shortly thereafter, Officer Klotzbeecher received a radio transmission alerting him that the man involved in the incident was one Gregory Taylor, that he was armed, and probably proceeding to a residence at 438 Boas Street in Harrisburg. The officer went to that address and knocked at the door, but received no response. He removed himself some distance and took up watch on the house.

Approximately ten to fifteen minutes had elapsed between the time of the report of the disturbance and his knock. Another fifteen to twenty minutes passed as he

[ 513 Pa. Page 549]

    kept watch. Eventually a man, afterwards identified as Mr. Taylor, came out of the house and walked down a nearby alley. Officer Klotzbeecher hailed him. The man turned, answered "yes?", and approached the officer, removing a pistol from his jacket pocket as he did so. On the officer's command he dropped the weapon; a .38 semiautomatic pistol which was cocked and contained one chambered round and six more in the magazine. Officer Klotzbeecher placed Mr. Taylor under arrest and charged him with carrying a concealed weapon without a license. At the same time he was also charged with simple assault by menace with a pistol*fn2 by another officer who had responded to the report of the earlier incident on Baum Street. (N.T. 19).

On April 14th, at a preliminary hearing on the assault charge, Mr. Taylor was permitted to plead guilty to a reduced charge of the lesser included offense of harassment, a summary offense.*fn3 He was fined $150.00 and costs of $66.20.

The following day the same district justice held appellee for trial on the charge of carrying a concealed weapon without a license. He was subsequently tried on this charge, found guilty by a jury and sentenced to imprisonment of six to twenty three months, a fine of $500, and court costs.

Mr. Taylor appealed the judgment of sentence on grounds that the earlier conviction and fine on the harassment charge barred subsequent trial of the weapon charge under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code provision which prohibits prosecution of statutory offenses when there has been an earlier prosecution for a different statutory offense arising from the same criminal episode.*fn4 Superior Court found merit in his argument and vacated the judgment of sentence. From the Superior Court order the Commonwealth now appeals.

[ 513 Pa. Page 550]

The single issue presented by the Commonwealth is whether the Superior Court properly applied Section 110 of the Crimes Code to the ...


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