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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JOHN FRANCIS MEO (03/13/87)

filed: March 13, 1987.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JOHN FRANCIS MEO, APPELLANT. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA V. PHYLLIS MARCI TIZER, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of April 25, 1986 in the Court of Common Pleas of Monroe County, Criminal Division, at No. 446 - 1984. Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of April 25, 1986 in the Court of Common Pleas of Monroe County, Criminal Division, at No. 445 - 1984.

COUNSEL

John P. Lawler, Stroudsburg, for appellant John Francis Meo.

Mark S. Love, Stroudsburg, for appellant Phyllis Marci Tizer.

Jane Roach, Assistant District Attorney, Allentown, for Com., appellee.

Cirillo, President Judge, and Rowley and Beck, JJ. Cirillo, President Judge, concurring.

Author: Beck

[ 362 Pa. Super. Page 330]

These are consolidated appeals from appellants' judgments of sentence for possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) with intent to manufacture. Appellants contend that (1) there was insufficient evidence introduced at trial to show that they possessed the methamphetamine; (2) evidence seized pursuant to a search warrant should have been suppressed because (a) the probable cause affidavit supporting the warrant was insufficient and (b) the execution of the search warrant was defective because the police did not wait a reasonable period of time before forcibly entering the premises; (3) the trial court committed various sentencing errors; and (4) the trial court erred in denying defense counsel access to a report prepared by a police officer that the officer reviewed before he testified at appellants' joint trial. In addition, appellant Meo contends that he was entitled to a mistrial because the Commonwealth failed to disclose fingerprint evidence as required by Pa.R.Crim.P. 305 B(1)(f). Because we find that the trial court erred in denying appellants access to the police report, and because we cannot determine if that error is harmless on this record, we remand for an evidentiary hearing on harmless error.

[ 362 Pa. Super. Page 331]

On April 26, 1984, appellants were arrested and charged with various violations of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, 35 Pa.Stat.Ann. ยงยง 780-101 through 780-144 (Purdon 1983). The cases were consolidated and appellants were tried before a jury in January, 1985. On January 8, 1985, the jury found appellants guilty of possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture. Appellant Meo was later sentenced to a four-and-one-half-to-nine-year term of imprisonment, and appellant Tizer was sentenced to a one-to-five-year term of imprisonment. Both Meo and Tizer appealed, and the two appeals were thereafter consolidated.

Appellants first contend that there was insufficient evidence introduced at trial to show that they possessed the methamphetamine, and that evidence seized pursuant to a search warrant should have been suppressed. In addition, appellant Meo contends that he was entitled to a mistrial because the Commonwealth failed to disclose fingerprint evidence as required by Pa.R.Crim.P. 305 B(1)(f). After carefully reviewing the record and the parties' briefs, we conclude that the lower court has adequately disposed of appellants' sufficiency and suppression claims, as well as Meo's claim regarding discovery of fingerprint evidence.

Appellants next contend that the trial court erred in sentencing them. These claims are meritless.

Appellant Meo argues that his sentence exceeded the sentencing guidelines because the Commonwealth failed to produce sufficient evidence of his prior convictions, and thus the court should not have sentenced him as a repeat offender.

[T]he defense has the burden of alleging invalid prior convictions, and . . . if the allegations appear to have merit, the court ordinarily should inquire into the circumstances surrounding the convictions. If the allegations warrant it, the court should require the production of evidence by the Commonwealth showing the validity of the convictions. If the ...


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