Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ARTHUR W. HECKMAN (05/04/87)

SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


submitted: May 4, 1987.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
ARTHUR W. HECKMAN, JR., APPELLANT

Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence August 12, 1985, in the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County, Criminal No. 324 1984.

COUNSEL

John T. Forry, Reading, for appellant.

Charles M. Guthrie, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, for Com., appellee.

Wieand, Olszewski and Hoffman, JJ. Wieand, J., filed a concurring statement.

Author: Olszewski

[ 366 Pa. Super. Page 226]

This is an appeal from the judgment of sentence imposed following appellant's conviction for involuntary deviate sexual intercourse,*fn1 corruption of minors,*fn2 and indecent exposure.*fn3 Appellant presents three issues for our review: (1) whether the trial court erred in ruling that the victim, age five at the time of the offense, possessed the requisite competency to testify; (2) whether the trial court properly imposed consecutive sentences for the three convictions; and (3) whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain the verdict in light of the trial court's refusal to allow defendant's alibi witness to testify. For the reasons which follow, we conclude that issues (1) and (3) are waived. Having considered appellant's remaining issue, we find it to be without merit and therefore affirm the judgment of sentence.

This matter involves appellant's sexual assault of a five-year-old child. The victim, J.M., testified at trial that appellant licked his "pee-pee" and identified his "pee-pee" as being his penis. J.M. further stated that appellant "pulled his [appellant's] pee-pee out" and made J.M. and his sister, H.M., touch it. The jury returned a verdict of guilty on November 15, 1984. Thirteen days later, on November 28, 1984, appellant filed post-verdict motions which the trial court subsequently denied. Appellant was then sentenced on August 12, 1985, to prison terms of five to ten years on his conviction of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and six months to three years each on his convictions of corruption of minors and indecent exposure. Appellant's sentence for indecent exposure was to be served concurrently with his sentence for corruption of minors and those sentences were to be served consecutively with appellant's sentence for involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. Thereafter, on

[ 366 Pa. Super. Page 227]

August 26, 1985, appellant filed a pro se motion for reconsideration and modification of sentence nunc pro tunc, which the trial court denied, treating it as having been timely filed.*fn4 Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal on August 27, 1985.

We do not address the merits of appellant's first and third issues as they have not been properly preserved for our review. Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 1123(a) states in pertinent part:

Within ten (10) days after a finding of guilt, the defendant shall have the right to file written motions for a new trial and in arrest of judgment . . . [O]nly those issues raised and the grounds relied upon in the motions that are stated specifically and with particularity may be argued or heard.

Pa.R.Crim.P. 1123(a).

Interpreting this rule, our courts have held that only those issues included in post-verdict motions will be considered preserved for appellate review. Commonwealth v. Gravely, 486 Pa. 194, 404 A.2d 1296 (1979); Commonwealth v. Cherpes, 360 Pa. Super. 246, 520 A.2d 439 (1987); Commonwealth v. Shain, 324 Pa. Super. 456, 471 A.2d 1246 (1984). Appellant's first issue is not included in his post-verdict motions. Under the foregoing case law, this issue has been waived.

Our courts have also addressed post-verdict motions set out in boilerplate fashion. In Commonwealth v. Holmes, 315 Pa. Super. 256, 461 A.2d 1268 (1983) (en banc), we held that:

     a post-verdict motion, either that "the evidence was insufficient to support the verdict," or that "the verdict was against the weight of the evidence," will preserve no issue for appellate review unless the motion goes on to specify in what respect the evidence was insufficient, or why the verdict was against the weight of the evidence.

[ 366 Pa. Super. Page 228]

    court did impose separate sentences for each of these convictions, directing that the corruption of minors and indecent exposure sentences run concurrently with each other, and consecutively with the involuntary deviate sexual intercourse sentence.

Our Supreme Court recently addressed the common law merger doctrine in Commonwealth v. Michael Williams, 514 Pa. 124, 522 A.2d 1095 (1987). There, the Supreme Court cited and approved of a two-pronged test adopted by an en banc panel of this court in Commonwealth v. Leon Williams, 344 Pa. Super. 108, 496 A.2d 31 (1985) (en banc), summarizing that test as follows:

Under this test, merger is required only when two prerequisites are met. First, the crimes must "necessarily involve" one another. Second, even if the two crimes necessarily involve one another, they do not merge if there are substantially different interests of the Commonwealth at stake and the defendant's act has injured each interest.

Commonwealth v. Michael Williams, supra, 514 Pa. at 136-137, 522 A.2d at 1101, citing Commonwealth v. Leon Williams, supra, 344 Pa. Super. at 125, 496 A.2d at 50. See also Commonwealth v. Taylor, supra, 362 Pa. Super. at 408, 524 A.2d at 942.

Our Supreme Court has previously held that the offenses of indecent exposure and corruption of minors do not merge, the court finding that they protect different interests of the Commonwealth. Commonwealth v. Sayko, 511 Pa. 610, 515 A.2d 894 (1986). We, therefore, address only whether either of these offenses merge with the offense of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. We need not discuss the first prong of the foregoing merger test, however, because we find that, even if these crimes necessarily involve one another, substantially different Commonwealth interests have been injured by the appellant's act. At stake with respect to the offense of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse is the Commonwealth's interest in preventing people from being forced against their will to submit to

[ 366 Pa. Super. Page 230]

    sexual conduct and in preventing minors from being sexually used by adults, see Commonwealth v. Bonadio, 490 Pa. 91, 95, 415 A.2d 47, 49 (1980),*fn7 while the offense of indecent exposure concerns the Commonwealth's interest in proscribing exhibitionism and in shielding any victim from such conduct, and the offense of corruption of minors involves the Commonwealth's interest in protecting minors from corrupting influences, "the consequences of which may follow them all their days," Commonwealth v. Sayko, supra, 511 Pa. at 616, 515 A.2d at 897. These are substantially different interests, in our view, each of which has been injured by the appellant's conduct in this case. For these reasons, appellant's argument that the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentences is without merit.

Judgment of sentence is affirmed.

WIEAND, Judge, concurring:

I agree that the first and third issues raised by appellant were waived when appellant failed to include them in his post-trial motions.*fn1 I cannot agree, however, that these issues were waived merely because appellant's post-trial motions were filed thirteen days after the verdict had been entered. In my judgment, counsel's untimeliness should be overlooked where, as here, the trial court has allowed the same and has considered the issues raised therein as though the motions had been timely filed and where, as here, our ability to conduct a meaningful review has not been impaired in any way.

[ 366 Pa. Super. Page 231]

I would also find that the second issue raised by appellant was waived because it was not included in appellant's motion to modify sentence. In my judgment, issues concerning merger of convictions for purposes of sentencing do no call into question the legality of the sentence and, therefore, are waived if not included in a motion to modify sentence. See: Commonwealth v. Campbell, 351 Pa. Super. 56, 505 A.2d 262 (1986) (Wieand, J., concurring).


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.