Appeal from Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Chester County, No. 390-86.
Jenny Steinen, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Laurie Montgomery, Assistant District Attorney, Coatesville, for Com., appellee.
Wieand, Kelly and Hester, JJ. Kelly, J., files a concurring opinion.
[ 376 Pa. Super. Page 190]
The principal issue in this appeal concerns the prosecuting attorney's use of peremptory challenges to remove five out of six black persons who had been drawn as prospective jurors to hear a criminal case. The trial court determined that the challenges had been exercised for reasons which were racially neutral and directed that the jury be sworn. After hearing the evidence, the closing arguments of counsel, and the instructions of the court, the jury found Roderick Lloyd, who is black, not guilty of theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property but guilty of robbery, aggravated assault, simple assault, and criminal conspiracy. Post-trial motions were denied, and Lloyd was sentenced to serve two consecutive terms of imprisonment, each of which was for not less than one year nor more than two years. In addition to the peremptory challenge issue, Lloyd argues (1) that his conviction of robbery was inconsistent with the finding that he was not guilty of theft; (2) that the trial court erroneously instructed the jury on the adverse inference
[ 376 Pa. Super. Page 191]
to be drawn from flight to avoid prosecution; and (3) that the trial court's instructions on accomplice liability were inadequate.
Appellant argues that if he was not guilty of theft he cannot be found guilty of robbery. This argument is faulty for two reasons. In the first place, inconsistent jury verdicts are not a basis for relief. The reasons therefor were explained by this Court in Commonwealth v. Shaffer, 279 Pa. Super. 18, 420 A.2d 722 (1980), as follows:
The fault with appellant's argument is that "[a]n acquittal cannot be interpreted as a specific finding in relation to some of the evidence." Commonwealth v. Carter, 444 Pa. 405, 408, 282 A.2d 375, 376 (1971), quoting Commonwealth v. Parrotto, 189 Pa. Super. 415, 422, 150 A.2d 396, 399 (1959). When an acquittal on one count in an indictment is inconsistent with a conviction on a second count, "the court looks upon [the] acquittal as no more than the jury's assumption of a power which they had no right to exercise, but to which they were disposed through lenity." Id. Accord: Commonwealth v. Strand, 464 Pa. 544, 547, 347 A.2d 675, 676 (1975). Thus, consistency in a jury's verdicts in a criminal case is unnecessary, provided there is sufficient evidence to support the convictions the jury has returned, Commonwealth v. Stegmaier, 247 Pa. Super. 159, 371 A.2d 1376 (1977); Commonwealth v. Dolny, 235 Pa. Super. 241, 342 A.2d 399 (1975); Commonwealth v. Jackson, 230 Pa. Super. 386, 326 A.2d 623 (1974), and inconsistency in verdicts affords an accused no cause for relief, even though it may be difficult to reconcile the verdicts, Commonwealth v. Kwatkoski, 267 Pa. Super. 401, 406 A.2d 1102 (1979).
Id., 279 Pa. Superior Ct. at 21-22, 420 A.2d at 724. See also: Commonwealth v. Maute, 336 Pa. Super. 394, 485 A.2d 1138 (1984); Commonwealth v. Riley, 330 Pa. Super. 201, 479 A.2d 509 (1984); Commonwealth v. Graves, 310 Pa. Super. 184, 456 A.2d 561 (1983); Commonwealth v. Maxwell, 280 Pa. Super. 235, 421 A.2d 699 (1980). As long as the evidence
[ 376 Pa. Super. Page 192]
was sufficient to support a conviction for robbery, the jury's verdict of not guilty on the charge of theft does not entitle appellant to any relief.
In evaluating the sufficiency of the evidence we determine:
whether, viewing all the evidence admitted at trial, together with all reasonable inferences therefrom, in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, the trier of fact could have found that each element of the offenses charged was supported by evidence and inferences sufficient in law to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Commonwealth v. Jackson, 506 Pa. 469, 472-473, 485 A.2d 1102, 1103 (1984).
During the trial of the charges against appellant, the victim testified that appellant and his co-defendant, Shannon Styer, had beaten him, ripped off his pants, and taken money from his pockets. Appellant, while admitting to beating the victim, denied that he or Styer had taken any money. The victim's testimony was sufficient to support the verdict. Its credibility as well as the explanation offered by appellant were for the jury. It could believe all, some or none of the testimony offered by the parties. See: Commonwealth v. Smith, 502 Pa. 600, 604, 467 A.2d 1120, 1122 (1983); ...