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06/23/97 COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. RONALD EDWARD

June 23, 1997

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE
v.
RONALD EDWARD REED, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County, Criminal Division, at No. 96-CR-499. Before CONAHAN, J.

Before: Cavanaugh, Hudock and Hester, JJ. Opinion BY Hudock, J.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hudock

OPINION BY HUDOCK, J.:

Filed June 23, 1997

This is an appeal from the judgment of sentence entered after Appellant was convicted of failing to render assistance after incidents. *fn1 The trial court imposed, as its sentence, a $2,000 fine, a ten-year forfeiture of Appellant's hunting license, court costs, and restitution to be determined by the Luzerne County Adult Probation Department. Appellant timely filed a notice of appeal. We hold that Commonwealth Court is the proper appellate court to review the trial court's decision concerning this regulatory statute which imposes criminal penalties. Thus, we transfer this appeal to the Commonwealth Court.

This case involves a hunting accident in which the victim, John Voytko, was seriously injured by a gunshot wound in the back. Appellant, who was in the general vicinity at the time of the shooting, was charged and, after a jury trial, convicted of failing to render assistance after incidents, pursuant to section 2523(a) of the Game and Wildlife Code. 34 Pa.C.S.A. § 2523. The criminal complaint alleged that Appellant shot the victim and, thereafter, knowing the victim was wounded, failed to render assistance. After sentencing, Appellant filed a notice of appeal asserting multiple errors at trial. Specifically, Appellant raises the following issues:

[A.] Whether [Appellant's] motion for mistrial should have been granted when the trial court improperly mischaracterized the evidence before the jury.

[B.] Whether the trial court erred by sustaining the Commonwealth's objections to the defense's questioning of the victim in regard to a civil suit he was pursuing against [Appellant].

[C.] Whether the trial court erred by not allowing into evidence medical reports which reflected prior inconsistent statements of the victim, especially when the admissibility of those medical records had been stipulated to by the defense and the Commonwealth.

[D.] Whether the trial court erred by not instructing the jury that they should distinguish in their guilty verdict whether they found [Appellant] guilty of the statute subdivision which is a misdemeanor of the second degree or the [subdivision] which is a summary offense.

[E.] Whether the trial court erred in sentencing [Appellant] to a misdemeanor of the second degree rather than a summary offense when the jury did not specify what statute subdivision they had found [Appellant] guilty of.

[F.] Whether the evidence at trial was sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that [Appellant] was guilty of failure to render assistance after a hunting accident.

Appellant's Brief at 6.

Before we can reach the merits of this appeal, we must first ascertain whether retention of jurisdiction is appropriate. "Even when neither party has raised the issue of jurisdiction, this Court may, sua sponte, determine whether retention of jurisdiction is appropriate, or whether the matter should be transferred to the Commonwealth Court." Commonwealth v. CSX Transportation, Inc., 433 Pa. Super. 65, , 639 A.2d ...


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