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10/31/97 COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA VS JOHN ROBERT

October 31, 1997

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT VS JOHN ROBERT THOMPSON


Appeal from the Order of June 21, 1996 Docketed June 25, 1996 in the Court of Common Pleas Of Lycoming County, Criminal No. 95-10, 498. Before SMITH, J.

Before: Cirillo, P.j.e., and Beck and Brosky, JJ. Opinion BY Cirillo, P.j.e.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cirillo

OPINION BY CIRILLO, P.J.E.:

Filed October 31, 1997

The Commonwealth appeals from an order entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County dismissing the charges against appellee John Robert Thompson. We reverse and remand for sentencing.

On August 7, 1995, Thompson pled guilty to theft by unlawful taking, theft by failure to make required Disposition of funds, and receiving stolen property. After accepting the plea, the trial court scheduled sentencing for September 26, 1995, before the Honorable Kenneth D. Brown. Thompson's case, however, was never actually listed for sentencing. On June 11, 1996, Thompson filed a motion to dismiss alleging that he was not sentenced within the requisite 60 days of his guilty plea pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 1405 and the dictates of Commonwealth v. Thomas, 449 Pa. Super. 646, 674 A.2d 1119 (1996). Thompson's motion was heard on June 21, 1996, before the Honorable Clinton W. Smith, President Judge. President Judge Smith determined that there was no good cause for Thompson's sentencing delay and granted Thompson's motion to dismiss pursuant to Thomas, supra. The Commonwealth appealed.

The following issue has been raised for our consideration:

Did the trial court err in granting the defendant's motion to dismiss the charges for failure to sentence the defendant within 60 days of his conviction?

Rule 1405 provides as follows:

A. Time for sentencing.

(1) Except as provided by Rule 1403.B [regarding psychiatric or psychological examinations], sentence in a court case shall ordinarily be imposed within 60 days of conviction or the entry of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere.

(2) When the date for sentencing in a court case must be delayed, for good cause shown, beyond the time limits set forth in this rule, the Judge shall include in the record the specific time period for the extension.

Pa.R.Crim.P. 1405(A)(1),(2).

In Commonwealth v. Thomas, 449 Pa. Super. 646, 674 A.2d 1119 (1996), the appellant was convicted of indirect criminal contempt. Appellant filed post-verdict motions, which were deemed inappropriate because Pa.R.Crim.P. 1410 abolished post-verdict motions and now requires that such motions be filed after sentencing. Nonetheless, 73 days later, the trial court heard and denied the appellant's post-verdict motions. Subsequently, 111 days after conviction, the court sentenced appellant to six months' probation. A majority of this court held that the 73 day delay in disposing of the post-verdict motions did not constitute "good cause" warranting an extension of the 60 day time limit for sentencing. Importantly, we determined that "to effect the purpose of Rule 1405, we are constrained to ...


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