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Commonwealth v. Gaines

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

July 25, 2013

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
GARFIELD L. GAINES Appellant COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
RICKY JOHNSON A/K/A RUFUS TAYLOR AND RICKY JOHNSON A/K/A RUFUS TAYLOR (SURETY) Appellant COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
RICKY SMITH A/K/A RUFUS TAYLOR ANDRICKY SMITH A/K/A RUFUS TAYLOR (SURETY) Appellant COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
RUFUS TAYLOR Appellant COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
RICKY SMITH A/K/A RUFUS TAYLOR AND RICKY SMITH A/K/A RUFUS TAYLOR (SURETY) Appellant COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
DANIEL RAMOS Appellant COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
DANIEL RAMOS Appellant COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
RONALD WILCOX Appellant 1588 EDA 2012, 1589 EDA 2012, 1692 EDA 2012

Appeal from the Order March 26, 2012 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Criminal Division at No(s): MC-51-CR-1117041-1994, PID#0551731 & SID#129-94-35-4, MC-51-CR-0503481-1994, MC-51-CR-0540651-1994, MC-51-CR-0518291-1994, MC-51-CR-0540661-1994, CP-51-CR-0918981-1988, CP-51-CR-0926241-1992, CP-51-CR-0501191-2004

BEFORE: STEVENS, P.J., LAZARUS, J., and COLVILLE, J. [*]

OPINION

LAZARUS, J

Appellants, criminal defendants who failed to appear for court listings in each of their unrelated cases, appeal from orders denying their petitions to set aside bail[1] judgments or remit bail in its entirety.[2] In each case, the trial court issued a bail forfeiture order granting the defendants 20 days to surrender or risk being held liable for the full amount of bail. None of the defendants came forward within that time limit; as a result, default judgments were entered against each defendant for the full amount of his bail. After more than 11[3] years elapsed from the entry of the judgments, defendants filed petitions to vacate or reduce the amount of bail. After hearings, those petitions were granted in part, reducing bail in all cases, ranging from a 30%-90% reduction.

On appeal, all Defendants claim that:

The trial court should have set aside their bail forfeitures under Pa.R.Crim.P. 536(A)(2)(d), where the
Commonwealth failed to present any evidence of cost, inconvenience, and prejudice suffered by it as a result of Defendants' failure to appear or that the Defendants willfully failed to appear and that many years passed before collections were pursued.[4]

Defendant Taylor further claims that:

The bail forfeitures should have been fully set aside or remitted where there was no evidence that written notice of intent to enter judgment was given to the defendant as required by Phila.C.Crim.D.R. 510(C).

Defendants Taylor, Gaines and Ramos further claim that:

Should the bail forfeitures have been fully set aside or remitted where the bail orders sued out were rescinded by the bail authority pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 536(A)(2)(d)?

Defendant Gaines further claims that:

Justice does not require the enforcement of the bail forfeiture orders where the defendant is denied a full ...

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