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Commonwealth v. Reid

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

September 26, 2013


 Submitted April 8, 2013

Appeal from the order of the Superior Court at No. 1640 MDA 2010 dated January 4, 2012 reversing the order of the Clinton County Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, at No. CP-18-CR-264-2010 dated September 8, 2010 and remanding with instructions.

Patrick Adam Johnson, Esq., for William Anthony Reid.

James Patrick Barker, Esq., William A. Helm, Esq., Kathleen Granahan Kane, Esq., PA Office of Attorney General, for Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

CASTILLE, C.J., SAYLOR, EAKIN, BAER, TODD, McCAFFERY, STEVENS, JJ. MR. JUSTICE EAKIN. Mr. Chief Justice Castille, Messrs. Justice Saylor and Baer, Madame Justice Todd and Messrs. Justice McCaffery and Stevens join the opinion.


Page 580

[621 Pa. 249] MR. EAKIN, JUSTICE

This is an appeal from the order of the Superior Court reversing the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Clinton County, which granted appellant's motion to dismiss pursuant to § 110(1)(ii) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code.[1] We affirm.

Page 581

On November 14, 2006, police conducted a controlled cocaine buy from appellant using a confidential informant. Appellant and the informant met at a convenience store and drove to the Hilltop Bar parking lot in Lock Haven. The informant then dropped appellant off at a nearby plaza and later gave police the cocaine purchased from appellant. Appellant was not arrested.

On March 4, 2007, appellant fell victim to a kidnapping and robbery. At the interview about the incident, Detective Charles Shoemaker, one of the officers who assisted in the 2006 controlled buy, informed appellant he was under investigation in connection with the 2006 incident. Ultimately, appellant confessed he was in the business of selling cocaine in the Lock Haven area, and his source was in New Jersey. Appellant was arrested and charged with possession with intent to deliver (PWID) in connection with the 2006 sale; he pled guilty to that charge June 25, 2007.

[621 Pa. 250] Detective Shoemaker was involved in a drug investigation in the Lock Haven area targeting another individual, Damon Williams. On March 15, 2007, a state grand jury began investigating the activities of a drug distribution organization in the area, targeting Williams and other individuals, including appellant. In its March 11, 2009 presentment, the grand jury implicated appellant as one of the organization's distributors. Specifically, the grand jury found that between 2006 and March 7, 2007, appellant sold cocaine at his home and various bars, including the Two Tuesdays Bar located in Lock Haven. The presentment did not mention the 2007 case, the Hilltop Bar, or any controlled buys involving appellant. On July 22, 2010, appellant was charged with two counts of PWID and one count of conspiracy.

Appellant filed an omnibus pre-trial motion to dismiss the 2010 case pursuant to the compulsory joinder rule in 18 Pa.C.S. § 110, claiming the 2010 case arose from the same criminal episode as the 2007 case. The trial court granted the motion, and the Commonwealth appealed.

In a unanimous, published opinion, a panel of the Superior Court reversed and remanded, instructing the trial court to reinstate the 2010 charges. Commonwealth v. Reid, 2012 PA Super. 2, 35 A.3d 773, 779 (Pa. Super. 2012). In determining whether appellant's 2007 case barred the subsequent 2010 prosecution, the court found our analysis in Commonwealth v. Nolan, 579 Pa. 300, 855 A.2d 834 (Pa. 2004) (superseded by statute on other grounds), instructive in distinguishing a criminal " episode" from a criminal " enterprise," and heeded our warning against " cataloguing simple factual similarities or differences" and interpreting the term " single criminal episode"

Page 582

too rigidly. Reid, at 776-77 (quoting Nolan, at 839). Following Nolan's guidance regarding the episode/enterprise inquiry, the court determined although the methods of delivery, drug sources, and investigating officer may have been similar in the 2007 and 2010 cases, each concerned different " victims" and " major movers." Id., at 779. Additionally, the court noted the presentment referred to activities occurring at appellant's house and bars other than the Hilltop Bar, as well as appellant's occasional [621 Pa. 251] use of a middleman, which did not occur in the 2007 case. Id. As such, the court concluded the facts represented " multiple episodes of the same enterprise," and thus failed to satisfy the compulsory joinder rule. Id.

Section 110, known as the compulsory joinder rule, bars a subsequent prosecution if each prong of the following test is met:

(1) the former prosecution resulted in an acquittal or conviction; (2) the current prosecution was based on the same criminal conduct or arose from the same criminal episode; (3) the prosecutor in the subsequent trial was aware of the charges before the first trial; and (4) all charges [are] within the same judicial district as the former prosecution.

Nolan, at 839.[2]

Only the second prong, known as the logical relationship ...

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