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[U] Commonwealth v. Mays

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

November 19, 2013

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
LLOYD GEORGE MAYS, Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence Entered November 28, 2012, In the Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County, Criminal Division, at No. CP-38-CR-0000643-2011.

BEFORE: FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E., SHOGAN and PLATT [*], JJ.

MEMORANDUM

SHOGAN, J.:

Appellant, Lloyd George Mays, appeals from the judgment of sentence entered on November 28, 2012, in the Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas. We affirm.

The record reveals that on June 7, 2011, Appellant, a forty-one year old male, was charged in a criminal information with numerous sexual offenses in connection with two violent attacks he committed on March 26, 2011 and March 27, 2011. Criminal Information, 6/7/11. In both instances, the victim was the same person. Id.

Following a jury trial, Appellant was found guilty of two counts of rape, two counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, two counts of sexual assault, and one count of simple assault. On June 27, 2012, the trial court sentenced Appellant to an aggregate term of thirty-one to eighty-two years of incarceration. Appellant filed a timely post-sentence motion wherein he claimed his sentence was illegal and sought a judgment of acquittal or a new trial. The trial court denied Appellant's motion for judgment of acquittal and motion for a new trial, but granted Appellant's motion with respect to sentencing due to merger. On November 28, 2012, the trial court resentenced Appellant to an aggregate term of twenty-three and one-half to sixty-two years of incarceration. Appellant filed a timely post-sentence motion alleging that he is entitled to a judgment of acquittal due to the insufficiency of the evidence, or in the alternative, a new trial because the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. The trial court denied these motions in an order filed on January 13, 2013, and Appellant timely appealed.

On March 5, 2013, the trial court directed Appellant to comply with Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) and file a concise statement of errors complained of on appeal on or before March 26, 2013. Appellant filed his Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) statement on March 26, 2013, in which he again alleged that the verdict was against the weight and sufficiency of the evidence. In an order filed on April 3, 2013, the trial court stated that both of Appellant's issues had been addressed in its earlier opinion filed on October 10, 2012.

On appeal, Appellant raises the following issues:

I. Did the Commonwealth fail to present sufficient evidence that Appellant engaged in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion without the consent of the Victim.
II. Should Appellant be granted a new trial because the Jury's verdicts of guilty were against the weight of the evidence.

Appellant's Brief at 4 (verbatim).[1]

When reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, our standard of review is as follows:

The standard we apply . . . is whether viewing all the evidence admitted at trial in the light most favorable to the verdict winner, there is sufficient evidence to enable the fact-finder to find every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In applying [the above] test, we may not weigh the evidence and substitute our judgment for the fact-finder. In addition, we note that the facts and circumstances established by the Commonwealth need not preclude every possibility of innocence. Any doubts regarding a defendant's guilt may be resolved by the fact-finder unless the evidence is so weak and inconclusive that as a matter of law no probability of fact may be drawn from the combined circumstances. The Commonwealth may sustain its burden of proving every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt by means of wholly circumstantial evidence. Moreover, in applying the above test, the entire record must be evaluated and all evidence actually received must be considered. Finally, the [trier] of fact while passing upon the credibility of witnesses and the weight of the evidence produced, is free to believe all, part, or none of the evidence.

Commonwealth v. Hansley, 24 A.3d 410, 416 (Pa.Super. 2011) (citations omitted). Additionally, it is well settled that "the uncorroborated testimony of a rape victim, if believed by the jury, is sufficient to support a rape conviction and no medical testimony is needed to corroborate a victim's testimony if the testimony was rendered credible by the jury." Commonwealth v. Poindexter, 646 A.2d 1211, 1214 (Pa.Super. 1994) (citation omitted).

With respect to Appellant's request for a new trial based on the weight of the evidence, our standard of review is as follows:

An allegation that the verdict is against the weight of the evidence is addressed to the discretion of the trial court. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has explained that appellate review of a weight claim is a review of the exercise of discretion, not of the underlying question of whether the verdict is against the weight of the evidence. To grant a new trial on the basis that the verdict is against the weight of the evidence, this Court has explained that the evidence must be so tenuous, vague and uncertain that the verdict shocks the conscience of the court.

Commonwealth v. Childs, 63 A.3d 323, 326-327 (Pa.Super. 2013) (citation omitted).

We have reviewed the briefs of the parties, the relevant law, the certified record on appeal, and the trial court's opinion. After review, we note that the trial court's opinion accurately and comprehensively addresses the issues raised by Appellant in this appeal. We agree with the trial court and conclude that the evidence was sufficient to establish Appellant's guilt on all counts beyond a reasonable doubt. Moreover, the weight of the evidence in this matter was overwhelmingly on the side of the Commonwealth. Nothing in the verdict could be deemed shocking to the conscience, and we discern no abuse of discretion in the trial court's decision to deny Appellant's motion for a new trial based on the weight of the evidence. Accordingly, we affirm Appellant's judgment of sentence and we do so based on the trial court's opinion.[2]

Judgment of sentence affirmed.

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