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[U] In re A.O.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 5, 2014

IN RE: A.O. APPEAL OF: A.O.

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Order April 25, 2012 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Juvenile Division at No(s): CP-51-JV-0001284-2012

BEFORE: GANTMAN, J., OLSON, J., AND WECHT, J.

MEMORANDUM

GANTMAN, J.

Appellant, A.O., appeals from the dispositional order entered in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, following her adjudication of delinquency for hindering apprehension or prosecution, failure of disorderly persons to disperse upon official order, and disorderly conduct.[1] We vacate the portion of the order finding Appellant committed the offense of hindering apprehension or prosecution and affirm the disposition in all other respects.

The relevant facts and procedural history of this appeal are as follows. On March 20, 2012, at approximately 3:15 p.m., Philadelphia Police Officer Christopher Smith responded to a request for backup at Jones Elementary School. Upon arriving at the scene, the officer observed a crowd of approximately one hundred fifty adults and juveniles fighting in the schoolyard. School police and other officers had already activated the lights and sirens on their patrol vehicles in an attempt to disperse the crowd. Officer Smith surveyed the scene and saw a juvenile, M.R., fighting with several other individuals. Officer Smith approached the group and told them to disperse. M.R., however, refused to move and grabbed Officer Smith's vest. Officer Smith tussled with M.R. until other officers intervened.

At that point, Officer Todd Coyle arrived and saw Officers Smith and Silvetti attempting to arrest M.R. Officer Coyle also noticed several individuals interfering with the arrest, grabbing M.R. and trying to rip him away from the police. Officer Coyle dispersed these individuals, except for Appellant, who refused to leave. Officer Coyle positioned himself between Appellant and the officers dealing with M.R. Appellant tried to walk around Officer Coyle, but he prevented her from passing. Appellant began yelling at the officers, imploring them to release M.R. Officer Coyle again requested that Appellant leave the scene, but she refused. Officer Coyle touched Appellant on the shoulder and told her to back up. Appellant grabbed Officer Coyle's finger and pulled it. Officer Coyle decided to handcuff Appellant, but she backed away and flailed her arms. Officer Coyle again attempted to handcuff Appellant, but she fled.

Instead of pursuing Appellant, Officer Coyle saw that another crowd had gathered around the officers who were arresting M.R. Consequently, Officer Coyle went back to dispersing the crowd. Eventually, the officers subdued M.R. While the officers escorted M.R. into a patrol vehicle, Appellant reappeared. Appellant shouted at Officer Coyle, spit on the ground, and ran into the crowd. Nevertheless, Officers Coyle and Silvetti apprehended Appellant. Appellant struggled with the officers, but they handcuffed her and placed her in the back of a patrol vehicle. Less than a minute later, a member of the crowd walked up to the patrol vehicle and opened a rear door, allowing Appellant to escape. During her flight, Appellant slipped off the handcuffs and ran through the schoolyard. Following a brief foot chase, Officer Coyle grabbed Appellant and took her into custody. Appellant struggled and fought with the officer. Appellant also refused to provide the police with her name or any other information.

On March 21, 2012, the Commonwealth filed a petition to adjudicate Appellant delinquent. The court conducted a hearing on April 25, 2012 and adjudicated Appellant delinquent for the offenses of hindering apprehension, failure to disperse, and disorderly conduct.[2] Also on April 25, 2012, the court entered a dispositional order placing Appellant on probation for an indefinite period.

Appellant timely filed a notice of appeal on May 24, 2012. On August 1, 2012, the court ordered Appellant to file a concise statement of errors complained of on appeal, pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b). Appellant timely filed a Rule 1925(b) statement on August 21, 2012.

Appellant raises two issues for our review:

WHETHER THE…COURT ERRED IN FINDING [APPELLANT] GUILTY BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT OF FELONIOUS HINDERING APPREHENSION OR PROSECUTION, 18 PA.C.S. [§] 5105, GIVEN THE LACK OF EVIDENCE AND/OR WITNESS TESTIMONY REGARDING ANY ACTIONS UNDERTAKEN BY [APPELLANT] TO INTENTIONALLY INTERFERE WITH THE APPREHENSION OR PROSECUTION OF ANOTHER.
WHETHER THEā€¦COURT ERRED IN ITS ADJUDICATION OF DELINQUENCY BASED ON A FINDING THAT [APPELLANT] COMMITTED A FELONY AND WHERE THE ONLY OTHER CHARGES OF WHICH [APPELLANT WAS ADJUDICATED DELINQUENT] CONSTITUTED A MISDEMEANOR OF FAILURE OF DISORDERLY PERSONS TO DISPERSE UPON ...

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