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[U] Commonwealth v. Stamm

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 11, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
ADAM GUY STAMM, Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence Entered April 25, 2012 In the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-39-CR-0003647-2011

BEFORE: BENDER, P.J., OTT, J., and STRASSBURGER, J. [*]

MEMORANDUM

STRASSBURGER, J.

Adam Guy Stamm (Appellant) appeals pro se[1] from the judgment of sentence of five to ten years' incarceration, imposed after he was convicted of burglary, criminal trespass, and criminal mischief.[2] We affirm.

Appellant's convictions stem from his breaking into the screened-in porch of a home in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The owner of that residence, Diane Salinski, witnessed Appellant inside her porch and identified him as the intruder from a photographic array. Appellant was arrested and charged with the above-stated crimes. Appellant was tried before a jury on March 19 and 20, 2012. At the close of trial, the jury convicted him of burglary and criminal trespass. The trial court also found Appellant guilty of the summary offense of criminal mischief. On April 25, 2012, the trial court sentenced Appellant to five to ten years' imprisonment for his burglary conviction. His conviction of criminal trespass merged with his burglary offense for sentencing purposes. For Appellant's crime of criminal mischief, the court imposed a sentence of restitution in the amount of $50.00.

Appellant timely filed a post-sentence motion, which the trial court denied. He then timely filed a notice of appeal, [3] as well as a concise statement of errors complained of on appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b). Herein, Appellant raises eight issues for our review:

1.) Did the Trial Court err by denying [] Appellant's Pro[]Se request for a continuance after Appellant stated on the record a clear basis for the continuance?
2.) Did the Trial Court err by denying the Defense motion in limine and allowing testimony of Appellant's flight and apprehension by failing to weigh the probative value against unfair prejudice in relation to Pa.R.E. 401, 402, 403 and 404?
3.) Did the Trial Court err by granting the Commonwealth's motion in limine excluding the testimony of a defense witness who would have established an alternative theory to that of the Commonwealth, specifically that there was another white male on a bicycle with a description similar to [] Appellant who was attempting thefts from homes in that same neighborhood that same morning?
4.) Did Trial Counsel render ineffective assistance of counsel to such an extent that it so undermined the truth determining process that no reliable adjudication of guilt could have taken place?
5.) Was the verdict supported by sufficient evidence?
6.) Was the verdict against the weight of the evidence?
7.) Did the Trial Court err by denying the defense oral motion for judgment of acquittal at the close of the Commonwealth's case?
8) Did the Trial Court err by denying [Appellant's] Post Sentence Motions?

Appellant's Brief at 3-4.

In Appellant's first issue, he contends that the court erred by denying his pro se motion for a continuance, made on the day his jury trial was scheduled to begin. When Appellant orally moved for a continuance, he provided the following reasons:

[Appellant]: You Honor, I just -- I don't feel comfortable going to trial today. I feel -- I just got the pre-trial motions, the motion in limine, the photographs. This is the first time I've ever seen them. There was an Amended Complaint I didn't know anything about. … There's like a few key aspects of the case that me and my attorney just aren't seeing eye to eye on and I don't know how I could go to trial today. I mean, I was expecting the pre-trial motions. I just wasn't expecting trial.
[The Court]: Well, why weren't you expecting trial? I scheduled it for trial in January.
[Appellant]: Yes, Your Honor. And about -- last week was the first time I seen [sic] my attorney since that date. And I had ...

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