Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence Entered May 24, 2012 In the Court of Common Pleas of Clearfield County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-17-CR-0000891-2008
BEFORE: BENDER, P.J.E., LAZARUS, J., and MUNDY, J.
Appellant, Charles Gearhart, appeals from the judgment of sentence of an aggregate term of 11 – 18 years' incarceration, imposed following his conviction for 19 drug-related offenses. Appellant contends that the evidence was insufficient to support the charged offenses, that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence, and that the Commonwealth engaged in sentencing manipulation. After careful review, we vacate Appellant's sentence and remand for resentencing.
The trial court summarized the procedural history of this case as follows:
As a result of a grand jury investigation which began in approximately 2006, a presentment of various drug charges including delivery of cocaine, possession with intent to deliver cocaine, conspiracy, criminal use of communication facility, dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities[, ] and corrupt organization were filed by the Attorney General against Clearfield County residents Michael Styers and [Appellant, ] as well as Philadelphia resident Maharaji Hemingway. The Grand Jury determined that Styers was the head of a cocaine distribution network operating primarily in Clearfield, Clearfield County and that [Appellant] was one of Styers' principal cocaine dealers. It was alleged that Hemingway, a/k/a Bean, was the main source for cocaine from Philadelphia. Following lengthy pretrial proceedings, including an appeal to the Superior Court by the Attorney General, a consolidated trial for all three defendants was held before the Court on Monday, January 23, 2012 through Wednesday, February 1, 2012. Following deliberations, … [Appellant] was convicted of all counts set forth within the Information ….
[Appellant] filed a timely appeal to the Superior Court. Trial Court Opinion (TCO), 10/3/12, at 1 – 2.
Appellant now presents the following questions for our review:
I. Whether the trial [c]ourt erred where the evidence presented is insufficient to sustain a conviction for [the] crimes charged.
II. Whether the trial [c]ourt erred where the weight of the evidence presented [at] trial was insufficient to sustain a conviction.
III. Whether the trial court erred by determining that the Commonwealth did not engage in "sentencing manipulation."
Appellant's Brief, at v.
Appellant's first claim concerns the sufficiency of the evidence. Our standard of review of ...