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[U] Commonwealth v. Little

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 28, 2014



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence June 3, 2013 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Criminal Division No(s).: CP-51-CR-0008635-2012, CP-51-CR-0008612-2012




Appellant, Marcus Little, appeals from the judgment of sentence entered in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence for his convictions for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, [1] theft by receiving stolen property, [2] and criminal conspiracy.[3]We affirm.

We adopt the facts as set forth by the trial court.[4] Following a non-jury trial, the court found Appellant guilty of the above crimes. On June 3, 2013, the trial court sentenced Appellant to eighteen to thirty-six months' incarceration, followed by seven years' probation.[5] This timely appeal followed. On June 18, 2013, the trial court ordered Appellant to comply with Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b), and Appellant timely complied on July 8, 2013.

Appellant raises the following issue:
Was not the evidence adduced at trial insufficient to support [A]ppellant's conviction, inasmuch as the Commonwealth failed to produce competent evidence to support its wholly circumstantial case for receiving stolen property and criminal conspiracy as to the Chevrolet Cruze automobile?

Appellant's Brief at 3.[6]

Although Appellant concedes his involvement in the theft of a 2004 Mercedes-Benz, Appellant claims on appeal that the Commonwealth's evidence was insufficient to prove that Appellant conspired to acquire or sell a Chevrolet Cruze vehicle. We hold Appellant is not entitled to relief.

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

The standard we apply in reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence 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 [finder] 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. Perez, 931 A.2d 703, 706-07 (Pa. Super. 2007) (citation omitted).

The crime of theft by receiving stolen property is defined, in relevant part, as follows:

(a) A person is guilty of theft if he intentionally receives, retains, or disposes of movable property of another knowing that it has been stolen, or believing that it has probably been stolen, unless the property is received, retained, or disposed with intent to restore it to the owner.

18 Pa.C.S. § 3925(a).

Criminal conspiracy is defined as follows:

(a)A person is guilty of conspiracy with another person or persons to commit a crime if with the intent of promoting or facilitating its commission he:
(1) agrees with such other person or persons that they or one or more of them will engage in conduct which constitutes such crime or an attempt or solicitation to commit such crime; or
(2) agrees to aid such other person or persons in the planning or commission of such crime or of an attempt or solicitation to commit such crime.
(b) If a person guilty of conspiracy, as defined by subsection (a) of this section, knows that a person with whom he conspires to commit a crime has conspired with another person or persons to commit the same crime, he is guilty of conspiring with such other person or persons, to commit such crime whether or not he knows their identity.
(c)If a person conspires to commit a number of crimes, he is guilty of only one conspiracy so long as such multiple crimes are the object of the same agreement or continuous conspiratorial relationship.
(e) No person may be convicted of conspiracy to commit a crime unless an overt act in pursuance of such conspiracy is alleged and proved to have been done by him or by a person with whom he conspired.

18 Pa.C.S. § 903(a)-(c), (e).

After careful consideration of the parties' briefs, the record, and the decision of the Honorable Kenneth J. Powell, Jr., we affirm on the basis of the trial court's decision. See Trial Ct. Op. at 8-10 (holding, inter alia, that (1) Commonwealth presented credible testimony establishing existence of a "web of evidence" linking Appellant to conspiracy (e.g., that (a) Appellant knew boyfriend of woman with whom undercover officers had arranged to purchase stolen Mercedes-Benz and Chevrolet Cruze vehicles; (b) Appellant possessed four sets of keys belonging to other missing vehicles that had been offered for sale; (c) Appellant drove stolen Mercedes-Benz to same parking lot as Chevrolet Cruze and both had been offered for sale as package deal; and (d) Appellant watched sales transaction take place and attempted to flee to avoid apprehension); and (2) since evidence was sufficient to prove conspiracy between Appellant and other parties, constructive possession of Chevrolet Cruze is presumed). Accordingly, we conclude the trial court's findings are supported by the record. See Perez, 931 A.2d 708-09.

Judgment of sentence affirmed.

Judgment Entered.

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