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[U] Commonwealth v. Britton

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

March 3, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
CHARLES BRITTON, Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence June 25, 2013, Court of Common Pleas, Erie County, Criminal Division at No. CP-25-CR-0003115-2012

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

MEMORANDUM

DONOHUE, J.

Appellant, Charles Britton ("Britton"), appeals from the judgment of sentence entered on June 25, 2013, following his convictions of three counts of Delivery of a Controlled Substance and three counts of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of sentence.

In February 2012, Britton became the target of an investigation by Trooper Donald P. Claypoole ("Trooper Claypoole") of the Pennsylvania State Police Troop E Erie vice unit. Trooper Claypoole became involved with the investigation when Ryan Henry ("Henry"), who was already involved as a confidential informant in another investigation with another trooper, informed Trooper Claypoole that he knew he could purchase drugs from Britton.

Trooper Claypoole and Henry planned three controlled buys with Britton. On February 16, 2012, Britton sold 15 Vicodin tablets to Henry for $115.00. On February 23, 2012, Britton sold another 23 Vicodin tablets to Henry for $150.00. Britton then sold Henry 15 Vicodin tablets and 17 Adderall pills for $200.00 on March 20, 2012.

In May 2013, Britton was convicted of three counts of Violation of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, Unlawful Delivery, 35 P.S. § 780-113(a)(30), and three counts of Violation of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, 35 P.S. § 780-113(a)(32). N.T., 5/21/13, at 44-45. On June 25, 2013, Britton was sentenced to 11 ½ to 23 months of incarceration and one year of probation to follow incarceration. N.T., 6/25/13, at 19.

Britton timely filed a Motion for a New Trial based on two claims: (1) he was prejudiced when he was escorted out of the courtroom by a deputy sheriff in the presence of the jury pool, and (2) the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. The trial court denied the motion and this timely appeal followed.

On appeal, Britton raises three issues for our consideration and determination:

1. Did the trial court err in determining that the evidence submitted at the preliminary hearing was sufficient to establish a prima facie case when testimony of the informant was not offered?
2. Did the trial court commit reversible error when permitting the jury pool to view the defendant as being under the control of the sheriff's deputy?
3. Was the evidence in this case sufficient to convict the defendant when the informant's testimony and the testimony of other witnesses did not substantiate the claims that Mr. Britton ...

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