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[U] Commonwealth v. Long

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

March 3, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
JOSEPH LONG, Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence Entered September 5, 2012, In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division, at Nos. CP-51-CR-0015632-2010; MC-51-CR-0047378-2010.

BEFORE: SHOGAN, OTT and PLATT [*], JJ.

MEMORANDUM

SHOGAN, J.

Appellant, Joseph Long, appeals from the judgment of sentence imposed on convictions of indecent assault (forcible compulsion), corruption of minors, and unlawful contact with minor.[1] We affirm.

Appellant indecently assaulted a twelve-year-old girl in the early morning hours of November 2, 2010. At a bench trial on May 4, 2012, the victim, her mother, two police officers, Appellant, and two character witnesses testified. Based on the evidence presented, the trial court found Appellant guilty of the above-named offenses. On September 5, 2012, the trial court sentenced Appellant to incarceration for an aggregate term of eleven and one-half to twenty-three months, followed by five years of reporting probation. This appeal followed. Appellant and the trial court complied with Pa.R.A.P. 1925.[2]

On appeal, Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions. In reviewing a sufficiency challenge, "we must determine whether the evidence admitted at trial, as well as all reasonable inferences drawn therefrom, when viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict winner, are sufficient to support all elements of the offense." Commonwealth v. Cox, 72 A.3d 719, 721 (Pa.Super. 2013) (quoting Commonwealth v. Koch, 39 A.3d 996, 1001 (Pa.Super. 2011)). When performing this review, "we may not reweigh the evidence or substitute our own judgment for that of the fact finder." Id. (quoting Koch, 39 A.3d at 1001).

The trial court summarized the evidence as follows:

[The victim] testified that when she was 12 years old Appellant, a friend of her stepfather, touched her vagina with his hand as she slept in her own bed. N.T. from 5/4/2012, pp. 39-48. [The victim] woke up during the assault and immediately ran into her mother's bedroom. Id. [The victim's] mother testified that Appellant was a friend of her husband who was staying with [the victim's] family on the night of the assault. N.T. from 5/4/2012, pp. 102-110. [The victim's] mother testified Appellant had been drinking heavily that evening to celebrate his birthday. Id. [The victim's] mother also testified that [the victim] ran into her bedroom crying hysterically in the middle of the night and stated that Appellant had touched her private area. Id. [The victim's] mother first calmed [the victim], who was hysterical, and her husband, who was livid. Id. After calming her family, [the victim's] mother attempted to confront Appellant with the accusation but he was passed out drunk on a couch in [the victim's] home. Id. [The victim's] mother immediately called the police. Police arrived quickly and [the victim] reported the assault to the responding officers and then signed a written statement after being interviewed by a detective at a police station. N.T. from 5/4/2012, pp. 48, 88–89, 108.
[Appellant] testified that he was staying at [the victim's] home on the night of the assault. N.T. from 5/4/2012, pp. 138– 139. Appellant also testified that he drank an entire bottle of Bacardi rum that evening to celebrate his birthday. Id. Appellant testified that he carried his two year old daughter into [the victim's] room in the middle of the night and put the toddler in bed with [the victim]. N.T. from 5/4/2012, pp. 139–143. Appellant then state[d] that he touched [the victim's] leg and nudged her to move her over in the bed. Id. Appellant testified that he was "extremely drunk" at this time. N.T. from 5/4/2012, pp. 143–144. Appellant then testified that he left the room and fell asleep on the couch while talking to his girlfriend on the phone. Id.
Two days after being arrested, Appellant spoke with his mother on the telephone and asked his mother to call [the victim's] mother and apologize and tell [the victim's] mother that Appellant was really drunk. N.T. from 5/4/2012, pp. 151– 153. In other phone calls, Appellant told friends and family that he was very upset that [the victim] came to court and testified because Appellant thought he would prevail in this case when the Commonwealth's witnesses failed to appear in court. Id. [Appellant] presented character testimony at trial.

Trial Court Opinion, 3/21/13, at 1-2.

As stated above, Appellant was convicted of indecent assault, corruption of minors, and unlawful contact with minor. We shall address the sufficiency of the ...


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