Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

[U] Commonwealth v. Less

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

March 4, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
HEATHER LYNN HESS Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of March 19, 2013 In the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-23-CR-0000551-2012

BEFORE: GANTMAN, P.J., OLSON AND PLATT, [*] JJ.

MEMORANDUM

OLSON, J.

Appellant, Heather Lynn Hess, appeals from the judgment of sentence entered on March 19, 2013. We affirm.

The trial court has ably explained the underlying facts of this case:
On December 11, 2011, Upper Chichester Township Police officers responded to a report that a [2-year-old] boy, David Miller, Jr., who was in the care of [Appellant], a babysitter, was in respiratory arrest. An ambulance transported the child to Crozer Chester Medical Center, where he was treated for a serious head injury from trauma and numerous bruises on his back. He was then taken to Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, where he was pronounced dead. The Assistant Medical Examiner filed a report listing the cause of death as "blunt impact neurotrauma" and the manner of death as "homicide."
[Appellant] was charged with various degrees of murder, manslaughter, assault, and child endangerment. [Appellant proceeded to a five-day jury trial and, during the jury charge, the trial court] instructed the jury on the principle known as ["falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus." The jury instruction was as follows]:
A very important principle in judging credibility is as follows. It has a fancy Latin name, I won't burden you with that, but if you conclude that one of the witnesses testified falsely and did so intentionally about any fact which is necessary to your decision in this case, then for that reason alone you may disregard the entire testimony of that witness. However, you're not going to [be] required to disregard everything that the witness said for this reason. It's entirely possible that you would find that the witness was telling the truth about something else. If that's the case and you find that, then you're entitled to believe what you believe to be true and to disregard or disbelieve the material or the testimony that you believe to be false.

N.T. Trial, 1/11/13, at 68-69.

At the completion of the charge, defense counsel made an objection, [and] argu[ed] that the use of the [term] "very important[]" [in the "falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus" charge] "makes [the legal principle] look like it's more important than others." [Id. at 90. The trial court] then fine-tuned the charge, instructing the jury that "the fact that I may have mentioned that one thing is important rather than another, if you've got that impression you would be wrong. Everything I said was equally important. All right, good luck." [Id. at 92]. [Appellant] did not object or take [] exception to the revised charge.
After deliberating, [the] jury found [Appellant] guilty of murder in the third degree, [involuntary manslaughter, ] aggravated assault[, ] and endangering the welfare of [a child.[1] On March 19, 2013, [the trial c]ourt sentenced [Appellant] to [an aggregate term of] 120 months to 240 months [in prison] for [the convictions].

Trial Court Opinion, 5/31/13, at 1-2.

Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal and now raises ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.