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[U] Commonwealth v. Robinson

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

March 6, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
MONIQUE ROBINSON, Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence July 11, 2013 in the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County Criminal Division at No.: CP-15-CR-0000157-2012

BEFORE: GANTMAN, J., OLSON, J., and PLATT, J. [*]

MEMORANDUM

PLATT, J.

Appellant, Monique Robinson, appeals from the judgment of sentence entered after her jury conviction of murder of the second degree, aggravated assault, robbery, criminal conspiracy, firearms not to be carried without a license, and flight. For the reasons discussed below, we affirm.

The underlying facts and procedural history in this matter are taken from the trial court's September 30, 2013 opinion:

Evidence at Appellant's trial established that at approximately midnight on the morning of September 14, 2011, twenty-one[-]year-old Selvin Lopez stood talking to his uncle on Prospect Street in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Mr. Lopez had just finished working the late shift at Wendy's Restaurant and was on his way home. He carried with him his backpack, which contained his paycheck, some cash, and his fast-food dinner. Three people, Saleem Williams, Stephan Reidler, and the Appellant Monique Robinson, out on a "mission" to rob someone, approached Mr. Lopez, beat him, and robbed him of his backpack. When Mr. Lopez attempted to fight back, Saleem Williams shot him once in the stomach. The three robbers fled the scene, and returned to Saleem Williams['] girlfriend's apartment, where they went through the backpack, retrieved the cash, and ate Mr. Lopez's dinner. Mr. Lopez, left shot on the street, later died from his injuries.
Police subsequently arrested Saleem Williams, Stephan Reidler and Appellant and charged them with Mr. Lopez's murder. Saleem Williams and Stephen Reidler later entered into negotiated guilty pleas to third-degree murder. Appellant refused the plea offer and insisted on going to trial against her experienced counsel's advice.
Appellant's trial began on April 1, 2013. Both Williams and Reidler testified for the Commonwealth. On April 4, 2013, the jury found Appellant guilty of murder of the second degree, aggravated assault, robbery, criminal conspiracy and related offenses. On July 11, 2013, the Court sentenced her to a mandatory sentence of life in prison. This appeal followed.[1]

(Trial Court Opinion, 9/30/13, at 1-2).

On appeal, Appellant raises the following questions for our review:

1. Did not the trial court err in denying a mistrial or other proper remedy when the prosecutor argued Appellant's silence at trial as evidence of guilt?
2. Did not the trial court err, and deprive Appellant of her rights to compulsory process and due process of law when it prevented the rehabilitation of a defense witness alleged to have a bias?

(Appellant's Brief, at 5).

In her first claim, Appellant argues that she is entitled to a new trial because, in its closing argument, the Commonwealth argued Appellant's silence at trial as affirmative evidence of guilt, and the trial court erred in not granting a mistrial or giving some other proper remedy. (See id. at 17-23). This claim is waived.

This Court has stated that, "[i]n order to preserve a claim of prosecutorial misconduct for appeal, a defendant must make an objection and move for a mistrial." Commonwealth v. Sasse, 921 A.2d 1229, 1237 (Pa.Super. 2007), appeal denied, 938 A.2d 1052 (Pa. 2007); see also Commonwealth v. Manley, 985 A.2d 256, 267 n.8 (Pa.Super. 2009), appeal denied, 996 A.2d 491 (Pa. 2010) (noting that where defendant objects and trial court ...


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