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[U] Commonwealth v. Goldsborough

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

March 6, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
BRAHEIM JAMIER GOLDSBOROUGH, Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence Entered February 25, 2013, In the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Criminal Division, at No. CP-23-CR-0002740-2009.

BEFORE: BENDER, P.J., SHOGAN and FITZGERALD [*] , JJ.

MEMORANDUM

SHOGAN, J.

Appellant, Braheim Jamier Goldsborough, appeals from the judgment of sentence entered following his convictions of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance (cocaine), and simple possession of a controlled substance (marijuana). We affirm.

The trial court summarized the procedural history of this case as follows:

Appellant was arrested and charged on February 5, 2009 with multiple counts of Possession with the Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance (Cocaine), Possession of a Controlled Substance (Marijuana), and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. On May 8, 2009, a Preliminary Hearing was held wherein District Justice Nicholas Lippincott held Appellant for court. On June 4, 2009, Appellant was arraigned. On June 9, 2009, Mr. Michael J. Malloy, Esquire, entered his appearance on behalf of Appellant.
On July 15, 2009, Appellant filed an Omnibus Pre-Trial Motion seeking to suppress all evidence seized from his vehicle. A hearing was held on the Motion before the Honorable Chad F. Kenney on February 18, 2010 and February 26, 2010. On April 22, 2010, the Motion was granted. The Commonwealth filed a Motion for Reconsideration on May 14, 2010. The Court vacated the Suppression Order on May 19, 2010, but after hearing arguments on June 11, 2010, reinstated the Order on June 21, 2010. The Commonwealth filed an appeal to the Superior Court on July 15, 2010. On August 13, 2010, Mr. Malloy filed a "Petition to Withdraw as Counsel" for Appellant. The Petition was granted by the Superior Court on September 10, 2010. On October 26, 2010, Ms. Jacquie Jones, Esquire, entered her appearance on behalf of Appellant. On October 28, 2011, the Superior Court reversed the grant of Suppression and remanded the case for trial. On November 28, 2011, Appellant filed a "Petition for Allowance of Appeal" in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. On July 31, 2012, the Supreme Court denied Appellant's "Petition for Allowance of Appeal." On September 13, 2012, the record was remanded to the trial court.
On January 28, 2013, Appellant filed a "Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus for Violation of Pa.R.C.P. [sic] 600" requesting discharge from prosecution with prejudice.5 The court denied the Motion on January 29, 2013. 5 It should be noted that Appellant remained released on bail until the conclusion of his trial.
On February 1, 2013, Appellant was convicted after a four-day Jury Trial of: Possession with the Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance (Cocaine) and Possession of a Controlled Substance (Marijuana). On February 8, 2013, Appellant filed a "Motion for Writ of Habeas Corpus" wherein he sought to have bail set. On February 13, 2013, a bail hearing was held, and the Motion was denied.
Prior to sentencing, the court ordered a Pre-Sentence Investigation Report and a Psychiatric Evaluation. On February 25, 2013, Appellant was sentenced as follows: Count 1, Possession with the Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance (Cocaine), sixty (60) to 120 months SCI, $25, 000 in fines, and forfeiture of the $15, 905, [1] and Count 2, Possession of a Controlled Substance (Marijuana), no further penalty. On February 27, 2013, Ms. Jones filed a "Praecipe to Withdraw Appearance."
On March 19, 2013, Appellant filed a pro se Notice of Appeal. On March 26, 2013, Mr. Patrick J. Connors, Esquire, of the Delaware County Office of the Public Defender, entered his appearance on behalf of Appellant and filed a timely Notice of Appeal. On April 2, 2013, the court directed Appellant to file a Concise Statement of Matters Complained of on Appeal. On April 22, 2013, Appellant filed and the court granted a request for an additional thirty (30) days to file his Concise Statement of Matters Complained of on Appeal. On May 10, 2013, Appellant filed a second request for additional time to file his 1925(b), and the Court granted Appellant an additional thirty (30) days. On June 14, 2013, Appellant filed a timely "Statement of Matters Complained of on Appeal."
Trial Court Opinion, 7/15/13, at 5-7 (certain footnotes omitted). Appellant presents the following issues for our review:
I) WHETHER THE COURT ERRED IN DETERMINING THAT THE SEQUESTRATION ORDER IT HAD IMPOSED AT THE COMMENCEMENT OF TESTIMONY HAD NOT BEEN VIOLATED BY CERTAIN COMMONWEALTH WITNESSES, NAMELY TROOPER MISCANNON, TROOPER GARCIA AND TROOPER STEINMETZ THUS RESULTING IN A VIOLATION OF [APPELLANT'S] DUE PROCESS RIGHTS TO A FAIR TRIAL.
II) WHETHER THE COURT ERRED IN DENYING [APPELLANT'S] RULE 600 MOTION WITHOUT HOLDING AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE COMMONWEALTH ACTED WITH DUE DILIGENCE IN FAILING TO BRING THIS CASE TO TRIAL FOR OVER THREE AND A HALF YEARS FROM THE DATE HE WAS CHARGED.

Appellant's Brief at 7 (capitalization in original).

Appellant first argues that the trial court erred when it determined that three Commonwealth witnesses did not violate a sequestration order. Appellant contends that the witnesses involved, who were state troopers, were discussing their testimony in a manner prohibited by the sequester order and, thus, he is entitled to a new trial.

In addressing this issue, we are mindful that "[w]hether there has been a violation of a sequestration order is a question of fact for the trial court and this determination will not be overturned on appeal if the determination is supported by sufficient credible evidence." Commonwealth v. Marinelli, 690 A.2d 203, 219 (Pa. 1997).

We have reviewed the briefs of the parties, the relevant law, the certified record, and the trial court's opinion authored by the Honorable James F. Nilon, Jr. It is our conclusion that this issue lacks merit, and that the opinion of the trial court adequately and accurately disposes of the claim presented by Appellant. Accordingly, we adopt the trial court's thorough discussion in this regard as our own. Trial Court Opinion, 7/15/13, at 7-14.

Appellant next argues that the trial court erred in determining his Pa.R.Crim.P. 600 challenge. Specifically, Appellant asserts that the trial court improperly denied his Rule 600 motion without holding an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the Commonwealth acted with due diligence in failing to bring his case to trial for over three and one-half years from the date he was charged.

Our review of a claim under Rule 600 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure is guided by the following principles:

Our standard of review relating to the application of Rule 600 is whether the trial court abused its discretion. Our scope of review is limited to the evidence on the record of the Rule 600 evidentiary hearing and the findings of the trial court. We must view the facts in the light most favorable to the prevailing party.

Commonwealth v. Malgieri, 889 A.2d 604, 606 (Pa.Super. 2005).

Additionally, when considering the trial court's ruling, this Court is not permitted to ignore the dual purpose behind Rule 600. Rule 600 serves two equally important functions: (1) the protection of the accused's speedy trial rights, and (2) the protection of society. In determining whether an accused's right to a speedy trial has been violated, consideration must be given to society's right to effective prosecution of criminal cases, both to restrain those guilty of crime and to deter those contemplating it. However, the administrative mandate of Rule 600 was not designed to insulate the criminally accused from good faith prosecution delayed through no fault of the Commonwealth.

Commonwealth v. Hunt, 858 A.2d 1234, 1238-1239 (Pa.Super. 2004) (en banc).

Again, we have reviewed the briefs of the parties, the relevant law, the certified record on appeal, and the opinion of the trial court addressing Appellant's motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 600. It is our determination that the trial court's opinion accurately addressed the issue and properly concluded that Appellant is entitled to no relief. Trial Court Opinion, 7/15/13, at 14-20. Accordingly, we affirm on the basis of the trial court's opinion and adopt its reasoning as our own.[2]

Judgment of sentence affirmed.

Judgment Entered.

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