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Commonwealth v. Colon

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

March 7, 2014

JOSE A. COLON, Appellant

Submitted: January 13, 2014.

Page 353

Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Criminal Division, No(s): CP-51-CR-0007368-2012. Before PALUMBO, J.

Karl Baker, Public Defender, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Hugh J. Burns, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, Philadelpha, for Commonwealth, appellee.



Page 354


Jose A. Colon (" Appellant" ) appeals from the judgment of sentence imposed after the trial court denied his Pa.R.Crim.P. 600 motion to dismiss, and convicted him of forgery, unsworn falsification to authorities, identity theft, tampering with records, and tampering with public records.[1] We reverse and vacate the judgment of sentence.

The trial court summarized the pertinent facts and procedural history as follows:

Pennsylvania State Trooper John Scott testified that in September of 2009 he was part of a unit that investigated alleged fraudulent identities procured through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (hereinafter PennDot).
In September of 2009, and based upon information received from PennDot, Trooper Scott was assigned to investigate whether Appellant had procured a fraudulent driver's license. As part of his investigation, Trooper Scott accessed the Pennsylvania Justice Network (hereinafter JNET) to view the PennDot records of Appellant and another individual named Richard Luis. The PennDot records of Appellant showed that he received an identification card on September 18, 2003 at the Arch Street PennDot location. Appellant's record was updated to a driver's license at the Columbus Boulevard PennDot location on April 23, 2005.
The PennDot record for Richard Luis depicted two images, the first one being the driver's license for an individual which was taken at the Arch Street PennDot location on January 31, 2004. The second image was of an individual which was taken at the Olney PennDot location on February 5, 2008. Based upon his observation of the photographs depicted on the licenses, Trooper Scott determined that the second image for

Page 355

Richard Luis, while having the correct biological information, depicted Appellant and not Mr. Luis.

Based on Trooper Scott's observation of the two driver's licenses, a criminal complaint was filed against Appellant on October 19, 2009. Due to Appellant's incarceration [at the Houtzdale State Correctional Institution] on other charges, Appellant's preliminary arraignment was not held until July 20, 2011. Thereafter, Appellant requested five continuances between August 4, 2011 and May 4, 2012. On June 21, 2012, Appellant was held for court on the above mentioned charges and his case was transferred to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas where his formal arraignment was held on June 22, 2012.
On July 26, 2012, Appellant decided to change attorneys and the Defender Association of Philadelphia was appointed on August 9, 2012 at which point all discovery was passed.
Appellant rejected a Commonwealth offer on August 29, 2012 and the case was listed for trial. The first objection lodged concerning Appellant's speedy trial rights was filed on October 12, 2012 in the form of a motion to dismiss. [The trial court conducted a hearing on October 15, 2012] and [denied the motion that same day]. Appellant was subsequently found guilty of all charges at the conclusion of a waiver trial held on the same day. On November 16, 2012, Appellant was sentenced to 3-6 months of confinement followed by three years of probation on the forgery charge. Appellant was given no further penalty on all the remaining charges. Appellant was granted a surrender date of November 20, 2012.
Appellant filed an appeal of [the trial court's] decision to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania on December 11, 2012. [The trial court] ordered Appellant to file a concise statement of errors complained of on appeal ... pursuant to Pa.R.A.P 1925(b) on December 17, 2012. On that same day, [the trial court] ordered the notes of testimony for the bench trial held on October 15, 2012 and the sentencing hearing held on November 16, 2012. [The trial court] received the transcription of the bench trial notes on January 31, 2012. The sentencing notes were not received by [the trial court] until February 28, 2012 and not posted on the First Judicial District database until March 18, 2013.
On January 11, 2013, Appellant filed both a motion nunc pro tunc for an extension of time as well as a petition to accept Appellant's Statement nunc pro tunc, which were both granted by [the trial] court on January 16, 2013. [The trial court filed a Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a) ...

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