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Commonwealth v. Beaufort

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

March 24, 2015

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
MICHAEL T. BEAUFORT, Appellant

Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence Entered February 21, 2014, in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division, at No(s): CP-51-CR-0009076-2013, MC-51-CR-0014862-2012.

BEFORE: STABILE, JENKINS, and STRASSBURGER,[*] JJ.

OPINION

Page 1268

STRASSBURGER, J.

Michael T. Beaufort (Appellant) appeals from the judgment of sentence entered February 21, 2014, following his conviction for two counts of driving under the influence (DUI). For the following reasons, we affirm.

On April 12, 2012, Appellant was arrested and charged with, inter alia, DUI. His case was listed for trial in Philadelphia's Municipal Court. Prior to trial, Appellant moved for dismissal of his case pursuant to the municipal court prompt trial rule, Pa.R.Crim.P. 1013.[1] That motion was denied, following a hearing, on February 22, 2013. On April 10, 2013, Appellant proceeded to a stipulated trial in Municipal Court and was found guilty of DUI. On June 17, 2013, Appellant was sentenced to a term of 72 hours to four months of incarceration and a concurrent six month term of probation.

On July 17, 2013, Appellant filed an appeal in the Court of Common Pleas seeking a trial de novo. On January 27, 2014, following a waiver trial, Appellant was found guilty of two counts of DUI. On February 3, 2014, Appellant filed a motion for extraordinary relief with the Court of Common Pleas again seeking appellate review of the Municipal Court's denial of his Rule 1013 motion to dismiss. On February 21, 2014, the court denied Appellant's motion and sentenced him to 60 days to six months of incarceration and a concurrent term of six months' probation. Appellant filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied following a hearing on March 6, 2014. This timely appeal followed. Appellant complied with the trial court's request to file a concise statement of errors complained of on appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b).

Appellant raises a single issue for our review: whether the Municipal Court

Page 1269

erred in denying his request for dismissal under Rule 1013. Appellant's Brief at 2. This claim is moot.

An appellant convicted in Philadelphia's Municipal Court has two appellate options.

Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 1006(1)(a) provides that a defendant convicted in Philadelphia Municipal Court has the right to request either a trial de novo or file a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. This Court has held that when a defendant files a petition for a writ of certiorari, the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas sits as an appellate court.

Commonwealth v. Coleman, 2011 PA Super 84, 19 A.3d 1111, 1118-19 (Pa. Super. 2011) (citations omitted). " A trial de novo gives the defendant a new trial without reference to the Municipal Court record; a petition for writ of certiorari asks the Common Pleas Court to review the record made in the Municipal Court." Commonwealth v. Menezes, 2005 PA Super 90, 871 A.2d 204, 207 n.2 (Pa. Super. 2005). These options are mutually exclusive. Pa.R.Crim.P. 1008(A) (" The notice [of appeal from a Municipal Court ruling] shall state which method of review is being sought in the court of common pleas by indicating whether it is a notice of appeal or notice of a petition for a writ of certiorari." ). Appellant's claim that the Municipal Court erred in denying his Rule 1013 motion was reviewable by writ of certiorari. See Commonwealth v. Preston, 2006 PA Super 170, 904 A.2d 1 (Pa. Super. 2006); Commonwealth v. Staten, 2008 PA Super 118, 950 A.2d 1006 (Pa. Super. 2008). However, because he forewent that option in favor of proceeding to a trial de novo, the issue of whether he was timely tried in the Municipal Court became moot. Commonwealth v. Appel, 218, 438 Pa.Super. 214, 652 A.2d 341, 343 (Pa. Super. 1994) (" Appellant was afforded a trial de novo and, therefore, matters pertaining to the proceedings before the district magistrate are irrelevant." ). Thus, the Court of Common Pleas did not err in declining to address Appellant's issue.

Judgment of sentence affirmed.

Judgment Entered.


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