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Commonwealth v. Widmer

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

July 20, 2015

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
GEORGE WILSON WIDMER, Appellant

Submitted, May 26, 2015

Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Monroe County, Criminal Division, No(s): CP-45-CR-0000129-2014. Before CHESLOCK, J.

Chandra V. Bleice, Public Defender, Stroudsburg, for appellant.

Elmer D. Christine, Jr., District Attorney, Stroudsburg, for Commonwealth, appellee.

BEFORE: GANTMAN, P.J., SHOGAN, J., and LAZARUS, J.

Page 1024

OPINION

LAZARUS, J.

George Wilson Widmer appeals the judgment of sentence entered by the Court of Common Pleas of Monroe County after he was convicted of burglary of a building not adapted for overnight accommodation,[1] criminal trespass,[2] possessing an instrument of crime,[3] theft by unlawful taking,[4] and criminal mischief.[5] Widmer challenges the trial court's order permitting the Commonwealth to use his statements made during plea negotiations against him at trial. After careful review, we affirm.

The trial court summarized the relevant facts as follows:

On March 21, 2014[,] during plea negotiations, the Commonwealth offered [Widmer] the opportunity to meet with his attorney, the assistant district attorney, and a trooper from the Pennsylvania State Police for the purpose of providing a sworn statement admitting to all burglaries he had committed. The parties agreed that in exchange for [Widmer's] cooperation in helping to resolve several open files, the Commonwealth would recommend a jail sentence of 10 to 20

Page 1025

years in a State Correctional Institution, and not file additional charges on approximately 32 other cases. [Widmer], in the presence of his [a]ttorney, provided a sworn statement on the record of all burglaries he had recently committed. Twice, before [Widmer] made any statements, he was advised that anything said in conjunction with the proffer would be used against him if he later decided not to go through with his plea. . . . Following the making of the proffer, [Widmer] decided not to proceed with the agreement. On multiple other occasions prior to trial [Widmer] sought to reinstate his agreement with the Commonwealth only to renege before the agreement was brought before the [c]ourt.
Counsel for [Widmer] filed a [m]otion in limine on August 21, 2014, to prohibit the Commonwealth from using [Widmer's] proffer at trial in their case-in-chief.
On August 26, 2014, the Commonwealth filed a Motion for Expedited Hearing and a hearing was held on September 2, 2014[,] where [the court] found that the Commonwealth could ...

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