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Commonwealth v. Robinson

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

August 3, 2015

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellant
v.
FARUQ ROBINSON, Appellee; COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellant
v.
ROBERT L. GREEN, Appellee; COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellant
v.
RYAN BAKER, Appellee

Argued February 3, 2015.

Page 368

Appeal from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Criminal Division, No(s). CP-51-CR-0004473-2013; CP-51-CR-0004834-2013; CP-51-CR-0004877-2013; CP-51-CR-0004878-2013; CP-51-CR-0003073-2014; CP-51-CR-0005324-2014; CP-51-CR-0005325-2014; CP-51-CR-0005326-2014. Before CUNNINGHAM, J.

Samuel H. Ritterman, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, Appellant.

Gary S. Server, Philadelphia, for Robinson, appellee.

Courtney B. Kirschner, Philadelphia, for Green and Baker, appellees. (Submitted)

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

OPINION

Page 369

GANTMAN, P.J.:

Appellant, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, appeals from the orders entered in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, which precluded the testimony of the victims at trial because the Commonwealth refused to provide written transcripts of the victims' video interviews. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.

The relevant facts and procedural history of these consolidated appeals are as follows. Appellee Robinson was charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse (" IDSI" )--forcible compulsion, three counts of unlawful contact with a minor, five counts of endangering the welfare of a child (" EWOC" ), five counts of corruption of minors, rape by forcible compulsion, IDSI--complainant less than sixteen years of age, three counts of indecent assault--complainant less than thirteen years of age, four counts of simple assault, four counts of recklessly endangering another

Page 370

person (" REAP" ), and four counts of aggravated assault. Appellee Green was charged with unlawful contact with a minor, EWOC, corruption of minors, and indecent assault. Appellee Baker was charged with two counts of rape, three counts of unlawful contact with a minor, three counts of unlawful restraint, two counts of sexual assault, three counts of false imprisonment, three counts of corruption of minors, two counts of simple assault, and three counts of EWOC. All of Appellees' charges stemmed from the physical and sexual abuse of the victims, who were minors at the times of the offenses.

In conjunction with the investigation of Appellees' offenses, the Philadelphia Children's Alliance (" PCA" ) conducted video forensic interviews of all the victims. During discovery, the Commonwealth gave Appellees copies of all the victims' PCA video interviews. Thereafter, Appellees filed motions to compel verbatim transcripts of each victim's video interview. In the cases of Appellees Green and Baker, Appellees requested that the Commonwealth prepare the transcripts, which the court granted in both cases. In Appellee Robinson's case, however, Appellee initially requested that PCA prepare the transcripts. Following a hearing, the court in Appellee Robinson's case ordered PCA to prepare the transcripts. Nevertheless, PCA filed a motion for reconsideration in which PCA argued the court lacked authority to order PCA to transcribe the victims' interviews and the cost of transcription would be prohibitive, as PCA is a non-profit organization. After ...


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