Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Commonwealth v. Martinez

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

December 29, 2016

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
LUCIANO MARTINEZ Appellant

          Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence June 29, 2015 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-51-CR-0009700-2014

          BEFORE: STABILE, J., DUBOW, J., and STEVENS, P.J.E. [*]

          OPINION

          STEVENS, P.J.E.

         Luciano Martinez ("Appellant") appeals from the judgment of sentence entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, which sitting as finder of fact in his waiver trial found him guilty of robbery, persons not to possess a firearm, carrying a firearm without a license, theft by unlawful taking, theft by receiving stolen property, possession of an instrument of crime, carrying a firearm on public streets of Philadelphia, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, and terroristic threats. Appellant contends that the Commonwealth introduced insufficient evidence to support his terroristic threats conviction and that the court imposed an illegal sentence by imposing separate sentences for the crimes of robbery, terroristic threats, simple assault, and recklessly endangering another person. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

         The trial court aptly provides a pertinent factual history of the case as follows:

On August 8, 2014, at approximately 8:55 p.m., complainant and his friend[, who were on their way home to Bucks County from a contracting job, decided to stop at a] pizza restaurant located at the corner of Orthodox and Torresdale Streets in Philadelphia, PA. N.T., 2/24/15 at 19. Because the restaurant did not have a public restroom, complainant left the pizza restaurant and walked across the street to find a private location to relieve himself. Id. at 20. Complainant stopped in an alley next to a corner store located at 2033 Orthodox Street…. Id. at 19, 44.
Appellant approached complainant and asked [him] if he needed anything. Id. at 21. Complainant told appellant that he did not need anything from appellant and that he was in the alley "just looking for a place to go to the bathroom." Id. Appellant then asked complainant, "what do you got?" Id. at 22. Complainant told appellant that he "did not have anything." Id. At that moment, appellant pulled out a silver revolver and pressed it against complainant's cheek. Id. at 21-22. Appellant them slammed complainant against the hood of a nearby motor vehicle and rummaged through complainant's pockets. Id. at 22. Appellant took fifty dollars ($50) and a cellular phone from complainant and ran away. Id. at 22-23.

Trial Court Opinion, filed 2/10/16, at 3-4.

         Later that evening, police arrested Appellant and found him in possession of complainant's cell phone during a search incident to arrest, but they found neither complainant's money nor a handgun on either his person or at his residence. Id. at 33, 35, 37, 86. A February 4, 2015, bench trial resulted in convictions on all counts relating to Appellant's attack of complainant, and the court subsequently sentenced Appellant to a six to twelve year period of incarceration for robbery to which the following concurrent sentences were also imposed: four to eight years for possession of a firearm prohibited; two to four years for firearms not to be carried without license; nine to eighteen months for carrying firearms in public in Philadelphia; one to two years for possession of an instrument of crime; one to two years for terroristic threats; one to two years for simple assault; and one to two years for the reckless endangerment of another person. This timely appeal followed.

Appellant presents the following two questions for our review:
1. Was not the evidence insufficient to support appellant's conviction for terroristic threats where no verbal threats were uttered by appellant?
2. Did not the trial court err by imposing separate sentences for the crimes of robbery, terroristic threats, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person, where the latter three offenses each merged with robbery for purposes of sentencing, thereby resulting in an illegal sentence that must be vacated?

Appellant's brief at 3.

         In his first issue, Appellant argues a conviction for terroristic threats may not be sustained solely on evidence that he uttered the question "what do you got?" moments before pointing a gun at complainant and robbing him. The statute requires the communication of a threat to commit a crime of violence with intent to terrorize, Appellant maintains, and the evidence at bar was devoid of any such communication. We disagree.

          When presented with a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, this court's well-settled standard of review is as follows:

In reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence, we must determine whether the evidence, and all reasonable inferences deducible therefrom, viewed in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth as verdict winner, are sufficient to establish all of the elements of the offenses beyond a reasonable doubt.

In re L.A., 853 A.2d 388, 391 (Pa.Super. 2004) (citation omitted).

         The crime of terroristic threats is committed when a person "communicates, either directly or indirectly, a threat to commit any crime of violence with intent to terrorize another." 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 2706(a)(1). An express or specific threat is not necessary to sustain a conviction for terroristic threats. Commonwealth v. Reynolds, 835 A.2d 720 (Pa.Super. 2003). Consequently, "[i]t is unnecessary for an individual to specifically articulate the crime of violence which he or she intends to commit where the type of crime may be inferred from the nature of the statement and the context and circumstances surrounding the utterance of the statement." Commonwealth v. Sinnott, 976 A.2d 1184, 1187-188 (Pa.Super. 2009) (quotations and citations omitted), aff'd in part and rev'd in part, 30 A.3d 1105 (Pa. 2011).

         "[T]he harm sought to be prevented by the statute is the psychological distress that follows from an invasion of another's sense of personal security[, ]" In re B.R., 732 A.2d 633, 636 (Pa.Super. 1999). Nevertheless, whether the person threatened actually believes the threat will be carried out is irrelevant, as such a factor is not an element of the offense." Commonwealth v. Reynolds, 835 A.2d 720, 730 (Pa.Super. 2003) (citation omitted).

         The complainant provided the following pertinent testimony about his encounter with Appellant:

PROSECUTOR: Approximately how far away was the defendant from you when you were having this conversation?
COMPLAINANT: No more than three feet.
Q: And you indicated that he came up and asked you what you needed?
A: Yes, ma'am.
Q: Did you know what he was talking about?
A: I had an idea of what he was talking about but it wasn't my purpose so I just said nothing. I'm just looking for a place ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.