from the Order January 6, 2015 In the Court of Common Pleas
of Cambria County Criminal Division at No(s):
BEFORE: BENDER, P.J.E., BOWES, J., PANELLA, J., LAZARUS, J.,
OTT, J., STABILE, J., DUBOW, J., MOULTON, J., and RANSOM, J.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania appeals from the
order entered January 6, 2015, in the Court of
Common Pleas of Cambria County, that granted the motion filed
by Tyshawn Plowden pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal
Procedure 600 and dismissed the charges against Plowden with
prejudice. The Commonwealth contends the trial court abused
its discretion in granting the motion because the
Commonwealth exercised due diligence in prosecuting Plowden
who was incarcerated in another state outside the control of
the Commonwealth. For the reasons below, we reverse and
remand for further proceedings.
trial court summarized the relevant procedural history, as
The parties have stipulated, in accordance with the record,
that the Rule 600 time limits expired on December 27, 2014. A
review of the record reveals that on June 9, 2014, [Plowden]
filed a Petition for Nominal Bail Pursuant to Rule 600, and
therein alleged that the 180-day time period for bringing him
to trial expired on June 9, 2014. On June 19, 2014, the
Honorable Gerard Long of this [c]ourt granted [Plowden's]
Petition and set bond at $1.00. On July 11, 2014, [Plowden]
was released from the Cambria County Prison and was
extradited to the State of New York, following an extradition
hearing on July 3, 2014.
At the January 5, 2015 hearing [on the Rule 600 motion], the
Commonwealth offered a written log and oral testimony from
Detective Lia DeMarco relative to the Commonwealth's
efforts to secure [Plowden] from the State of New York from
July 2014 to present. See 1/5/15 Com. Exhibit A. At
[the] hearing, Detective DeMarco testified, in response to
questioning by the Court, that when the Cambria County
Prison, in July 2014, inquired with the Commonwealth as to
whether [Plowden] could be extradited to the State of New
York, the Commonwealth did not object to the extradition.
N.T. 1/5/15 at p. 24. The Detective also admitted that prior
to his release from the Cambria County Prison, no one
scrutinized the charges … pending in Cambria
County. N.T. 1/5/15 at p. 24. However, she further
testified that since this case, the Commonwealth's
protocol has changed. N.T. 1/5/15 at pp. 24-25. Additionally,
counsel for the Commonwealth freely admitted that the
Commonwealth should have known that there were charges
pending against [Plowden], should have more closely taken
action prior to his release to the State of New York, and are
now attempting to rectify the errors. N.T. 1/5/15 at pp.
Testimony was also presented at the January 5, 2015 hearing
that the Commonwealth started proceeding pursuant to the
Interstate Agreement on Detainers ("IAD") on
September 24, 2014. N.T. 1/5/15 at p. 40. However, formal
written demand was not filed until October 9, 2014.
Id. Thereafter, on December 12, 2014, as a
"backup" plan, the Commonwealth also began
proceedings pursuant to the Uniform Extradition Act, as
Detective DeMarco learned from the State of New York that she
needed to obtain a governor's warrant from Harrisburg.
N.T. 1/5/15 at pp. 41-42.
On December 4, 2014, the last scheduled Jury Selection date
prior to the Rule 600 run date of December 27, 2014, the
[c]ourt specially set another Jury Selection date of December
16, 2014 to accommodate the Rule 600 time frame. However,
[Plowden] was not present on either December 4th or December
16th, given that he was incarcerated in New York. In fact, as
of the January 5, 2015 hearing date, [Plowden] had still not
been returned to Cambria County, but his trial date was set
for January 8, 2015, and the Cambria County Sheriff's
Office had made arrangements to transport [Plowden] from
upstate New York to Cambria County on January 7, 2015.
Trial Court Opinion, 3/9/2015, at 3-4.
upon these facts, the trial court granted Plowden's Rule
600 motion and dismissed the criminal charges pending against
him with prejudice. The trial court also denied as moot
Plowden's objection to the court conducting the January
5, 2015 hearing in his absence. Trial Court Order, 1/6/2015,
at 2 (unnumbered).
divided panel of this Court affirmed the order of the trial
court. Thereafter, the Commonwealth sought en banc
review, which this Court granted. The matter is now ready for
evaluating a Rule 600 issue:
[O]ur standard of review of a trial court's decision is
whether the trial court abused its discretion. Judicial
discretion requires action in conformity with law, upon facts
and circumstances judicially before the court, after hearing
and due consideration. An abuse of discretion is not merely
an error of judgment, but if in reaching a conclusion the law
is overridden or misapplied or the judgment exercised is
manifestly unreasonable, or the result of partiality,
prejudice, bias, or ill will, as shown by the evidence or the
record, discretion is abused.
The proper scope of review is limited to the evidence on the
record of the Rule  evidentiary hearing, and the
findings of the [trial] court. An appellate court must view
the facts in the light most favorable to the prevailing
Additionally, when considering the trial court's ruling,
this Court is not permitted to ignore the dual purpose behind
Rule . Rule  serves two equally important
functions: (1) the protection of the accused's speedy
trial rights, and (2) the protection of society. In
determining whether an accused's right to a speedy trial
has been violated, consideration must be given to
society's right to effective prosecution of criminal
cases, both to restrain those guilty of crime and to deter
those contemplating it. However, the administrative mandate
of Rule  was not designed to insulate the criminally
accused from good faith prosecution delayed through no fault
of the Commonwealth.
So long as there has been no misconduct on the part of the
Commonwealth in an effort to evade the fundamental speedy
trial rights of an accused, Rule  must be construed in a
manner consistent with society's right to punish and
deter crime. In considering [these] matters . . . courts must
carefully factor into the ultimate equation not only the
prerogatives of the individual accused, but the collective
right of the community to vigorous law enforcement as well.
Commonwealth v. Watson, 140 A.3d 696, 697-698 (Pa.
Super. 2016) (citation omitted), appeal denied, ___
A.3d___ [2016 Pa. LEXIS 2924] (Pa. Dec. 28, 2016).
600, as amended July 1, 2013,  provides, in pertinent part, that
"[t]rial in a court case in which a written complaint is
filed against the defendant shall commence within 365 days
from the date on which the complaint is filed."
Pa.R.Crim.P. 600(A)(2)(a). For purposes of computing when
trial must commence, "periods of delay at any stage of
the proceedings caused by the Commonwealth when the
Commonwealth has failed to exercise due diligence shall be
included.... Any other periods of delay shall be excluded
from the computation." Pa.R.Crim.P. 600(C)(1).
"When a defendant has not been brought to trial within
the time periods set forth in paragraph (A), at any time
before trial, the defendant's attorney, or the defendant