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Commonwealth v. Wanner

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

March 28, 2017

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
CRYSTAL LYNN WANNER, Appellant

         Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence June 14, 2016 In the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-21-SA-0000100-2016

          BEFORE: LAZARUS, J., STABILE, J., and DUBOW, J.

          OPINION

          DUBOW, J.

         Appellant, Crystal Lynn Wanner, appeals from the June 14, 2016 Judgment of Sentence imposed in the Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas following her conviction at a bench trial of one count of Defiant Trespass - Actual Communication.[1] After careful review, we affirm.

         The trial court summarized the facts underlying this case as follows:

On January 26, 2016, [Appellant and her co-defendant] rang the doorbell of a fur shop known as Charles Exclusive Furriers. When the shop owner came to the door, they told her [that] they were curious about the shop's products. She allowed them to enter. After entering the shop, they began touching the furs [and] asking questions about the furrier process. Suddenly, their "tone" changed, as they began referencing the Bible and asking the shop owner if she thought she was God. At that point, the shop owner asked them to leave. She repeated the request multiple times but they would not go.
Something akin to a scuffle occurred as the owner attempted to usher [Appellant and her co-defendant] from the shop area into the lobby. During the scuffle, [Appellant] thrust her cell phone into the shop owner's face. The owner somehow got possession of both [Appellant and her co-defendant's] phones as she ushered them outside the shop and into the lobby. Another scuffle ensued after they were all in the lobby as the owner tried to lock the shop door behind her. After she was eventually able to get the door locked, she ran up the steps to the office to call the police. [Appellant and her co-defendant] ran screaming behind her. They were still in the lobby when the police arrived.

Trial Court Opinion, filed 9/15/16, at 1-2 (unpaginated) (footnotes with citations to the record omitted).

         Appellant and her co-defendant were charged with Defiant Trespass - Actual Communication, graded as a summary offense.[2] On March 31, 2016, Cumberland County Magisterial District Judge Elizabeth S. Beckley found Appellant and her co-defendant guilty of Defiant Trespass - Actual Communication, and sentenced Appellant to pay fines, costs, and restitution in the amount of $419.

         Appellant and her co-defendant filed timely appeals, and on June 14, 2016, the Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas held a trial de novo. President Judge Edward E. Guido found Appellant and her co-defendant guilty of Defiant Trespass - Actual Communication, and sentenced both defendants to 90 days of probation as well as the cost of prosecution and a $200 fine.

         Appellant timely appealed. Both Appellant and the trial court complied with Pa.R.A.P. 1925.

         On appeal, Appellant purports to raise a single issue, namely, "Did Appellant have the mens rea to commit the crime of trespass?" Appellant's Brief at 4. However, the Argument portion of Appellant's Brief raises two distinct theories of relief, improperly jumbled into a single argument section.[3] The two issues actually raised are as follows: (i) Appellant is entitled to relief under an applicable affirmative defense to Defiant Trespass; and (ii) the evidence was insufficient to establish the offense of Defiant Trespass because Appellant lacked the requisite mens rea. We address each argument in turn.

         Affirmative Defense

         Appellant avers that there is a statutory affirmative defense to Defiant Trespass that is applicable in the instant case.[4] Appellant's Brief at 8-11. Appellant waived this claim by failing to raise it before ...


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