from the Order August 3, 2015 in the Court of Common Pleas of
Philadelphia Municipal Court - Traffic Division at No(s):
BEFORE: SHOGAN, MOULTON, and FITZGERALD, [*] JJ.
Danielle Baldwin, appeals from the order of the Philadelphia
County Court of Common Pleas reversing the judgment of
acquittal entered in the Philadelphia Municipal Court and
remanding the case to the Municipal Court for a new trial.
Appellant contends that double jeopardy prohibits a new
trial. We affirm.
evening of October 16, 2014, Appellant allegedly pointed a
gun at her neighbor, Jamia Williams. Williams contacted the
police, who arrested Appellant, searched her residence and
recovered a firearm. Williams was arrested and charged with
possession of an instrument of crime,  prohibited
offensive weapons,  simple assault,  reckless
endangerment and terroristic threats.
filed a motion in the Municipal Court to suppress the
firearm. On February 11, 2015, following an evidentiary
hearing, the Municipal Court granted the motion to suppress.
The court determined that Appellant consented to the search
of her residence following her arrest, but her consent was
involuntary because the arresting officers failed to give her
Miranda warnings. N.T., 2/11/15, at 23.
commenced immediately after the suppression ruling. Before
testimony began, the court stated: "Everyone understands
the consent is illegal and the fruits are thrown out . . . .
All witnesses are sequestered. If anyone needs to talk to
their witnesses because [of] what just happened in the
motion, I will suspend [the] sequestration order for a
[minute] while any witness is spoken to." Id.
the Commonwealth's first trial witness, testified that in
the early evening of October 16, 2014, she was standing
outside of her house on the street, while Appellant was
standing in her house across the street in front of an open
window. Id. at 25-27. Williams and Appellant were
arguing about the recent arrest of Williams' baby's
father. Id. at 25-26. During the argument, Appellant
disappeared from her window but returned moments later and
pointed a gun at Williams. Id. at 28.
counsel objected to Williams' testimony about the gun and
moved for a mistrial. Id. at 28-29. The court
sustained defense counsel's objection and granted a
mistrial. Id. at 29-30. Defense counsel then
requested a "judgment of acquittal" based on
"prosecutorial misconduct." Id. at 30. The
court responded: "The motion is granted and a mistrial
is granted. Jeopardy has attached, and so at this point . . .
this case is done. The motion for judgment of acquittal is
granted." Id. at 33.
Commonwealth appealed the judgment of acquittal to the Court
of Common Pleas on March 13, 2015. On August 3, 2015, the
Court of Common Pleas entered an order reversing the judgment
of acquittal and remanding the case to the Municipal Court
for trial. The Court of Common Pleas determined that
Appellant's double jeopardy rights were not violated,
because the Municipal Court's ruling "did not
constitute an acquittal[, ] nor was there prosecutorial
misconduct." Pa.R.A.P. 1925 Op., 3/9/16, at 5.
timely appealed to this Court on September 2, 2015. Both
Appellant and the Court of Common Pleas complied with
raises four issues in this appeal:
1. Double jeopardy prohibits a new trial in this case; the
[C]ommon [P]leas [C]ourt erred in allowing the [C]ommonwealth
to appeal from a judgment of acquittal because the government
is categorically prohibited from appealing judgments of
acquittal, even if the lower trial court was egregiously
wrong to enter the judgment of acquittal.
2. In the alternative event that there are any circumstances
under which a government can so appeal, the judgment of
acquittal here was entered by the trial judge and is
3. In the alternative event that the appellate courts do not
so hold, [the] [C]ommon [P]leas [Court] erred here (and [the
M]unicipal [C]ourt ruled correctly, and retrial is prohibited
no matter how the [M]unicipal [C]ourt judgment is described)
because double jeopardy prohibits retrial after a mistrial
caused by prosecutorial misconduct: following the suppression
ruling, the ...