from the Judgment of Sentence March 30, 2015 In the Court of
Common Pleas of Greene County Criminal Division at No(s):
BEFORE: LAZARUS, J., SOLANO, J., and STRASSBURGER, J.
William Treece appeals from the judgment of sentence, entered
in the Court of Common Pleas of Greene County, following his
conviction for escape. Upon review, we vacate the judgment of
trial court summarized the relevant facts of this matter as
On June , 2015, [Robert Treece] was arrested for
violating a [p]rotection from [a]buse order and taken to the
Cumberland Township Police Department. At the time of his
arrest, [Treece] complained of feeling ill. EMS took [Treece]
to the local hospital cuffed to the gurney.
After being seen in the emergency room, [Treece] was admitted
to the hospital for medical treatment and remained under
guard of the Cumberland Township Police in handcuffs.
Sometime afterwards, the [p]olice [o]fficers removed the
handcuffs and left the examination room [and hospital
Sometime after 3:00 pm, [Treece], with no law enforcement
present, decided he wanted to return home and with the
assistance of a nurse, removed his IV and walked out of the
On June , 2014, Cumberland Township Police took [Treece]
into custody on an unrelated matter and on June , 2014[,
] filed charges against [Treece] for [e]scape [for leaving
the hospital]. Trial Court Opinion, April 4, 2016, at
trial was held, and on December 4, 2014, Treece was found
guilty of escape. The trial judge, the Honorable William R.
Nalitz, P.J., retired on December 31, 2014. The Honorable
Farley Toothman, P.J., sentenced Treece on March 30, 2015, to
111/2 to 23 months' incarceration in the county jail, to
be served concurrently with his other unrelated sentences.
Treece filed a timely post-sentence motion seeking a judgment
of acquittal, and on December 2, 2015, that motion was
January 4, 2016, Treece filed a timely notice of appeal. The
sentencing court ordered him to file a concise statement of
errors complained of on appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b),
which Treece filed on February 2, 2016. On appeal, Treece
raises the following issue for our review:
Whether a person[, ] who is arrested and taken to a hospital
for treatment in handcuffs, then uncuffed when the police
leave the hospital, and [has] no [outstanding] warrant of
arrest for a crime or for an involuntary mental health
commitment, after observation and assessment for at least two
hours, walks out of the hospital, unguarded by anyone, is 
in "official detention" as an element [of] the
crime of escape under 18 [Pa.C.S.] § 5121(a)?
for Appellant, at 10.
In considering sufficiency of the evidence claims,
we must determine whether the evidence admitted at trial, and
all reasonable inferences drawn therefrom, when viewed in the
light most favorable to the Commonwealth as verdict winner,
support the conviction beyond a reasonable doubt. . . . Where
there is sufficient evidence to enable the trier of fact to
find every element of the crime has been established beyond a
reasonable doubt, the sufficiency of the evidence claim must
fail. Of course, the evidence established at trial need not
preclude every possibility of innocence and the fact-finder
is free to believe all, part or none of the evidence
Commonwealth v. Watley, 81 A.3d 108, 113 (Pa. Super.
2013) (en banc). The Commonwealth can satisfy its burden via
wholly circumstantial evidence. Id.
challenges the sufficiency of the evidence for his conviction
for escape. Specifically, Treece asserts that the evidence
presented by the
was insufficient to demonstrate that he was in "official
detention" when he walked out of the hospital at least
one hour after the police officers removed his handcuffs and
left the premises.
person commits the offense of escape when he "unlawfully
removes himself from official detention or fails to return to
official detention following temporary leave granted for a
specific purpose or limited period." 18 Pa.C.S. §
5121(a). "official detention" is defined as:
arrest, detention in any facility for custody of persons
under charge or conviction of crime or alleged or found to be
delinquent, detention for extradition or deportation, or any
other detention for law enforcement purposes; but the phrase
does not include supervision of probation or parole, or
constraint incidental to release on bail.
18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5121(e).
evident that Treece had been removed from the police station
and transported to the hospital, and he was no longer in a
"facility for custody of persons." Id.
Furthermore, police removed Treece's handcuffs and left
the hospital; accordingly, Treece was no longer in police
custody. "Therefore, the question is whether the phrase
=any other detention for law enforcement purposes'
applies to the facts of this case." Commonwealth v.
Santana, 959 A.2d 450, 452 (Pa. Super. 2008).
"Previously, we have interpreted this phrase to mean a
seizure in which =the police have restrained the liberty of a
person by show of authority or physical force.'"
Id. (quoting Commonwealth v. Stewart, 648
A.2d 797, 798 (Pa. Super. 1994)). "Any determination as
to whether a seizure occurred is based upon the totality of
circumstances and =whether a reasonable person would have
believed he or she was free to leave.'"
Santana, 959 A.2d at 452 (quoting Stewart,
648 A.2d at 798).
Stewart, police responded to a domestic disturbance
complaint alleging that the defendant was carrying a firearm.
Upon arriving at the scene, the officer began approaching the
defendant's vehicle with his gun drawn, ordering the
defendant to put his hands on the dashboard of his vehicle.
The defendant immediately drove off, was apprehended a short
while later, and charged with escape. In affirming the guilty
verdict of the trial court, this Court explained:
Under the circumstances presented in this case, it is clear
that [the officer] exhibited a show of authority. It is
inconceivable that a reasonable person would believe he or
she is free to leave when a uniformed officer with a gun
drawn has requested that person to turn the car off and to
place his or her hands on the dashboard. We conclude,
therefore, that [the officer's] show of authority was
sufficient to place [defendant] in official detention as
described in 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5121. [Defendant's]
decision to drive off in his car ...