from the Judgment of Sentence April 5, 2016 In the Court of
Common Pleas of Allegheny County Criminal Division at No(s):
BEFORE: LAZARUS, J., DUBOW, J., and STRASSBURGER, J.
Lankford appeals from the judgment of sentence, entered in
the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, following his
conviction of multiple offenses stemming from four armed
robberies. After careful review, we affirm.
was charged with five counts of robbery, 18 Pa.C.S.A. §
3701(a)(1)(i) and (ii), and related offenses for crimes
committed on January 17, 2015. On June 8, 2015, Lankford
filed a request for a mental health evaluation, which the
trial court granted. However, at a plea hearing on August 11,
2015, the trial court discovered Lankford received a
competency evaluation conducted for Allegheny County, rather
than the previously requested mental health evaluation. The
trial court subsequently deemed Lankford competent to stand
trial, but acknowledged an indication of serious substance
abuse and the need for a full mental health
evaluation.Lankford did not contest the trial
court's competency ruling,  and on August 11, 2015, he
pleaded guilty to all charges.
December 21, 2015, Lankford again filed a motion requesting a
mental health evaluation. The trial court granted his motion,
and Dr. Alice E. Applegate, forensic psychologist, conducted
Lankford's evaluation. On March 10, 2016, Lankford
submitted to the trial court a memorandum in aid of
sentencing, which included Dr. Applegate's report
detailing his mental health evaluation.
April 5, 2016, the trial court sentenced Lankford to an
aggregate term of 99 to 220 months' imprisonment,
followed by three years of state probation. At his sentencing
hearing, Dr. Applegate explained that Lankford was seriously
mentally ill, exhibited suicidal thoughts and cognitive
confusion and noted that schizophrenia ran in the paternal
side of Lankford's family. In fashioning Lankford's
sentence, the trial court considered his Presentence
Investigation Report (PSI), his memorandum in aid of
sentencing and testimony from his stepfather, mother and
filed a motion for reconsideration of sentence, which the
trial court denied without a hearing. Lankford filed a timely
appeal, followed by a Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) concise statement of
errors complained of on appeal. On appeal, Lankford raises
the following issue for our review:
Did the trial court impose a cruel and unusual punishment
when it sentenced [Lankford] to 99 to 220 [months'
incarceration] despite his severe and untreated mental health
Brief of Appellant, at 11.
claims he is entitled to mental health treatment and that the
denial of such treatment is cruel and unusual punishment, and
therefore unconstitutional. We disagree.
1, Section 13 of the Pennsylvania Constitution provides
"[e]xcessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive
fines imposed, nor cruel punishments inflicted." P.A.
Const. art. I, § 13. "[T]he guarantee against cruel
punishment contained in the Pennsylvania Constitution,
Article 1, Section 13, provides no broader protections
against cruel and unusual punishment than those extended
under the Eighth Amendment to the United States
Constitution." Commonwealth v. Spells, 612 A.2d
458, 461 (Pa. Super. 1992). The Eighth Amendment does not
require strict proportionality between the crime committed
and the sentence imposed; rather, it forbids only extreme
sentences that are grossly disproportionate to the
crime. See Commonwealth v. Hall, 701 A.2d 190, 209
(Pa. 1997) (citing Harmelin v. Michigan, 501 U.S.
957, 1001 (1991)) (emphasis added).
Commonwealth v. Spells, 612 A.2d 458, 462 (Pa.
Super. 1992) (en banc), this Court applied the three-prong
test for Eighth Amendment proportionality review set forth by
the United States Supreme Court in Solem v. Helm,
463 U.S. 277 (1983):
[A] court's proportionality analysis under the Eighth
Amendment should be guided by objective criteria, including
(i) the gravity of the offense and the harshness of the
penalty; (ii) the sentences imposed on other criminals in the
same jurisdiction; and (iii) the ...