from the Judgment of Sentence June 27, 2016 In the Court of
Common Pleas of Elk County Criminal Division at No(s):
BEFORE: LAZARUS, RANSOM, JJ., and STEVENS, P.J.E.
an appeal from the judgment of sentence entered in the Court
of Common Pleas of Elk County following Appellant's
conviction on the charges of simple assault and criminal
mischief. Appellant contends the trial court abused
its discretion in denying his motion to dismiss pursuant to
Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 600. After a careful
review, we affirm.
relevant facts and procedural history are as follows: On
January 30, 2015, Appellant assaulted the nine-year-old
victim, and on February 5, 2015, Police Officer Jason A.
Miller filed a criminal complaint against Appellant in the
Office of Magisterial District Judge Mark S. Jacob. A
preliminary hearing was scheduled for March 10, 2015;
however, by letter dated February 19, 2015, Officer Miller
informed the magisterial district judge that he was
"scheduled to be at work related training in Harrisburg
on March 10, 2015." See Letter, dated 2/19/15.
Thus, Officer Miller asked that Appellant's preliminary
hearing be continued.
magisterial district judge rescheduled the preliminary
hearing to March 17, 2015, noting such was necessary due to
"Continuance requested by Jason A. Miller, Reason:
Prosecution Unavailable-Police[.]" See
Magisterial District Judge's Rescheduling Notice, dated
2/20/15. On March 17, 2015, a preliminary hearing was held,
and all charges were bound over to the Court of Common Pleas.
March 31, 2015, the Commonwealth filed a criminal Information
against Appellant, and on April 6, 2015, Appellant waived his
formal arraignment. On April 9, 2015, Appellant requested a
Bill of Particulars, and after the Commonwealth sent a letter
indicating its refusal, Appellant filed a motion to compel
answers to Bill of Particulars on April 23, 2015. The trial
court held a hearing on the motion, and on June 22, 2015, the
trial court filed an order granting Appellant's motion
and directing the Commonwealth's response by June 30,
November 18, 2015, the Commonwealth filed a praecipe to list
Appellant's case for a jury trial, and accordingly,
Appellant's case was listed by the court for jury call on
December 7, 2015, with voir dire to begin on
December 14, 2015.
meantime, on November 23, 2015, the Commonwealth answered
Appellant's Bill of Particulars, and on November 24,
2015, Appellant filed a motion for relief relative to the
Commonwealth's late filing of its answers. On December 7,
2015, the trial court held a hearing on Appellant's
motion, and following a hearing, by order dated December 7,
2015, the trial court granted Appellant relief, indicating
that jury call was continued until February 1, 2016, with
voir dire to begin on February 8, 2016. The trial
court specifically noted "this time [is] chargeable to
the Commonwealth for purposes of Pa.R.Crim.P. 600."
Trial Court Order, dated 12/7/15.
February 8, 2016, Appellant filed a motion to dismiss
pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 600, and on that same date, jury
selection occurred. Subsequently, on March 28, 2016, the
trial court held a hearing on Appellant's motion to
hearing, on direct-examination, Officer Miller confirmed that
he personally requested a continuance of Appellant's
March 10, 2016, preliminary hearing. N.T., 3/28/16, at 5-6.
He testified that he made the request because he "was
scheduled to go to [ ] leadership training in Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania, on March 10, 11[, ] and 12." Id.
at 6. He noted the training was scheduled well in advance of
March 10, 2016, and it was for purposes of his employment.
Id. Officer Miller completed the training and
received a certificate for "20 hours of training on
leadership and law enforcement." Id. at 7.
cross-examination, Officer Miller indicated that he did not
have communication with the district attorney's office or
otherwise discuss with that office his need for a continuance
of the preliminary hearing. Id. at 17. Rather,
"as a matter of routine course[, ]" he wrote
directly to the magisterial district judge in order to get a
order and opinion filed on April 1, 2016, the trial court
denied Appellant's motion to dismiss pursuant to
Pa.R.Crim.P. 600, and Appellant proceeded to a jury trial on
April 7, 2016, following which he was convicted by the jury
of simple assault. The trial court found Appellant guilty of
the summary offense of criminal mischief.
27, 2016, Appellant was sentenced to an aggregate of thirty
months' probation, with the first 45 days being served as
house arrest without electronic monitoring. Appellant filed a
timely post-sentence motion, which the trial court denied on
November 4, 2016. This timely appeal followed, and all
Pa.R.A.P. 1925 requirements have been met.
appeal, Appellant's sole claim is the trial court abused
its discretion when it denied Appellant's motion to
dismiss for the Commonwealth's failure to bring the
matter to trial in a speedy fashion as required by Rule 600
of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure.
Specifically, he alleges that the Commonwealth was not duly
diligent as it relates to the delay attributed to Officer
Miller's request for a continuance of Appellant's
review Appellant's Rule 600 argument according to the
In evaluating Rule  issues, our 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