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Commonwealth v. Robinson

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

July 19, 2017

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JOSHUA ROBINSON, Appellant

         Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence May 5, 2014 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Criminal Division at No.: MC-51-MD-0000750-2014

          BEFORE: OTT, J., DUBOW, J., and STEVENS, P.J.E. [*]

          OPINION

          DUBOW, J.

         Appellant, Joshua Robinson, appeals from the Judgment of Sentence imposed in connection with six summary criminal contempt convictions incurred in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County on May 5, 2014.[1] After careful review, we affirm.

         Appellant sought to represent himself in connection with numerous offenses pending against him, including Robbery and Attempted Murder.[2] On May 5, 2014, the trial court held a Grazier[3] hearing. The court first reviewed Appellant's mental health evaluation, in which a psychiatrist concluded that, although Appellant "was at times not cooperative with the interviewer's questions[, ]" he was "capable of taking part in legal proceedings." N.T., 5/5/14, at 5. The trial court then began the Grazier colloquy by asking Appellant his age. Before answering the question, Appellant immediately interrupted the proceedings by asking if he could "say something before we begin[.]" Id. at 6. Appellant then asked the trial court numerous questions about the nature of the proceedings and his representation by counsel. After several more questions, Appellant claimed to be confused about his status as the defendant:

THE DEFENDANT: …You saying I am the defendant?
THE COURT: Yes.
THE DEFENDANT: I'm the defendant?
THE COURT: You are a defendant Mr. Robinson, yes.
THE DEFENDANT: You sure?
THE COURT: Mr. Robinson, I am not going to play games with you. I have a mental health examination that indicates that you are not cooperative. You did this in my courtroom the last time we had you.
THE DEFENDANT: That wasn't me. You sure?

N.T., 5/5/14, at 7-8.

         Appellant continued arguing with the trial court, and the sheriff ordered Appellant to "[c]alm down." Id. at 9. The transcript indicates that Appellant's misbehavior escalated during the remainder of the hearing, with the trial court finding Appellant in direct criminal contempt six times, as follows:

THE COURT: Why are you asking me if I am sure you are a defendant?
THE DEFENDANT: I am just confused. I just --
THE COURT: No, no. Answer my questions.
THE DEFENDANT: I mean, you yelling --
THE COURT: Answer my questions.
THE DEFENDANT: That doesn't help me understand. I cannot answer --
THE COURT: I am holding you in contempt for willfully trying to disrupt the operation --
THE DEFENDANT: I --
THE COURT: Shut up while I am talking. Three to six months for contempt.
THE DEFENDANT: I don't consent to that. I don't consent to that.
THE COURT: I will ask you again; answer my question. Why are you questioning me --
THE DEFENDANT: I would love to.
THE COURT: Stop interrupting ...

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