IN THE INTEREST OF: C.E.H., A MINOR. APPEAL OF: C.E.H.
from the Order Entered August 17, 2016 In the Court of Common
Pleas of Northumberland County Juvenile Division at No(s):
BEFORE: GANTMAN, P.J., LAZARUS, J., and PLATT, J.
a minor, appeals from a dispositional order entered following
his adjudication of delinquency for simple
assault (M2), aggravated assault(F1), obstructing
administration of law or other governmental
function(M2), and two counts of disorderly conduct
(M3). C.E.H. was placed on probation under the
supervision of the Northumberland County Juvenile Court,
ordered to participate in all treatment programs deemed
necessary and appropriate, and directed to complete 20 hours
of community service. After careful review, we affirm.
27, 2015, Chief Officer Todd Owens and Officer Matthew
Dillman responded to a disturbance at 437 East Water Street,
Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania, where they took C.E.H.'s
stepfather, J.F.S., into custody. While attempting to take
Stepfather into custody, C.E.H. became irate. C.E.H. ran
around the scene shouting obscenities at the police, jumped
on the back of Chief Officer Owens, and impeded the police
from escorting Stepfather to the police cruiser.
C.E.H.'s attempt to impede Stepfather's escort to the
police cruiser, Gary Hixon intervened. Hixon is a former
member of the Mt. Carmel rescue squad for which he had served
for eighteen years, currently serves on borough council, is a
friend of Chief Officer Owens, and an acquaintance of Officer
Dillman. On the day in question, Hixon was driving to his
mother's house at 409 North Locust Street when he noticed
people in the street at the scene of the incident. Hixon then
exited his vehicle, observed C.E.H. "trying to get
[Chief Officer Owens], like grabbing the officer from behind,
" grabbed C.E.H., and pushed him away from the police.
N.T. Adjudicatory Hearing, 8/17/2016, at 17. C.E.H. continued
to direct obscenities at the police. The incident lasted
approximately 45 minutes.
August 17, 2016, the juvenile court heard testimony from four
eyewitnesses, and adjudicated C.E.H. delinquent on five
charges. Counsel for C.E.H. filed a timely notice of appeal
and a Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) concise statement of matters
complained of on appeal.
appeal, C.E.H. presents the following issue for our review:
Was the juvenile properly adjudicated delinquent on the
offenses of simple assault, aggravated assault, obstructing
administration of law or other governmental function, and two
counts of disorderly conduct, based on a claim that the
Commonwealth lacked sufficient evidence in establishing a
finding of delinquency beyond a reasonable doubt?
argues there was insufficient evidence to prove his
delinquency beyond a reasonable doubt. Specifically, with
regard to the delinquency of simple and aggravated assault,
C.E.H. argues there was insufficient evidence to establish an
intent to attempt to cause bodily injury. Additionally,
C.E.H. argues that he was precluded from developing a
defensive theory of bias based on the relationships among
Hixon, Chief Officer Owens, and Officer Dillman, because
opposing counsel's objections to further questioning such
relationships were sustained. Lastly, C.E.H. argues his claim
was against the weight of evidence because the trial court
relied on the testimony of less credible witnesses.
reviewing a claim that the trial court erred in determining
evidence was sufficient to find proof beyond a reasonable
doubt, an appellate court must assess evidence and all
reasonable inferences from that evidence most favorably to
the verdict winner. Commonwealth v. Whitacre, 878
A.2d 96, 99 (Pa. Super. 2005). As long as the fact-finder
could use such evidence and inferences therefrom to find
proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the evidence is sufficient.
Id. Further, the Commonwealth can meet its burden of
reasonable doubt "by means of wholly circumstantial
evidence." Id. Only when "as a matter law,
no probability of fact can be drawn from the combined
circumstances, " is the burden of proof beyond a
reasonable doubt not met. Id. Ultimately, the
fact-finder resolves all questions of doubt and is free to
believe all, part, or none of the evidence presented.
Commonwealth v. Newsome, 787 A.2d 1045, 1047-1048
(Pa. Super. 2001).
the adjudication proceedings on August 17, 2016, the
Commonwealth presented the testimony of four eyewitnesses.
The four eyewitnesses provided consistent testimony that
described a scene where C.E.H. contacted Officer Owens by
jumping on his back and tugging at his waist area, while
continuously shouting obscenities at law enforcement in an
attempt to prevent the arrest of his Stepfather. The
testimony of the four eyewitnesses corroborated these events.
person is guilty of simple assault if he "attempts to
cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily
injury to another." 18 Pa.C.S. § 2701(a)(1). Under
section 2701(a)(1), a victim need not actually suffer bodily
injury; the "attempt to inflict bodily injury may be
sufficient. This intent may be inferred from the
circumstances surrounding the incident if a specific intent
to cause bodily injury may reasonably be inferred
therefrom." Commonwealth v. Polston, 616 A.2d
669, 679 (Pa. Super. 1992).
person is guilty of aggravated assault if he "attempts
to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes
serious bodily injury to any of the officers" listed in
subsection (c) of section 2702. 18 Pa.C.S. § 2702(a)(2).
The Commonwealth only needs to prove that the juvenile
attempted to cause serious bodily injury; it does not have to
prove that the victim actually suffered serious bodily
injury. Commonwealth v. Holley, 945 A.2d 241, 247