from the Judgment of Sentence Dated October 6, 2016 In the
Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County Criminal Division
at No(s): CP-02-CR-0003128-2016
BEFORE: STABILE, J., SOLANO, J., and FITZGERALD, J.
Mayasha Pennix, appeals from the judgment of sentence imposed
after the trial court convicted her of possessing a weapon in
a court facility and disorderly conduct. We reverse
Appellant's convictions and vacate her judgment of
agrees with the trial court's recitation of the facts.
Appellant's Brief at 7. The trial court stated:
Briefly, the evidence presented by the Commonwealth (through
stipulation to the Sheriff's Report and Affidavit of
Probable Cause) indicated that on October 28, 2015,
[Appellant] attempted to enter the Family Court building on
Ross Street, but was detained at the metal detector when a
scan of her book bag revealed the presence of a knife and
razor blades. [Appellant] was asked to remove the items from
her bag, but she had difficulty locating them and became
argumentative with the deputy. [Appellant] continued to get
more and more agitated, and was heard screaming "Fuck
you I ain't got time for this, " "Fuck you
police" and "I don't got time for you fucking
police." (Allegheny County Sheriff's Incident
Report, 10/28/15, p. 1). She was subsequently instructed to
leave the building, but she refused and continued to scream
and be disruptive until she was escorted from the building by
Trial Court Opinion, 3/3/17, at 1-2.
adds that she "was not merely escorted from the building
. . . [but] was in fact arrested, [and] charged with the two
crimes referred to and taken into custody."
Appellant's Brief at 7. Appellant appeared for a bench
trial on October 6, 2016. The trial court rendered its
verdicts the same day, and sentenced Appellant to six months
of probation. Appellant filed a post-sentence motion on
October 7, 2016. The trial court denied the motion on October
12, 2016. Appellant filed this timely appeal on November 10,
presents the following issues for our review:
1. Was the evidence presented at Appellant's trial
insufficient to support her conviction for Possession of a
Dangerous Weapon in a Court Facility, 18 Pa.C.S. §
913(a)(1), since the evidence did not establish (A) that the
objects found in her backpack were "dangerous
weapons" under Crimes Code § 913(f); (B) that she
possessed those objects inside a "court facility, "
as that phrase is defined by § 913(f); (C) that either
the signage required by Crimes Code § 913(d) was posted
as required on the date of her arrest or that her actual
knowledge obviated the need for such signage; and (D) that
she realized that a knife and razor blades were inside her
backpack on the date of her arrest?
2. Should this Court disregard the trial court's
declaration, contained in its Pa.R.App.P. 1925 advisory
opinion, that it took sua sponte judicial notice of
the layout of the Allegheny County Family Division Courthouse
and of the signage on that building, given that (A) the trial
court's failure to declare, during the course of
Appellant's trial, that it was taking such notice means
that it did not in fact take judicial notice at trial, and
post-verdict judicial notice is not permitted; (B) taking
judicial notice at trial would have been improper since the
subject matter was not one for which judicial notice could be
taken (the rule being that judicial notice cannot be based on
a judge's personal knowledge and cannot be taken unless a
matter is either known to the community as a whole or else is
found in identified and unimpeachable sources); and (C)
taking judicial notice would in any event have been improper
since the failure to inform the parties that such notice was
being taken precluded a response, and since the precise basis
for the taking of judicial notice was never indicated?
3. Was the evidence presented at Appellant's trial
inadequate to support her conviction for Disorderly Conduct
via Obscene Utterances or Gestures, 18 Pa.C.S. §
5503(a)(3), given the absence of sufficient evidence
establishing that she either uttered obscene words (as
opposed to mere profane language) or made an obscene gesture?
Appellant's Brief at 3-5.
argues that her convictions should be vacated because the
Commonwealth failed to present sufficient evidence to
establish her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt under the
applicable statutes. When reviewing a claim that the trial
court erred in determining the evidence was sufficient to
prove an offense, an appellate court must assess the evidence
and all reasonable inferences from that evidence most
favorably to the verdict winner. Commonwealth v.
Whitacre, 878 A.2d 96, 99 (Pa. Super.), appeal
denied, 892 A.2d 823 (Pa. 2005). As long as the evidence
and inferences provide sufficient information to establish
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
statute making it a crime to possess a dangerous weapon in a
court facility states:
A person commits an offense if he:
(1) knowingly possesses a firearm or other dangerous weapon
in a court facility or knowingly causes a firearm or other
dangerous weapon ...