from the Judgment of Sentence August 22, 2016 In the Court of
Common Pleas of Lehigh County Criminal Division at No(s):
BEFORE: BENDER, P.J.E., MUSMANNO, J., and STEVENS [*] , P.J.E.
Patrick Cline, appeals from the judgment of sentence entered
in the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County after a jury
found him guilty of intercepting and disclosing a wire,
electronic, or oral communication, in violation of the
Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control
Act.Appellant levels a sufficiency of the
evidence challenge in which he asserts that the Commonwealth
failed to prove he knowingly or intentionally violated the
Wiretap Act when he recorded a custody hearing attended by
his ex-wife and him at the Lehigh County Courthouse. We
The trial court aptly sets forth pertinent facts, as follows:
On September 2, 2014, the defendant [hereinafter
"Appellant"] and his ex-wife, Jennifer Kibler, were
in the Lehigh County Courthouse for a custody conference. The
conference was held in the office of custody master Don
Klein, Esquire. Also present in the room was Lehigh County
Deputy Sheriff Peter Tirado. Approximately 20 to 30 minutes
into the conference, Appellant stood up and announced that he
was recording the hearing with his cell phone. Master Klein
advised Appellant that he could not record in there and asked
Deputy Tirado to take Appellant's phone. Appellant put
the phone in his pocket, ran out of the room, and left the
courthouse. Appellant ultimately posted the recording on
At [Appellant's June 15, 2016, ] trial, Ms. Kibler,
Master Klein, [and] Deputy Tirado testified that they never
gave Appellant permission to record the conference[, and
there were signs posted prohibiting the use of cell phones].
Master Klein and Deputy Tirado testified that the conference
room is accessed by swiping a key card and is not accessible
by the public. Appellant testified and admitted to recording
the hearing and posting it on Facebook, but [he] maintained
he did not do anything illegal.
Court Opinion, dated 5/4/17, at 1-2.
jury convicted Appellant of violating the Wiretap Act, and
the court ordered a pre-sentence investigation report and
scheduled a sentencing date. On August 22, 2016, the court
sentenced Appellant to a term of incarceration of 11 ½
to 23 months, followed by three years' probation.
Appellant filed post-sentence motions, which were denied
following a hearing. This timely appeal followed.
Appellant presents the following question for our review:
WAS THE EVIDENCE INSUFFICIENT TO SUPPORT THE VERDICT FOR THE
A. THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE THAT APPELLANT KNEW THAT RECORDING
THE HEARING AND/OR POSTING IT ONLINE WAS AGAINST THE LAW AS
THE SIGNS MERELY SAID "NO CELL PHONES" BUT DID NOT
PROHIBIT RECORDING. IT WAS THEREFORE NOT PROVEN THAT HE HAD
THE REQUIRED MENS REA.
B. PROHIBITING DEFENDANT FROM RECORDING THE PROCEEDINGS
AND/OR POSTING IT ONLINE VIOLATED HIS DUE PROCESS RIGHTS
UNDER THE UNITED STATES AND PENNSYLVANIA CONSTITUTIONS SINCE
THE INFORMATION RECEIVED AT THE CUSTODY CONFERENCE WAS