from the Order Entered January 25, 2017 In the Court of
Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Criminal Division at
BEFORE: GANTMAN, P.J., McLAUGHLIN, J., and RANSOM, [*] J.
Commonwealth appeals from the order of the Philadelphia
County Court of Common Pleas granting a writ of
certiorari and reversing the Philadelphia Municipal
Court's denial of Iquil Irick's Motion to Suppress.
Irick filed for certiorari before trial or
sentencing in Municipal Court. Municipal Court's order
was therefore not a final order and the Court of Common Pleas
lacked jurisdiction. We vacate the Court of Common Pleas'
order and remand for further proceedings in Municipal
was charged in Municipal Court with several crimes, including
possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance
("PWID") and knowing and intentional possession of
a controlled substance. On May 11, 2016, he presented a
Motion to Suppress in Municipal Court. N.T., Suppression
Hearing, 05/11/16, at 7-8. After a brief hearing on September
12, 2016, Municipal Court denied the Motion. Before going to
trial in Municipal Court, and consequently before Municipal
Court imposed sentence, on October 5, 2016, Irick petitioned
the Common Pleas Court for a writ of certiorari. He
argued that Municipal Court had erroneously denied his Motion
to Suppress. After a hearing on January 25, 2017, the Court
of Common Pleas reversed Municipal Court's order and
granted the Motion to Suppress.
Commonwealth filed this timely appeal and argues that the
Court of Common Pleas erroneously reversed.
Commonwealth's Br. at 1. We do not reach the
Commonwealth's argument because the Court of Common Pleas
lacked jurisdiction. While neither party has questioned
Common Pleas' jurisdiction, we may raise the issue
sua sponte. See Cleveland Asphalt Inc. v.
Coalition for a Fair and Safe Workplace, 886 A.2d 271,
276 (Pa.Super. 2005).
petition for a writ of certiorari is one of two
avenues by which a criminal defendant in Municipal Court may
obtain appellate review in the Court of Common Pleas. The
other alternative is to appeal for a trial de novo.
See Pa.R.Crim.P. 1006. However, under either
procedure, a defendant may only obtain review in Common Pleas
Court after Municipal Court imposes sentence.
criminal cases, Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure 1000
through 1010 govern appellate review of Municipal Court
decisions in the Court of Common Pleas. See Commonwealth
v. Menezes, 871 A.2d 204, 207 (Pa.Super. 2005). Rule
1006(1)(a) requires a Municipal Court judge to inform a
defendant after the imposition of sentence of the
defendant's "right to file a petition for writ of
certiorari within 30 days without costs or to appeal
for trial de novo within 30 days without costs. . .
1006(1)(a) thus recognizes the defendant's right to
petition for certiorari after sentencing. However,
no rule, statute, or other provision of law permits a
criminal defendant in Municipal Court to petition for
certiorari before sentencing. The absence of any
provision for seeking certiorari before sentencing
leads us to conclude that a criminal defendant in Municipal
Court may only petition for certiorari after
maxim of statutory construction, "expressio unius,
exclusio alterius" - "the mention of one thing
implies the exclusion of others not
expressed" - applies fully to the construction of the
Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure. This is because
Criminal Rule 101(C) requires us to construe the Rules of
Criminal Procedure "[t]o the extent practicable . . . in
consonance with the rules of statutory construction."
Pa.R.Crim.P. 101(C). Because Rule 1006 recognizes the right
to seek certiorari after the pronouncement of
sentence, and no rule or other provision of law provides a
similar right to certiorari at any earlier stage, we
hold that a criminal defendant in Municipal Court may
petition for a writ of certiorari only after the
imposition of sentence.
additional factors support this conclusion. First, as a
general rule, appellate review is only available after the
entry of a final order, and the policy reasons for the
general rule will be well-served by allowing defendants to
obtain certiorari review in Common Pleas Court only
after Municipal Court imposes sentence. See Rae v. Pa.
Funeral Dirs. Ass'n, 977 A.2d 1121, 1124-25 (Pa.
2009). This general rule exists to facilitate the prompt
resolution of cases by "ensuring that [trial
judges'] every determination is not subject to the
immediate review of an appellate tribunal. . . ."
Rae, 977 A.2d at 1124 (quoting Riyaz A. Kanji,
The Proper Scope of Pendent Appellate Jurisdiction in the
Collateral Order Context, 100 Yale L.J. 511, 512-13
(1990) (discussing federal collateral order rule)). The
general rule also serves to provide appellate courts with the
"opportunity . . . to consider a trial judge's
actions in light of the entire proceedings below, thereby
enhancing the likelihood of sound appellate review."
Municipal Court criminal defendants to seeking
certiorari after sentencing furthers these policies.
Conversely, allowing interlocutory review in Common Pleas
through petitions for writs of certiorari would
undoubtedly stall criminal cases in Municipal Court and
frustrate effective appellate review.
the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Criminal Rules, like
the statewide rules, provide only for a procedure by which a
defendant may seek certiorari "[u]pon
conviction and sentence." Phila.Crim.R. 630(F). They do
not set forth procedures for interlocutory
Upon conviction and sentence in the Municipal Court trial, a
defendant shall have the right to take an appeal to and
secure a trial de novo in Common Pleas Court or file
a Writ of Certiorari from the Court of Common Pleas
to the Municipal Court for review of the record of his
conviction. In no event ...