Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Commonwealth v. Jerdon

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

July 1, 2019

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellant
v.
JOHN E. JERDON JR. Appellee

          Appeal from the Order Entered August 16, 2018 In the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-23-CR-0001722-2017

          BEFORE: LAZARUS, J., McLAUGHLIN, J., and STEVENS [*] , P.J.E.

          OPINION

          STEVENS, P.J.E.

         The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania appeals from the Order entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County on August 16, 2018, granting the pre-trial Motion to Admit Evidence of Sexual Conduct Pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3104 (Rape Shield Law) filed by Appellee John E. Jerdon, Jr. Following our review, we reverse and remand.

         The trial court set forth the facts and brief procedural history herein as follows:

[Appellee] has been charged with Indecent Assault1 and Corruption of Minors.2 The charges stem from an allegation that [Appellee] engaged in sexual touching of the victim from 1997 through 1999, when the victim was twelve to fourteen years old and [Appellee] was thirty-three to thirty-five years old. The matter was initially reported to police on October 30, 1999 after [Appellee's] stepson, Michael Kane, allegedly witnessed [Appellee] engaging in sexual touching of the victim in [Appellee's] bedroom. (Affidavit of Probable Cause, 12/15/16, pp. 1-2) A domestic altercation between [Appellee] and Mr. Kane ensued and the police were called. When interviewed, the alleged victim denied that any sexual touching occurred between her and [Appellee]. (Upland Borough Police 'Incident Report 19991030M1, 10/29/99) The matter remained open "pending further investigation." (Affidavit of Probable Cause, 12/15/16, p.1) On August 22, 2016, the alleged victim contacted police once again to report the incidents of the sexual touching from 1997 through 1999. Charges for the instant action were filed against [Appellee] in response to said report and investigation.
On May 11, 2018, [Appellee] filed a Motion to Admit Evidence of Sexual Conduct Pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. §3104. [Appellant's] basis for said motion was that two of the Commonwealth witnesses, the complainant and [Appellee's] stepson, Michael Kane, had a prior romantic and sexual relationship with each other. Since the two were, and still are, expected to corroborate each other's testimony, and the case is expected to be based on a "he said, she said" type of testimony, evidence of the relationship is relevant to show bias and to attack credibility. The court held an in-camera rape shield hearing on [Appellee's] motion on May 14, 2018 and May 16, 2018. [Appellee] submitted a memorandum in support of his motion and then filed a second memorandum in support of his motion on May 17, 2018. On July 10, 2018, [Appellee] filed a brief in support of his Motion and the Commonwealth submitted a response to the [Appellee's] brief. On August 16, 2018, this court entered an order granting [Appellee's] motion. The Commonwealth filed a Motion for Reconsideration on August 21, 2018, which was denied by order filed August 23, 2018.
On August 28, 2018, the Commonwealth filed [its] Notice of Appeal of the court's August 16, 2018 order pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 313 (Collateral Orders). On September 4, 2018, this court issued an order requiring Appellant to file a Concise Statement of Matters Complained of on Appeal. Appellant filed said Statement on September 19, 2018[.]
118 Pa.C.S. 3126.
218 Pa.C.S. 6301.

Trial Court Opinion, filed 10/26/18.

         In its Concise Statement of Matters Complained of on Appeal, the Commonwealth presented three allegations of trial court error. In its brief, the Commonwealth presents the following question for this Court's review:

Did the trial court commit reversible error in granting [Appellee's] motion to pierce the Rape Shield Statute (18 Pa.C.S. § 3104) by allowing admission of the complainant's alleged, consensual sexual activity with a third party when the alleged other sexual conduct did not show the complainant's bias, motivation to fabricate, lie, or seek retribution or lack of credibility with respect to the allegations of indecent contact between her and [Appellee] nearly 20 years ago when she was under 16 years of age?

Commonwealth's Brief at 5.

         Before we may address the merits of the Commonwealth's issue, we must determine whether we have jurisdiction to entertain this appeal. B.L. v. T.B., 152 A.3d 1014, 1016 (Pa.Super. 2016) (a court may raise question of subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte). As stated previously, this appeal lies from the August 16, 2018, pretrial order granting Appellee's motion in limine to admit evidence of complainant's other sexual conduct with a third party. We recently explained in Commonwealth v. Parker, 173 A.3d 294 (Pa.Super. 2017):

Appellate review of any court order is a jurisdictional question defined by rule or statute. This principle applies to appellate review of a pretrial order. A court may consider the issue of jurisdiction sua sponte. In evaluating our jurisdiction to allow [a party's] appeal, we look to other criminal cases involving appeals of pretrial orders .... In this Commonwealth, an appeal may only be taken from: 1) a final order or one certified by the trial court as final; 2) an interlocutory order as of right; 3) an interlocutory order by permission; or 4) a collateral order.

Id. at 296 (quotation marks and citations omitted).

         A final order is defined as any order that: "(1) disposes of all claims and of all parties; or (3) is entered as a final order pursuant to [Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate Procedure 341(c)]." Pa.R.A.P. 341(b). Instantly, the parties agree that the appeal does not lie from a final order, and the Commonwealth has not included a certification under Rule 311 in its notice of appeal.[1] Instead, the Commonwealth argues the order on appeal implicates the collateral order doctrine under Pa.R.A.P. 313.[2]

         Rule 313, like Rule 311(d), provides an exception to the general rule that an appeal may be taken only from final orders. Rule 313 provides:

(a) General rule. An appeal may be taken as of right from a collateral order of an administrative agency or lower court.
(b) Definition. A collateral order is an order separable from and collateral to the main cause of action where the right involved is too important to be denied review and the question presented is such that if review is postponed until final ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.