IN RE: SHELDON ARRINGTON APPEAL OF: SHELDON ARRINGTON
from the Judgment of Sentence Entered May 10, 2018 In the
Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County Criminal Division
at No(s): CP-02-MD-0001985-2018
BEFORE: BENDER, P.J.E., DUBOW, J., and FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E.
Sheldon Arrington, appeals from the Judgment of Sentence that
the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas entered after the
court issued an Order finding him in Contempt of Court.
Appellant challenges the sufficiency of evidence and the
discretionary aspects of his sentence. After careful review,
glean the following factual and procedural history from the
certified record. The use of cellphones in courtrooms of the
Allegheny County Courthouse is prohibited by Order of the
Court. Notice of this prohibition is on numerous signs at the
April 13, 2018, Appellant, an Allegheny County juvenile court
probation officer with a 19-year tenure, was sitting in the
front row of the general seating area of the courtroom,
waiting to testify as a witness in a hearing to transfer a
matter to juvenile court. After the trial judge took the
bench, the court crier called the case and the sheriff left
the courtroom to escort the defendant into the hearing. While
waiting for the sheriff to return, the judge observed
Appellant texting on his cellphone and asked Appellant to put
his cellphone away. Appellant looked around the courtroom,
responded, "there's nothing going on in here,"
stated that he had an "emergency," and continued to
use his cellphone. The trial court then ordered Appellant to
leave the courtroom. Appellant left not only the courtroom
but also the courthouse.
defendant's counsel was then unable to contact Appellant
to return to the courtroom to testify on the defendant's
behalf. Concerned that Appellant's conduct might impact
the court's determination of Appellant's credibility,
the defendant's counsel requested that the judge recuse
himself from the matter. The judge recused himself. The court
then sent the case to the court administrator for
trial court then issued a Rule to Show Cause upon Appellant
to show cause why the court should not hold him in contempt
of court. At the hearing, Appellant apologized for his
conduct. He did not present any other evidence.
trial court found Appellant guilty of criminal contempt for
using his cellphone in the courtroom and imposed a sentence
of ten days of incarceration. After Appellant filed a Motion
for Reconsideration, the trial court modified the sentence to
a term of five to ten days of incarceration.
filed a timely Notice of Appeal. Appellant and the trial
court complied with Pa.R.A.P. 1925.
presents the following issues for our review:
1. Was the evidence sufficient to support the lower
court's finding of contempt, specifically, did the
evidence support a finding that Appellant intended to disrupt
2. Did the lower court abuse its discretion in imposing a
sentence of incarceration upon Appellant for using a
cellphone in court when no active proceedings were ongoing
and then offering a verbal protest to the court which was not
loud, violent or belligerent, and ...