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Commonwealth v. Dejarnette

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

September 6, 2019

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
RASHAN LEMAR DEJARNETTE, Appellant

          Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence Entered July 31, 2018 In the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-23-CR-0005645-2017

          BEFORE: BENDER, P.J.E., LAZARUS, J., and FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E.

          OPINION

          BENDER, P.J.E.

         Appellant, Rashan Lemar Dejarnette, appeals from the judgment of sentence of an aggregate term of 5 to 10 years' incarceration, followed by 4 years' probation, imposed after he was convicted of several offenses under 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111 (sale or transfer of firearms). Appellant raises two challenges to the legality of the court's imposition of mandatory-minimum sentences under section 6111(h). After careful review, we affirm.

         We need not reproduce the trial court's detailed recitation of the facts of Appellant's case for purposes of this appeal. See Trial Court Opinion (TCO), 1/25/19, at 1-9. We only briefly note that the evidence presented at Appellant's trial demonstrated that he went to a gun show with several companions and made "straw purchases" of two firearms for an individual who is not legally permitted to possess a gun. For these acts, Appellant was convicted, following a jury trial on June 13, 2018, of two counts each of the following offenses: making materially false written statements, 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(g)(4)(ii); firearm ownership - duty of other persons, 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(c); tampering with public records, 18 Pa.C.S. § 4911(a)(1); and false reports to law enforcement, 18 Pa.C.S. § 4906(b)(1). The jury also found Appellant guilty of six counts of criminal conspiracy, 18 Pa.C.S. § 903.

         On July 31, 2018, the court conducted Appellant's sentencing hearing, at the close of which it imposed three mandatory-minimum, five-year terms of incarceration pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(h) for Appellant's two counts of making materially false written statements, and one count of firearm ownership - duty of other persons. The court also sentenced Appellant to an aggregate, consecutive term of four years' probation for his remaining convictions. Appellant filed a timely post-sentence motion, which the court denied after a hearing. He then filed a timely notice of appeal, and he also complied with the trial court's order to file a Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) concise statement of errors complained of on appeal. The court filed its Rule 1925(a) opinion on January 25, 2019.

         Herein, Appellant presents two issues for our review:

I) Whether the mandatory sentences imposed pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(h) for counts seventeen, eighteen, and twenty are illegal since there is insufficient evidence of record to conclude the [C]ommonwealth provided Appellant with reasonable notice, prior to trial, of its intent to pursue these enlarged penalties?
II) Whether the mandatory second-degree felony sentences imposed pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(h) for counts seventeen, eighteen, and twenty are illegal since the [C]ommonwealth failed to charge this provision, indicate its increased grading, or specify its triggering facts in the information?

         Appellant's Brief at 6 (emphasis omitted).

         Both of Appellant's issues challenge the legality of the five-year, mandatory-minimum sentences imposed by the trial court pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(h). That provision states:

(h) Subsequent violation penalty.--
(1) A second or subsequent violation of this section shall be a felony of the second degree. A person who at the time of sentencing has been convicted of another offense under this section shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum sentence of imprisonment of five years. A second or subsequent offense shall also result in permanent revocation of any license to sell, import or manufacture a firearm.
(2) Notice of the applicability of this subsection to the defendant and reasonable notice of the Commonwealth's intention to proceed under this section shall be provided prior to trial. The applicability of this section shall be determined at sentencing. The court shall consider evidence presented at trial, shall afford the Commonwealth and the defendant an opportunity to present necessary ...

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