from the Judgment of Sentence March 6, 2018 In the Court of
Common Pleas of Montgomery County Criminal Division at No(s):
BEFORE: SHOGAN, J., NICHOLS, J., and STRASSBURGER, J.
Yahya Asaad Muhammed appeals from the judgment of sentence
entered after he pled guilty to criminal
trespass. On appeal, Appellant challenges the trial
court's restitution award. For the reasons that follow,
we vacate and remand for resentencing.
relevant facts giving rise to this appeal are well known to
the parties, and we need not restate them here. Briefly, the
trial court summarized the procedural history of this matter
On March 5, 2018, . . . Appellant[, who was represented by
counsel, ] entered into a negotiated guilty plea to criminal
trespass, a felony of the third degree, and the Commonwealth
nolle prossed the remaining charges.
In accordance with the plea agreement, the [trial court]
sentenced Appellant to 11½ to 23 months in the county
correctional facility, to pay court costs, and to pay the
restitution amount ordered by the [trial c]ourt joint and
several with his co-defendant, Lorna Fretwell. The [trial court]
did not impose a restitution amount at that time.
* * *
On March 12, 2018, the [trial c]ourt held a restitution
hearing.Following the restitution hearing, the
[trial c]ourt ordered Appellant to pay restitution joint and
several with co-defendant, Lorna Fretwell (criminal docket
4631-2017), to the victim in monthly installments as directed
by the Montgomery County Adult Probation and Parole
Department totaling $8, 825.98.
Trial Ct. Op., 6/12/18 at 2-3.
March 20, 2018, the trial court docketed Appellant's
pro se motion seeking arrest of judgment and
withdrawal of his guilty plea. On April 10, 2018, the trial
court docketed Appellant's pro se notice of
appeal, in which he included a statement of errors complained
of on appeal. The trial court denied Appellant's
post-sentence motion on May 22, 2018. Thereafter, the trial court
issued a Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a) opinion asserting that
Appellant's claims were meritless. On August 20, 2018,
this Court issued an order directing Appellant's trial
counsel, Vanessa L. Bellino, Esq., to enter her appearance on
raises one issue on appeal: "Did the [t]rial [c]ourt err
by awarding restitution that is speculative, unsupported by
the record, and does not even relate to the crime for which
[Appellant] pleaded guilty?" Appellant's Brief at 2.
Appellant first argues that "the bulk of the items
contained within the restitution order were not lost or
damaged as a direct result of the crime for which [Appellant]
pleaded guilty." Id. at 15. Second, Appellant
asserts that "the restitution order awarded the victim
more than the cash equivalent of the property lost due to the
crime." Id. at 19. Third, Appellant contends
that the order was "speculative and unsupported by the
record." Id. at 26.
review of Appellant's claims depends on the nature of the
issue being raised. It is well settled that a challenge to
the legality of a sentence raises a question of law.
Commonwealth v. Smith, 956 A.2d 1029, 1033 (Pa.
Super. 2008) (en banc). In reviewing this type of
claim, our standard of review is de novo and our
scope of review is plenary. Commonwealth v. Childs,
63 A.3d 323, 325 (Pa. Super. 2013). "An illegal sentence
must be vacated[.]" Commonwealth v. Ramos, 197
A.3d 766, 769 (Pa. Super. 2018) (citation and quotation marks
omitted). Further, we have explained that "a criminal
defendant cannot agree to an illegal sentence, so the fact
that the illegality was a term of his plea bargain is of no
legal significance." Commonwealth v. Rivera,
154 A.3d 370, 381 (Pa. Super. 2017) (en banc)
(citation and quotation marks omitted), appeal
denied, 169 A.3d 1072 (Pa. 2017). Moreover, "a
challenge to the legality of the sentence can never be waived
and may be raised by this Court sua sponte."
Commonwealth v. Wolfe, 106 A.3d 800, 801 (Pa. Super.
2014) (citation omitted).
contrast, a defendant does not have an absolute right to
pursue a challenge to the discretionary aspects of a
sentence. See Commonwealth v. Lamonda, 52 A.3d 365,
371 (Pa. Super. 2012) (en banc). Rather, before
reaching the merits of such claims, we must determine whether
(1) the appeal is timely; (2) the defendant preserved his
issues; (3) the defendant included a concise statement of
reasons for the discretionary sentence claim in his brief;
and (4) the sentence is inappropriate under the sentencing
code. See Commonwealth v. Corley, 31 A.3d 293, 296
(Pa. Super. 2011) (citation omitted). If a defendant invokes
this Court's jurisdiction to review the discretionary
aspects of a sentence, we review a sentence for an abuse of
discretion. Commonwealth v. Smith, 206 A.3d 551, 567
(Pa. Super. 2019). Section 1106 of the Crimes Code governs
the imposition of restitution as part of a sentence and
provides, in relevant part:
1106. Restitution for injuries to person or property
(a) General rule.-Upon conviction for any
(1) property has been stolen, converted or otherwise
unlawfully obtained, or its value substantially decreased as
a direct result of the crime; or
(2) the victim suffered personal injury directly resulting
from the crime,
the offender shall be sentenced to make restitution in
addition to the punishment prescribed therefor.
* * *
(c) Mandatory restitution.-(1) The court
shall order full restitution:
(i) Regardless of the current financial resources of the
defendant, so as to provide the victim with the fullest