from the Order, April 3, 2017, in the Court of Common Pleas
of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division at No(s):
BEFORE: BOWES, J., KUNSELMAN, J., and FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E.
Dewitt Johnson appeals from the pre-trial order refusing to
dismiss the Commonwealth's charges of possession with
intent to deliver heroin and knowing/intentional possession of
heroin under the compulsory-joinder
rules. For the reasons that follow, we partially
affirm and partially reverse the order.
23, 2015, police stopped Johnson for careless driving and
discovered that he had been driving with a suspended license.
They patted him down and found clear baggies containing
unknown amounts of heroin. The police charged Johnson with
the previously mentioned drug-related charges. He also
received a citation for driving with a suspended license.
Before bringing the drug charges in the Court of Common Pleas
of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth tried and convicted Johnson
of the summary offense in the Philadelphia Municipal Court
the Philadelphia Municipal Court and the Court of Common
Pleas of Philadelphia are both in the First Judicial District
of Pennsylvania, Johnson moved to dismiss the drug charges on
the grounds that, under the General Assembly's statutes,
the Commonwealth needed to try all of his offenses
simultaneously. Johnson asserted the Commonwealth's
failure to do so violated 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 110 and, as a
result, put him in double jeopardy.
this Court's decision in Commonwealth v.
Perfetto, 169 A.3d 1114 (Pa. Super. 2017) (en
banc), the trial court refused to dismiss either of the
drug charges. Perfetto was procedurally similar to
this case. There, police pulled over Perfetto for driving
without headlights at night, issued him a citation, and
arrested him for drunk driving. The Commonwealth tried and
convicted Perfetto in the Traffic Division of the
Philadelphia Municipal Court on the summary offense. The
Commonwealth then attempted to try him for DUI in the trial
court. Perfetto filed a dismissal motion based upon the
trial court dismissed Perfetto's DUI charge under 18
Pa.C.S.A. §110, which bars a subsequent prosecution if:
(1) The former prosecution resulted in an acquittal or in a
conviction . . . and the subsequent prosecution is for:
* * * * *
(ii) any offense based on the same conduct or arising from
the same criminal episode, if such offense was known to the
appropriate prosecuting officer at the time of the
commencement of the first trial and occurred within the
same judicial district as the former prosecution unless
the court ordered a separate trial of the charge of such
offense . . . .
18 Pa.C.S.A. § 110 (emphasis added).
Commonwealth appealed, and this Court reversed the dismissal
of the DUI charge. We held that, despite the plain language
of 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 110 compelling joinder within the same
judicial district, "the jurisdiction of a court remains
a consideration implicit to any compulsory joinder analysis,
and it is particularly important in those judicial districts
that, for various reasons, have distinct minor courts or
magisterial district judges vested with exclusive
jurisdiction over specific matters." Perfetto,
169 A.3d 1121.
upon that holding, the trial court here denied Johnson's
motion to dismiss. It opined that because "Philadelphia
has a traffic court separate from the court of common pleas,
the traffic offense may be disposed of at a prior proceeding
without violating double jeopardy and barring subsequent
prosecution for additional charges." Trial Court
Opinion, 9/18/18, at 4. The trial court's analysis was
entirely correct at the time. However, on April 26, 2019,
while this appeal was pending, the Supreme Court of