Com. v. Lyles

CourtSuperior Court of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtROWLEY; SPAETH; SPAETH
PartiesCOMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellant, v. Earl LYLES.
Decision Date12 July 1983

Page 1237

461 A.2d 1237
315 Pa.Super. 194
COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellant,
v.
Earl LYLES.
Superior Court of Pennsylvania.
Argued May 3, 1982.
Filed April 29, 1983.
Reargument Denied July 12, 1983.

Page 1238

[315 Pa.Super. 197] Joseph W. Carroll, III, Asst. Dist. Atty., West Chester, for Commonwealth, appellant.

Dennis D. Brogan, West Chester, for appellee.

Before SPAETH, ROWLEY and CIRILLO, JJ.

ROWLEY, Judge:

This is an appeal by the Commonwealth from an Order granting appellee's Motion in Arrest of Judgment on the ground that the Commonwealth had violated Pa.R.Crim.P. 1100.

Page 1239

On June 24, 1977, a criminal complaint was filed in Chester County against appellee charging him with robbery, criminal conspiracy, theft, receiving stolen property, recklessly endangering another, terroristic threats, and unlawful restraint. Appellee was arrested on June 28, 1977. A preliminary hearing was held on July 22, 1977, at which appellee was granted bail and given written notice of his arraignment scheduled for August 29, 1977. 1 Appellee [315 Pa.Super. 198] failed to appear for arraignment and a bench warrant was subsequently issued on September 12, 1977. On November 2, 1977, appellee was hospitalized at St. Luke's Hospital in Philadelphia with serious injuries as a result of a "shoot-out" with the Philadelphia police. On December 8, 1977, the Commonwealth filed a Petition to Extend the time for trial. The petition was unopposed by appellee. On February 22, 1978, a ninety (90) day extension was granted to the Commonwealth. On May 3, 1978, appellee was transferred from St. Luke's Hospital to the Graterford Prison Medical Unit in Montgomery County. On May 17, 1978, the Commonwealth filed a second Petition to Extend the time for trial. On August 17, 1978, after an evidentiary hearing, the Commonwealth's second petition was granted and the time for trial was extended to August 28, 1978. This second extension is the subject of this appeal. Trial began on August 28, 1978. Appellee was convicted of two counts of robbery. Post-trial motions resulted in the granting of appellee's Motion in Arrest in Judgment by the court en banc. This appeal followed.

Four issues, as stated by the Commonwealth, are raised on appeal: 1) Whether appellee waived his right to raise the Rule 1100 issue?; 2) Whether the Commonwealth must establish that it exercised due diligence in attempting to execute a bench warrant in order to qualify for exclusion of time under Rule 1100?; 3) Whether the court en banc may make findings of fact contrary to that of the hearing court? and 4) Whether the Commonwealth has exercised due diligence[315 Pa.Super. 199] when it tries a defendant within the time period of Rule 1100 as extended?

The Commonwealth first argues that appellee waived the Rule 1100 issue by failing to file a Motion to Dismiss prior to trial. It is undisputed that appellee opposed the second Petition to Extend, consequently, the issue has been preserved for appellate review. Commonwealth v. Coleman, 477 Pa. 400, 383 A.2d 1268 (1978).

The Commonwealth's next three arguments deal with whether it exercised due diligence so as to justify the extension granted on August 17, 1978.

In reviewing an alleged Rule 1100 violation, all periods of delay beyond the prescribed period of 180 days must be either excluded from the computation or justified by an order granting an extension, pursuant to the terms of the rule, if the Commonwealth is to prevail. Commonwealth v.

Page 1240

Hoffman, 255 Pa.Super. 66, 386 A.2d 138 (1978). The trial court found a total of 248 days to be excludable: they are the sixty-five (65) day period from August 29, 1977 until November 2, 1977 when appellee was a fugitive, and the 183 day period from November 2, 1977 until May 3, 1978 during which appellee was hospitalized. 2 The trial court concluded, however, that even excluding the 248 days, appellee was brought to trial after the Rule 1100 period had expired. The court calculated that 431 days had elapsed between June 24, 1977 and August 28, 1978. Therefore, subtracting the 248 days excludable time from the 431 days, the court concluded that appellee was brought to trial 183 days after the complaint was filed. Consequently, the court went on to determine whether the Commonwealth had exercised due diligence in attempting to bring appellee to trial so as to [315 Pa.Super. 200] justify the extension of the date for commencement of trial to August 28, 1978. The trial court concluded that the Commonwealth had not exercised due diligence and granted appellee's Motion in Arrest of Judgment.

We agree with the trial court that the sixty-five (65) day period from August 29, 1977 until November 2, 1977 when appellee was a fugitive, and the 183 day period from November 2, 1977 until May 3, 1978, during which appellee was hospitalized, were properly excluded. 3 Nevertheless, because our calculation of the time which elapsed between the filing of the complaint and the date of trial differs from that of the trial court, we have found no Rule 1100 violation and, therefore, reverse and remand for further proceedings.

With respect to the two excludable periods of time, we note that Rule 1100(d), pertaining to "exclusions" for periods of delay attributable to the accused or his attorney, has been held to require proof of "due diligence in order for the Commonwealth to avail itself of [the] exclusion[s]." Commonwealth v. Mitchell, 472 Pa. 553, 561, 372 A.2d 826, 830 (1977). Under Commonwealth v. Cohen, 481 Pa. 349, 356, 392 A.2d 1327, 1331 (1978), however," a defendant on bail who fails to appear at a court proceeding, of which he has been properly notified, is unavailable from the time of that proceeding until he is subsequently apprehended or until he voluntarily surrenders himself." (Emphasis added). [315 Pa.Super. 201] In such a situation, "the concept of due diligence ... is misplaced in a speedy trial analysis." Id. at 355, 392 A.2d at 1331. Consequently, in the case at hand, the sixty-five (65) day period from August 29, 1977 until November 2, 1977 when appellee was a fugitive, was, under Cohen, properly excluded. A due diligence inquiry during that period of time would be "misplaced."

As for the 183 day period of appellee's hospitalization which extended from November 2, 1977 until May 3, 1978, such a period is excludable so long as the Commonwealth was "satisfied ... that [appellee]

Page 1241

was seriously ill and hospitalized." Commonwealth v. Haynes, 245 Pa.Super. 17, 21, 369 A.2d 271, 273 (1976). The Commonwealth knew that appellee had been seriously injured on November 2, 1977, in an incident involving the police which had left him with some form of paralysis. Two attempts to list appellant's case in December of 1977 and January of 1978 were striken because appellee was still hospitalized. The Commonwealth explained its understanding of the magnitude of appellee's injuries and his resulting unavailability at the February 22, 1978, hearing on its first Petition to Extend. At that hearing the attorney for the Commonwealth stated:

MISS TROIANI: Your honor, Mr. Lyles is in the hospital and it seems that he will be there for a number of months. He was shot by Philadelphia police, and, therefore, we would ask for an extension possibly until this summer because it doesn't look like he is going to be available for quite awhile.

It is obvious from that statement that the information the Commonwealth had concerning the nature of appellee's injuries led it to believe that appellee would be unavailable for trial while he was hospitalized. That belief was left unchallenged by counsel for appellee. "Due diligence" being a relative concept which varies with the circumstances of each particular case, it is our conclusion that, under the circumstances of this case, the Commonwealth exercised due diligence so as to avail itself of the 183 day period of exclusion. We are satisfied that the record shows that the [315 Pa.Super. 202] Commonwealth took measures to ascertain that appellee, who was injured as a result of his own criminal conduct, "was seriously ill and hospitalized," Haynes, supra, and that the Commonwealth was justified in concluding that the extent and nature of appellee's injuries was such as to render him unavailable for trial during his period of hospitalization. Consequently, this 183 day period when added to the sixty-five day period noted above produced 248 days of excludable time.

Contrary to the calculations of the trial court, we have determined that 430 days elapsed between the filing of the complaint and date of trial, since the first day of the period is excluded from the computation. 4 1 Pa.C.S.A. § 1908; Pa.R.Crim.P. 2; Commonwealth v. Wade, 475 Pa. 399, 380 A.2d 782 (1977). Thus, excluding a total of 248 days, the operative date for commencement of trial under Rule 1100 was extended by that number of days, placing the run date at August 26, 1978. However, August 26, 1978 was a Saturday. Under the Rules of Statutory Construction, Saturday, August 26 and Sunday, August 27 are excluded from our computation. 1 Pa.C.S.A. § 1908. Therefore, the run date in this case was actually August 28, 1978, the date of trial. Since by our calculations appellee was brought to trial in accordance with the provisions of [315 Pa.Super. 203] Rule 1100, we hold that the trial court erred in concluding that Rule 1100 had been violated. 5

In his Motion in Arrest of Judgment, appellee also questioned the sufficiency of the evidence. This issue was not addressed by the trial court, nor was it raised on appeal by the Commonwealth. On remand,

Page 1242

the question of whether the evidence presented was sufficient to convict appellee must be disposed of by the trial court before sentencing.

Order reversed and case remanded for further proceedings.

Jurisdiction is relinquished.

SPAETH, J., files a dissenting opinion.

SPAETH, Judge, dissenting:

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5 practice notes
  • Com. v. Kostra, No. 1281
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • December 31, 1985
    ...the trial court's extension order. Commonwealth v. Coleman, 477 Pa. 400, 408, 383 A.2d 1268, 1271-1272 (1978); Commonwealth v. Lyles, 315 Pa.Super. 194, 199, 461 A.2d 1237, 1239 When reviewing a trial court's Rule 1100 order, this Court examines the evidence presented by the Commonwealth an......
  • Com. v. Haynes
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • March 18, 1985
    ...due diligence to locate a defendant." 317 Pa.Super. at 421, 464 A.2d at 392-93 (emphasis added). See also Commonwealth v. Lyles, 315 Pa.Super. 194, 461 A.2d 1237 (1983); Commonwealth v. Ressler, 308 Pa.Super. 438, 454 A.2d 615 (1982) ("[I]t is not the intention of Rule [339 Pa.Super. 175] 1......
  • Com. v. Fisher
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • October 12, 1984
    ...and excluded from the Rule 1100 computation. Commonwealth v. Winn, --- Pa.Super. ---, 475 A.2d 805 (1984); Commonwealth v. Lyles, 315 Pa.Super. 194, 461 A.2d 1237 (1983). Thus the 180 days the Commonwealth had to bring Fisher to trial did not begin to run until November 11, Page 539 [334 Pa......
  • Commonwealth v. Radogna
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • August 12, 1983
    ...that the authorities were diligent in their search. Commonwealth v. Polsky, 493 Pa. 402, 426 A.2d 610 (1981); Commonwealth v. Lyles, 315 Pa.Super. 194, 461 A.2d 1237 (1983). Counsel for appellant during the pre-trial proceedings stipulated that the police had been duly diligent in their sea......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • Com. v. Kostra, No. 1281
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • December 31, 1985
    ...the trial court's extension order. Commonwealth v. Coleman, 477 Pa. 400, 408, 383 A.2d 1268, 1271-1272 (1978); Commonwealth v. Lyles, 315 Pa.Super. 194, 199, 461 A.2d 1237, 1239 When reviewing a trial court's Rule 1100 order, this Court examines the evidence presented by the Commonwealth an......
  • Com. v. Haynes
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • March 18, 1985
    ...due diligence to locate a defendant." 317 Pa.Super. at 421, 464 A.2d at 392-93 (emphasis added). See also Commonwealth v. Lyles, 315 Pa.Super. 194, 461 A.2d 1237 (1983); Commonwealth v. Ressler, 308 Pa.Super. 438, 454 A.2d 615 (1982) ("[I]t is not the intention of Rule [339 Pa.Super. 175] 1......
  • Com. v. Fisher
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • October 12, 1984
    ...and excluded from the Rule 1100 computation. Commonwealth v. Winn, --- Pa.Super. ---, 475 A.2d 805 (1984); Commonwealth v. Lyles, 315 Pa.Super. 194, 461 A.2d 1237 (1983). Thus the 180 days the Commonwealth had to bring Fisher to trial did not begin to run until November 11, Page 539 [334 Pa......
  • Commonwealth v. Radogna
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • August 12, 1983
    ...that the authorities were diligent in their search. Commonwealth v. Polsky, 493 Pa. 402, 426 A.2d 610 (1981); Commonwealth v. Lyles, 315 Pa.Super. 194, 461 A.2d 1237 (1983). Counsel for appellant during the pre-trial proceedings stipulated that the police had been duly diligent in their sea......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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