Com. v. Monroe

CourtSuperior Court of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtTAMILIA; CAVANAUGH
Citation451 Pa.Super. 197,678 A.2d 1208
PartiesCOMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA v. Samuel MONROE, Appellant.
Decision Date08 August 1996

Page 1208

678 A.2d 1208
451 Pa.Super. 197
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

v.
Samuel MONROE, Appellant.
Superior Court of Pennsylvania.
Submitted March 27, 1996.
Filed May 31, 1996.
Reargument Denied Aug. 8, 1996.

Page 1209

[451 Pa.Super. 198] John W. Packel, Asst. Public Defender, Philadelphia, for Com.

Peter J. Gardner, Asst. Dist. Atty., Philadelphia, for appellant.

Before CAVANAUGH, TAMILIA and MONTEMURO *, JJ.

TAMILIA, Judge.

Samuel Monroe appeals from the February 22, 1995 judgment of sentence imposed following his convictions for theft by unlawful taking, 1 theft by receiving stolen property 2 and conspiracy. 3 On the theft counts, appellant was sentenced to a term of two and one-half (2-1/2) to five (5) years' imprisonment and on the conspiracy count, appellant was sentenced to a consecutive term of one (1) to two (2) years' imprisonment.

At the nonjury trial, appellant and the victim offered dramatically different accounts of the events underlying this case. Our resolution of the issue presented requires a lengthy review of these differing accounts:

. . . . .

[451 Pa.Super. 199] On March 25, 1994 at approximately 11:45 a.m. the complainant, Merari Rodriquez entered the Gallery Shopping Center, (Gallery) located at Eighth and Market Streets, in the City and County of Philadelphia. As she entered the Gallery, the complainant testified that she was approached by a male, later identified as the defendant, Samuel Monroe. It is Rodriquez's testimony that as she entered the Gallery, two men and a lady were coming toward her when the defendant grabbed her and put his arms around her shoulder and told her to keep walking, shut up, and act like she was his friend. At this point, she also felt something in her stomach but she did not know what it was. As the complainant and the defendant walked the other male and female walked alongside of them. (N.T. 12/6/94 pp. 19-22).

The complainant stated that as they exited the Gallery they walked down Market Street toward 7th Street because the defendant asked for her MAC card and told her that they were going to her bank, which was the Mellon Bank. As they walked toward the bank Rodriquez stated that she believed that the defendant had a gun. Upon entering the bank the defendant asked the complainant to enter her pin number. As he stood beside her the other male and female stood in the corner of the lobby of the bank. (N.T. 12/6/94 pp. 23-26).

Rodriquez testified that when the defendant asked for the pin number she told him that all she had was $50.00. Initially, she entered the wrong pin number because she did not want to give the defendant the $50.00. She subsequently entered the correct pin number. After giving the defendant the money they left the bank and then went to a nearby McDonald's restaurant. The complainant testified that she followed the defendant to McDonald's because she believed that he had a gun. (N.T. 12/6/94 pp. 26-29).

After entering the McDonald's they sat at a table when the defendant again asked for her MAC card. At his request, the complainant gave the defendant her MAC card. The defendant also asked the complainant for additional money she had on her person and the gold chain she was [451 Pa.Super. 200] wearing. She testified she gave Monroe $40.00 that she had in her pocket but refused to give him her gold chain. At this point she saw what she believed to be the handle of the defendant's gun, as he reached inside his clothing. (N.T. 12/6/94 pp. 30-34).

Page 1210

Afterwards, the defendant and his friends stood up, the defendant handed the complainant a dollar bill and told her to get herself a soda. As the complainant complied with the defendant's demand, the defendant and his friends left the restaurant. Subsequently, Rodriquez also left the McDonald's and went to her job (which was just two blocks away) spoke with the bank manager and stated, she had just got robbed and mugged. The police were then called. (N.T. 12/6/94 pp. 34-35). She met with Detective Arnaldo Puenti.

Conversely, the defendant asserts that the complainant was not robbed or mugged. Instead, Monroe contends that he did approach the complainant as she entered the Gallery. However, when he approached Rodriquez he handed her a small note which read, "African Housing Church of Praises, Reverend John Doe, pay advance $200.00." The defendant testified that the purpose of the note was to scam the complainant. He explained that he told Rodriquez in an [A]frican dialect that he was from Johannesburg, South Africa, lost and had met a black male at the bus station and paid him $200 in advance to show him a place stay [sic]. As he walked around, however, he could not find any assistance. (N.T. 12/6/94 pp. 79-81).

After explaining his predicament the defendant sought the complainant's assistance. She agreed to assist the defendant. The defendant asserts that he picked the complainant because she looked gullible and wore her MAC card around her neck. The complainant indicated that she had never heard of the place for which Monroe was looking. As they stood discussing how to acquire some help, the defendant suggested that the complainant ask a Black male and female who were walking past. The couple stated that they did not know where this place was either. According [451 Pa.Super. 201] to the defendant, these two people were friends of his and part of the scam.

Suddenly, Monroe pulled out what appeared to be a large sum of money. This was actually U.S. Currency wrapped around newspaper. The couple exclaimed to him to put the money away, as did Rodriquez. The defendant then offered to pay Rodriquez and the couple $50.00 if they would give him five minutes of help. They all agreed to help. (N.T. 12/6/94 pp. 81-83).

The male recommended to the complainant that they take Monroe to the "Mother Bishop Homes," which is affiliated with the "NAACW," which helps foreigners coming into this country. They told her the Mother Bishop Homes were located between eighth and ninth on Market Street. An exchange transpired about being able to tell good people from bad people, the importance of having identification, and explaining the process of a banking institution to avoid carrying around such a large sum of money. As Monroe's male compatriot explained the banking process, Monroe asked to see a bank card, and asked the complainant to show him a bank card. She complied by pulling her card out. After an additional exchange about easing Monroe's fears of being manipulated, Rodriquez agreed that she would go to her bank and withdraw some money to show that she was honest and to further explain the banking process. As they reached her bank, Monroe said to the complainant, "I do not want you to try to deceive me as the first man did. Can you please take my finger and show me how you do the magical trick?" It's Monroe's testimony that the complainant took his fingers and pointed to the numbers. Initially, she placed the wrong number in because she was nervous. She then entered the correct pin number and got $50.00 out of her checking account. (N.T. 12/6/94 pp. 83-88, 99-100).

Monroe testified that he told Rodriquez that she should put her money in her pocketbook and then suggested that they walk to McDonald's so they could sit down. While at McDonald's, a discussion ensued about getting Monroe to [451 Pa.Super. 202] where he is trying to go and whether he had any luggage. Monroe stated that his green card and immigration papers were at the Greyhound Bus Station, however, he was afraid to return to the bus station by himself for fear of being robbed again. The male then agreed to accompany Monroe back to the bus station. Monroe then agreed to pay Rodriquez $200.00 for sitting down and helping him. (N.T. 12/6/94 pp. 88-90).

Page 1211

Monroe took out a handkerchief, placed his money inside the handkerchief and handed it to Rodriquez. After giving her the money, Monroe asked the complainant to wait for them to return whereupon she stated, "go ahead, do the best you can, I will be here, do not worry about it." Monroe took a couple of steps then sat back down, expressing his uncomfortability about having her hold his money. He then asked for his money back and for her to place her money ($50.00 that she took out of the bank and the $40.00 in her pocket) side by side with his money. The defendant also asked for her gold chain but Rodriquez indicated she did not wish to give him her chain. Instead, of pressing her for the gold chain, he asked for her MAC card which she also put inside of the handkerchief. He then put his hand inside of his jacket, placed the handkerchief with the money and card inside and came out with an identical handkerchief. However, the other...

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6 practice notes
  • Ibarra v. State, No. 69617
    • United States
    • Nevada Court of Appeals of Nevada
    • November 8, 2016
    ...because the victim "voluntarily handed $20 to the defendant hoping to receive two 'dimes' of cocaine in return"); Commonwealth v. Monroe, 678 A.2d 1208, 1210-14 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1996) (holding that a handkerchief scheme similar to that discussed in Harrison did not constitute a taking from t......
  • Com. v. Shamberger
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • December 7, 2001
    ...to the only two prior published cases from this Court to consider the import of the statutory language: Commonwealth v. Monroe, 451 Pa.Super. 197, 678 A.2d 1208 (1996) and Commonwealth v. Williams, 389 Pa.Super. 489, 567 A.2d 709 ¶ 27 In Williams, this Court determined that the theft of a w......
  • Adams v. Kyler, Civil Action No. 01-0627 (E.D. Pa. 8/15/2002), Civil Action No. 01-0627.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • August 15, 2002
    ...requirements of Rule 1925(b); failure to file a Rule 1925(b) statement no longer resulted in a waiver. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Monroe, 678 A.2d 1208 (Pa. Super. 1996) (excusing failure to file Rule 1925(b) statement because of Rule 1410 and because the record adequately preserved issues ......
  • Commonwealth Of Pa. v. Williams
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • June 21, 2010
    ...an offender on a final guilt-without-punishment sentence after the period for altering or modifying the sentence has expired. See Smith, 678 A.2d at 1208. Accordingly, we conclude that the trial court committed an error of law in imposing the Contested Sentences.8 ¶ 14 Based upon the forego......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • Ibarra v. State, No. 69617
    • United States
    • Nevada Court of Appeals of Nevada
    • November 8, 2016
    ...because the victim "voluntarily handed $20 to the defendant hoping to receive two 'dimes' of cocaine in return"); Commonwealth v. Monroe, 678 A.2d 1208, 1210-14 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1996) (holding that a handkerchief scheme similar to that discussed in Harrison did not constitute a taking from t......
  • Com. v. Shamberger
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • December 7, 2001
    ...to the only two prior published cases from this Court to consider the import of the statutory language: Commonwealth v. Monroe, 451 Pa.Super. 197, 678 A.2d 1208 (1996) and Commonwealth v. Williams, 389 Pa.Super. 489, 567 A.2d 709 ¶ 27 In Williams, this Court determined that the theft of a w......
  • Adams v. Kyler, Civil Action No. 01-0627 (E.D. Pa. 8/15/2002), Civil Action No. 01-0627.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • August 15, 2002
    ...requirements of Rule 1925(b); failure to file a Rule 1925(b) statement no longer resulted in a waiver. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Monroe, 678 A.2d 1208 (Pa. Super. 1996) (excusing failure to file Rule 1925(b) statement because of Rule 1410 and because the record adequately preserved issues ......
  • Commonwealth Of Pa. v. Williams
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • June 21, 2010
    ...an offender on a final guilt-without-punishment sentence after the period for altering or modifying the sentence has expired. See Smith, 678 A.2d at 1208. Accordingly, we conclude that the trial court committed an error of law in imposing the Contested Sentences.8 ¶ 14 Based upon the forego......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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