Com. v. Reid

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtCAPPY; NIX; LARSEN; FLAHERTY; MONTEMURO; FLAHERTY
Citation537 Pa. 167,642 A.2d 453
Decision Date24 May 1994
PartiesCOMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellee, v. Anthony REID, Appellant.

Page 453

642 A.2d 453
537 Pa. 167
COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellee,
v.
Anthony REID, Appellant.
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
Argued Dec. 8, 1992.
Decided May 24, 1994.

Page 455

[537 Pa. 170] Samuel C. Stretton, West Chester, for appellant.

Ronald Eisenberg, Deputy Dist. Atty., Catherine Marshall, Chief, Appeals Div., Hugh J. Burns, Jr., Philadelphia, Robert A. Graci, Chief Deputy Atty. Gen., for appellee.

[537 Pa. 171] Before LARSEN, FLAHERTY, ZAPPALA, PAPADAKOS, CAPPY and MONTEMURO, JJ.

OPINION OF THE COURT

CAPPY, Justice:

We have before us an automatic direct appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of death and consecutive terms of imprisonment imposed upon Appellant, Anthony Reid, by the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County. 1 Sentence was imposed following the jury's verdict that Appellant had, beyond a reasonable doubt, committed murder of the first degree, carried a firearm without a license, and possessed an instrument of crime. On the record before us, we affirm the judgments of sentence imposed by the Court of

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Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division.

In December 1989, Appellant was initially brought to trial on all of the charges made against him in connection with the death of a young man named Mark Lisby. The jury in that trial found Appellant guilty of criminal conspiracy, 2 but was unable to reach a verdict on the remaining charges. On retrial, Appellant was convicted of murder of the first degree, 3 carrying a firearm without a license, 4 and possessing an instrument of crime. 5 A separate penalty hearing was held regarding the murder conviction. The jury found one aggravating circumstance, 6 and no mitigating circumstances, and fixed Appellant's penalty at death. Appellant was immediately sentenced to death by the trial court, 7 and sentencing on the remaining counts was deferred pending the receipt of post-trial [537 Pa. 172] motions, which were subsequently filed, argued and denied.

Thereafter, Appellant was sentenced to two and one-half to five years imprisonment on the possession of an instrument of crime count, and two and one-half to five years imprisonment on the carrying a firearm without a license count, both to run consecutive to each other and the sentence of death. In addition, Appellant was sentenced to five to ten years imprisonment on the criminal conspiracy count, consecutive to all other sentences, based upon his conviction of that offense at his earlier trial on December 9, 1989. It is the judgment of sentence imposed for criminal conspiracy at Appellant's first trial, together with the judgments of sentence imposed on retrial of the remaining charges, that are currently before this Court.

As in all cases where we affirm the judgment of sentence of death, this Court must conduct an independent review of the sufficiency of the evidence on the charge of murder in the first degree without regard to whether the Appellant has challenged his convictions on that ground. Commonwealth v. Zettlemoyer, 500 Pa. 16, 26-27 n. 3, 454 A.2d 937, 942 n. 3 (1982), cert. denied, 461 U.S. 970, 103 S.Ct. 2444, 77 L.Ed.2d 1327 (1983), reh'g denied, 463 U.S. 1236, 104 S.Ct. 31, 77 L.Ed.2d 1452 (1983). The test for establishing sufficiency is whether the evidence, and all reasonable inferences deducible therefrom, viewed in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth as verdict-winner, are sufficient to establish all the elements of the offenses beyond a reasonable doubt. Commonwealth v. Rhodes, 510 Pa. 537, 510 A.2d 1217 (1986). The evidence presented by the Commonwealth clearly satisfies this test. A synopsis of the case sub judice, as competently described by the trial court, is essentially as follows.

On July 9, 1988, Mark Lisby, the victim, took approximately Five-Hundred Dollars worth of "caps" (cocaine capsules) from his nephew Terrance Lisby. The next day, Mark Lisby informed Terrance Lisby that he had used the "caps" and did [537 Pa. 173] not have the money to pay him. Terrance Lisby worked for Lawrence Boston, and both of these men were attempting to obtain membership in the Junior Black Mafia ("JBM"). Lawrence Boston and Terrance Lisby were working for Kevin Bowman, who was a member of the JBM. Once Mark Lisby realized that Kevin Bowman would be angry about the missing drugs, he met with Kevin Bowman to explain the situation and offered to replace the lost income the following week.

On or about July 11, 1988, Lawrence Boston, who had not been paid, appeared at the doorway of the Lisby household located at 2444 North Stanley Street in Philadelphia. He was accompanied by the Appellant, Anthony "Tone Bey" Reid, who was a member of the JBM. After a brief conversation, Mark Lisby, Appellant and Lawrence Boston left the house and began walking west on Cumberland Street. As the three men approached the intersection of Cumberland

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Street and 31st Street, Appellant, Anthony Reid, shot Mark Lisby once in the center of his chest, once in the upper right chest just beneath the collar bone, and once in the back of his right leg. Mark Lisby died as a result of these gunshot wounds.

Through appellate counsel, Appellant asserts numerous claims of error and prejudice during his trial. We will address these claims seriatim.

First, Appellant claims that the trial court committed a constitutional violation, an error of law, or abused its discretion by precluding Appellant from utilizing county funds to obtain a particular psychologist as a mitigation expert in the penalty phase of his trial.

The record reveals that Appellant was provided with psychological examinations and adjudged competent to stand trial. Upon his conviction of murder in the first degree, he sought to present the testimony of Dr. Gerald Cook during the penalty phase of his trial for purposes of mitigation. Dr. Cook's fee for testifying would have been $1,000. The trial court determined that Appellant did not have a constitutional right to choose a particular psychiatric advocate, and offered Appellant an opportunity to be examined by a neutral court-appointed [537 Pa. 174] psychiatrist. See Ake v. Oklahoma, 470 U.S. 68, 105 S.Ct. 1087, 84 L.Ed.2d 53 (1985). The trial court had access to other psychiatrists who were employed by the city on contract from Temple University Hospital, and who were available to perform the examination. Appellant refused this offer.

We perceive no constitutional violation, error of law, or abuse of discretion in the trial court's decision in this instance. The trial court did not preclude Appellant from being examined by a psychologist for purposes of mitigation. It merely precluded the excessive use of public funds for Appellant to hire his own particular psychologist. Under these circumstances, Appellant's constitutional rights were not violated, and the interest of an accurate disposition was preserved. Id.

Second, Appellant claims that the trial court committed a constitutional violation, an error of law, or abused its discretion by informing the jury, that under the law of this Commonwealth, a minor reaches majority upon attaining the age of 18 years, and that the United States Supreme Court has upheld a sentence of death for defendants as young as age sixteen.

Appellant was twenty years of age when he killed Mark Lisby. The record reveals that Appellant's age was presented to the jury as a mitigating circumstance during the penalty phase in accordance with 42 Pa.C.S. § 9711(e)(4), and that the trial court provided sufficient instructions to the jury concerning its ability to find this particular mitigating circumstance and its duties with regard to mitigating circumstances generally. Nevertheless, Appellant claims that the trial court erred when it further charged the jury concerning the mitigating circumstance of Appellant's age as follows:

Now, the legislature did not tell us, did not spell out when the age will be a deterrent to the death penalty. They leave that to you. All that I can tell you is that one becomes an adult at the age of 18. And all I could further tell you, that our United States Supreme Court has upheld the death penalty in juveniles as young as 16. But that should not guide you necessarily in this case. It is for you to decide [537 Pa. 175] whether a person is too young or too old for imposing the death penalty. That's for you and you alone to decide....

It was brought to my attention that somehow when I speak about age of the Defendant that I am somehow telling you what you are to do about that. I am not telling you what to do about that. It is for you to decide whether this Defendant at the age of 20 is a mitigating factor. Regardless of what the Courts have decided or regardless of when one becomes an adult. It is the same thing when one becomes a senior citizen at 65 or something like that, they say that's when you become a senior citizen. Well, that is for you to decide whether that is a mitigating factor. And only you can decide that. If you decide that 20 is a mitigating factor, you have an absolute right to do that, you could consider that. I was just giving you examples as to what may be when one

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reaches adulthood, and possibly when one reaches senior status. But that is for you to decide. You decide whether that is important. Okay?

N.T. 1/10/91, pp. 8.90, 8.98.

We conclude that nothing contained in this disputed portion of the trial court's instructions amounts to a constitutional violation, an error of law, or an abuse of discretion by the trial court. The trial court has discretion in phrasing its instructions to the jury, and is not limited to particular language, provided the law is clearly, adequately, and accurately presented to the jury. Commonwealth v. Prosdocimo, 525 Pa. 147, 578 A.2d 1273 (1990); Commonwealth v. Ohle, 503 Pa. 566, 470 A.2d 61 (1983). The charge with regard to mitigating circumstances, when read as a whole, clearly, adequately, and accurately presented to the...

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153 practice notes
  • Commonwealth of Pa. v. Jette
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • 22 Junio 2011
    ...the appellant, is in contravention of this Court's long-standing policy that precludes hybrid representation. Commonwealth v. Reid, 537 Pa. 167, 642 A.2d 453, 462 (1994), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 904, 115 S.Ct. 268, 130 L.Ed.2d 186 (1994) (“[A]ppellants in criminal cases possess no constituti......
  • Richardson v. Superintendent Coal Twp. Sci, No. 15-4105
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 2 Octubre 2018
    ...to consider pro se pleadings filed by parties who are represented by counsel (so-called "hybrid representation"). Commonwealth v. Reid , 537 Pa. 167, 642 A.2d 453, 462 (1994) ; Commonwealth v. Ellis , 534 Pa. 176, 626 A.2d 1137, 1140 (1993).Brendza abandoned Richardson's sentencing-counsel ......
  • Holloway v. Horn, No. 01-9009.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 22 Enero 2004
    ...se appellate briefs"). The Pennsylvania Supreme Court then applied the Ellis principle in a direct capital appeal, Commonwealth v. Reid, 537 Pa. 167, 642 A.2d 453 (1994), where the appellant filed a pro se supplemental brief raising four claims of error after the counseled brief had been fi......
  • Com. v. Jones
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • 16 Enero 1996
    ...were admissible to prove the motive for the victim's murder and the existence of a criminal conspiracy. See Commonwealth v. Reid, 537 Pa. 167, 181-82, 642 A.2d 453, 461, cert. denied, 513 U.S. 904, 115 S.Ct. 268, 130 L.Ed.2d 186 (1994) (evidence of appellant's connection with JBM admissible......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
153 cases
  • Commonwealth of Pa. v. Jette
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • 22 Junio 2011
    ...the appellant, is in contravention of this Court's long-standing policy that precludes hybrid representation. Commonwealth v. Reid, 537 Pa. 167, 642 A.2d 453, 462 (1994), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 904, 115 S.Ct. 268, 130 L.Ed.2d 186 (1994) (“[A]ppellants in criminal cases possess no constituti......
  • Richardson v. Superintendent Coal Twp. Sci, No. 15-4105
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 2 Octubre 2018
    ...to consider pro se pleadings filed by parties who are represented by counsel (so-called "hybrid representation"). Commonwealth v. Reid , 537 Pa. 167, 642 A.2d 453, 462 (1994) ; Commonwealth v. Ellis , 534 Pa. 176, 626 A.2d 1137, 1140 (1993).Brendza abandoned Richardson's sentencing-counsel ......
  • Holloway v. Horn, No. 01-9009.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 22 Enero 2004
    ...se appellate briefs"). The Pennsylvania Supreme Court then applied the Ellis principle in a direct capital appeal, Commonwealth v. Reid, 537 Pa. 167, 642 A.2d 453 (1994), where the appellant filed a pro se supplemental brief raising four claims of error after the counseled brief had been fi......
  • Com. v. Jones
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • 16 Enero 1996
    ...were admissible to prove the motive for the victim's murder and the existence of a criminal conspiracy. See Commonwealth v. Reid, 537 Pa. 167, 181-82, 642 A.2d 453, 461, cert. denied, 513 U.S. 904, 115 S.Ct. 268, 130 L.Ed.2d 186 (1994) (evidence of appellant's connection with JBM admissible......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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