Com. v. Snyder

CourtSuperior Court of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtJOHNSON; DEL SOLE; DEL SOLE
Citation542 A.2d 95,373 Pa.Super. 582
Decision Date10 June 1988
PartiesCOMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania v. Craig A. SNYDER, Appellant.

Page 95

542 A.2d 95
373 Pa.Super. 582
COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania
v.
Craig A. SNYDER, Appellant.
Superior Court of Pennsylvania.
Submitted Dec. 2, 1987.
Filed April 11, 1988.
Reargument Denied June 10, 1988.

[373 Pa.Super. 583] Ronald C. Travis, Williamsport, for appellant.

Amy L. Hallenbeck, Asst. Dist. Atty., Montoursville, for Com.

Before OLSZEWSKI, DEL SOLE and JOHNSON, JJ.

Page 96

JOHNSON, Judge:

This case involves an interpretation of Paragraph (d)(3)(i) of Rule 1100. Prompt Trial, Pa.R.Crim.P., which requires that periods of delay resulting from the unavailability of the defendant shall be excluded in determining the period for commencement of trial. We are asked to decide whether attempts by the defendant to qualify for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD), involving contacts with the attorney for the Commonwealth, would operate to overcome the "unavailability" of the defendant resulting from an [373 Pa.Super. 584] outstanding bench warrant issued for failure to appear at a scheduled arraignment. We conclude that such preliminary contacts do not render the defendant "available" under Rule 1100(d)(3)(i), and therefore affirm the judgment of sentence.

The Honorable Thomas C. Raup conducted a non-jury trial on a case stated basis in May, 1987. The judge found Craig A. Snyder, Defendant, guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol (D.U.I.), failure to stop at a stop sign, reckless driving, and disorderly conduct. The reason advanced for proceeding on a case-stated basis was to preserve the issue of Defendant's right to dismissal of the charges based upon the Commonwealth's alleged violation of Rule 1100. Judge Raup sentenced the Defendant to a term of forty-eight hours to one year at the Lycoming County Prison on the D.U.I. conviction, together with a $700 fine. Defendant received a concurrent sentence of one years' probation on the disorderly conduct conviction, with a special condition of that probation being a $300 fine. The Sentencing Order dated June 5, 1987 and filed June 10, 1987 is silent as to the disposition of the convictions on failure to stop at a stop sign and reckless driving.

The sole issue presented on this appeal is whether the court erred in denying Defendant's oral motion, submitted at the conclusion of the case-stated non-jury trial, in the nature of a motion in arrest of judgment asserting the Rule 1100 issue.

From our review of the record, including the Transcript of Proceedings of March 13, 1987 (Hearing on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Under Rule 1100) the following facts emerge. Following Defendant's arrest on December 2, 1985, a written complaint was filed on December 4th and a preliminary hearing was scheduled before a district justice in Jersey Shore, Lycoming County. Before the scheduled hearing date, the Defendant appeared before the district justice, waived his right to a preliminary hearing, received a written notice of his arraignment scheduled for January 27, [373 Pa.Super. 585] 1985 in the Lycoming County Court of Common Pleas, and was released on his own recognizance.

On or before January 2, 1986, Defendant appeared in his attorney's office and signed an Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Arraignment form. The form was not then filed. On January 27, 1986, the case was called in court and the Defendant did not appear. At the Commonwealth's request, a bench warrant was issued the same day. Nearly six months later, while the bench warrant was still outstanding, Defendant's counsel filed the Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Arraignment form with the Clerk of Court's office on July 16, 1986. The record does not reflect any service of a copy of the form on the Office of the District Attorney at any time.

The bench warrant was served on the Defendant on January 6, 1987. The same day, the Defendant was brought before the issuing judge who determined that "the error is on the part of Defense Counsel for not having appropriately filed a waiver of arraignment." The issuing judge released the Defendant under the previously filed recognizance bond, to appear before the court as directed for purposes of further hearings.

Two days later, defense counsel filed a Rule 1100 motion which was denied on March 13, 1987, following the oral presentation of certain stipulated facts and documents. See Transcript of Proceedings, March 13, 1987.

The case-stated non-jury trial was thereafter promptly held on May 5, 1987 resulting in a guilty verdict.

At the March 13, 1987 hearing on the Rule 1100 motion to dismiss, the following

Page 97

facts were presented to the court, being theretofore outside the official court records. On January 2, 1986, defense counsel wrote to the District Attorney, indicating his representation of the Defendant and enclosing an A.R.D. application. On January 13, 1986, the District Attorney's office wrote to the West Branch Drug and Alcohol Center, requesting that the Center contact Defendant to arrange for certain testing in connection [373 Pa.Super. 586] with the A.R.D. application. The Center contacted Defendant and the testing was accomplished on January 29, 1986.

Following receipt of the results of the Court Reporter's Network (CRN) examination, the District Attorney's office wrote to Defendant on February 25, 1986, informing him that he was being denied access to the A.R.D. Program. The stipulation of March 13, 1987, as orally presented by defense counsel, indicates that subsequent to Defendant receiving notice of his denial for A.R.D. sometime around February 25, 1986, nothing was done with regard to the case until January 6, 1987, when Defendant was seized pursuant to the bench warrant.

We begin our analysis by setting forth the pertinent subsection of Rule 1100, as it was in effect at all times material herein: 1

Rule 1100. Prompt Trial

(a) ....

(2) Trial in a court case in which a written complaint is filed against the defendant after June 30, 1974 shall commence no later than one hundred eighty (180) days from the date on which the complaint is filed

....

(d) In determining the period of commencement of trial, there shall be excluded therefrom:

....

(3) such period of delay at any stage of the proceedings as results from:

(i) the unavailability of the defendant or his attorney;

The mechanical run date, were no time chargeable to Defendant, would have been June 2, 1986. Defendant was not brought to trial until May 5, 1987.

[373 Pa.Super. 587] At the preliminary hearing in the case now before us, Defendant was provided with a written notice of arraignment, scheduled for January 27, 1986. There is no dispute that he was aware of the date and place of arraignment. Upon his failure to appear, with absolutely nothing of record to explain his non-appearance, the court properly issued a bench warrant at the Commonwealth's request. Defendant was subsequently apprehended on January 6, 1987 on the bench warrant issued January 27, 1986.

We believe this case is controlled by our Supreme Court's pronouncement in Commonwealth v. Cohen, 481 Pa. 349, 392 A.2d 1327 (1978). In Cohen, the defendants had been held for action of the grand jury and subsequently indicted. On the indictment day, the defendants failed to appear for arraignment and a bench warrant was issued for their arrest. Twenty days later, the defendants appeared in court, were purged of contempt, arraigned and released pending trial. A petition for extension of time under Rule 1100(c) was filed 192 days after the filing of complaints. Both the trial court and this court found the petition to have been untimely filed, which would have resulted in the dismissal of the charges. On the Commonwealth's appeal from this court's affirmance of the order granting the motion to dismiss, our Supreme Court vacated the order dismissing the charges and remanded the cause for the limited purpose of determining whether the defendants had received proper notice of the arraignment.

In vacating the order of the trial court, our Supreme Court took issue with the trial court's analysis which was based upon the Commonwealth's perceived obligation to demonstrate due diligence. The Cohen

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court stated that the due diligence analysis failed to consider the responsibility of a defendant who has been admitted to bail. After setting forth the conditions of bail as set forth in Pa.R.Crim.P. 4013 (in effect at that time), the court said:

Where a defendant undertakes to accept the status of bail during the pendency of court proceedings he assumes the responsibility of making himself available for any [373 Pa.Super. 588] court appearances required of him in connection with the action, upon receipt of reasonable notice. To focus solely upon the conduct of the Commonwealth not only ignores the defendant's dereliction of an obligation, but also places him in the position of possibly benefitting from his own wrongdoing. Where the delay results from the defendant's willful failure to appear at the appointed time it is obviously not the type of harm envisioned in the protections sought to be afforded by the speedy trial guarantee. To the contrary, the delay is directly attributable to the fact that he was in a bail status, and not in custody, and that he deliberately abused that prerogative.

Commonwealth v. Cohen, 481...

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4 practice notes
  • AM/PM Franchise Ass'n v. Atlantic Richfield Co.
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • June 13, 1988
    ...destruction of a factor or hotel, and perhaps Pennsylvania will reconsider the reason for its rule in a future case. We are nonetheless[373 Pa.Super. 582] required to apply the current rule in Id. at 1227-28. Further, a comparison of the business profits before and after the delivery of the......
  • Com. v. Baird, No. 721 WDA 2005
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • February 28, 2007
    ...claimed inadvertent failure to file a waiver 919 A.2d 261 of arraignment form is imputed to the defendant. Commonwealth v. Snyder, 373 Pa.Super. 582, 542 A.2d 95, 98-99 ¶ 7 On the basis of the foregoing, we hold that it is the responsibility of defense counsel to advise a defendant of court......
  • Com. v. Baird, No. 23 WAP 2007.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • July 22, 2009
    ...such, Appellant's failure to appear rendered him unavailable for trial. See Baird, 919 A.2d at 260-61 (citing Commonwealth v. Snyder, 373 Pa. Super. 582, 542 A.2d 95 (1988)). The majority Where defense counsel has actual notice of a proceeding and fails to so inform his or her client, the o......
  • Com. v. Snyder
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • April 5, 1989
    ...532 558 A.2d 532 521 Pa. 630 Commonwealth v. Snyder (Craig A.) NO. 180 M.D. 1988 SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA APR 05, 1989 373 Pa.Super. 582, 542 A.2d 95 Appeal from the Superior Court. Denied. ...
4 cases
  • AM/PM Franchise Ass'n v. Atlantic Richfield Co.
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • June 13, 1988
    ...destruction of a factor or hotel, and perhaps Pennsylvania will reconsider the reason for its rule in a future case. We are nonetheless[373 Pa.Super. 582] required to apply the current rule in Id. at 1227-28. Further, a comparison of the business profits before and after the delivery of the......
  • Com. v. Baird, No. 721 WDA 2005
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • February 28, 2007
    ...claimed inadvertent failure to file a waiver 919 A.2d 261 of arraignment form is imputed to the defendant. Commonwealth v. Snyder, 373 Pa.Super. 582, 542 A.2d 95, 98-99 ¶ 7 On the basis of the foregoing, we hold that it is the responsibility of defense counsel to advise a defendant of court......
  • Com. v. Baird, No. 23 WAP 2007.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • July 22, 2009
    ...such, Appellant's failure to appear rendered him unavailable for trial. See Baird, 919 A.2d at 260-61 (citing Commonwealth v. Snyder, 373 Pa. Super. 582, 542 A.2d 95 (1988)). The majority Where defense counsel has actual notice of a proceeding and fails to so inform his or her client, the o......
  • Com. v. Snyder
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • April 5, 1989
    ...532 558 A.2d 532 521 Pa. 630 Commonwealth v. Snyder (Craig A.) NO. 180 M.D. 1988 SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA APR 05, 1989 373 Pa.Super. 582, 542 A.2d 95 Appeal from the Superior Court. Denied. ...

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