By Burt Rose
On April 13, 2011, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania granted a Petition for Allowance of Appeal from a ruling of the Superior Court in the matter of COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania v. Fred Charles MORAN, Petitioner, 2011 WL 1435170, No. 818 MAL 2010. The Order is as follows:
AND NOW, this 13th day of April 2011, the Petition for Allowance of Appeal is GRANTED. The issues, as stated by petitioner, are:
(1) Did the trial judge abuse his discretion in refusing to grant petitioner’s request that the jury be instructed that petitioner cannot be convicted of bribery unless the Commonwealth proves that petitioner acted with criminal intent? Could such an error be harmless in a case where the sole issue was whether petitioner acted with criminal intent?
(2) Was the evidence sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that petitioner was guilty of bribery under 18 Pa.C.S. § 4701 in the respect that there was inadequate proof that petitioner acted with criminal intent?
This case involves a Haverford Township commisioner who attempted to raise the price that a developer would have to pay to the township for a valuable parcel of land. Unfortunately, the Petitioner used language that suggested that if the developer paid the increased price, the zoning process would proceed more smoothly. However, none of the money was ever intended to go into the pocket of the Petitioner. Nevertheless, he was convicted of Bribery and the Superior Court affirmed.
PS: The lawyer for the Petitioner is a classy fellow (OK, it’s me).