A blog of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section

Supreme Court PA

By Burt Rose

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The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has decided the case of COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellant v. James R. MOORE, Appellee, 2014 WL 5485706, 27 EAP 2013 (Oct. 30, 2014). This was an appeal from the Superior Court,  2032 EDA 2010, 49 A.3d 896 (2012), reversing and remanding a Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division, CP–51–CR–0009849–2008. The Justices were CASTILLE, SAYLOR, EAKIN, BAER,TODD, and STEVENS. Justice Todd wrote the Opinion. There was no dissent.

The PA Supreme Court reversed the Superior Court and held that the Appellee’s acquittal of criminal homicide does not warrant a reversal of his conviction for possessing an instrument of crime as the jury was free to return an inconsistent verdict and a court may not interpret a jury acquittal as a specific factual finding with regard to the evidence. The Court thus overruled Commonwealth v. Gonzalez, 527 A.2d 106 (Pa.1987) (reversing a defendant’s conviction for PIC where the defendant raised a self-defense claim and was acquitted on other related charges involving the use of that instrument of crime).

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