Demonstrative Evidence

Commonwealth v. Myers, PICS Case No. 14-0321 (Pa. Super. Feb. 21, 2014) Wecht, J. (15 pages).

Appellant Matthew Myers challenged the judgment of sentence entered on October 24, 2012. The court affirmed the judgment of sentence, but remanded for further proceedings concerning Myers’ bail status.

On May 13, 2011, Myers had his vehicle towed to Pep Boys in Exton, Pennsylvania to repair an alternator. Myers provided verbal authorization as to the cost of repairs; when Myers went to retrieve his vehicle, he drove away in the vehicle without paying the repair bill. Myers was convicted by a jury of theft of services, theft by unlawful taking or disposition, and receiving stolen property. Myers was sentenced in the standard range of the sentencing guidelines to an aggregate six to 23 months’ along with two years’ probation.

Myers filed post-sentence motions requesting the court defer his reporting date and asserted a request for bail pending appeal. The trial court denied Myers’ motion; Myers subsequently appealed. Myers requested appeal on the issues of: (1) whether the trial court erred in denying his post-sentence motion and motion for bail; and (2) whether the evidence justified a conviction.

The appellate court ruled that given the jury findings of facts and conviction and review of the evidence, there were sufficient grounds to convict Myers on the charges. As such, the judgment of sentence was affirmed.

With respect to the trial court’s denial of bail pending appeal pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 521, the court found that the trial court erred in effectively revoking Myers’ standing non-monetary bail order without expressly doing so, and without adhering to the procedural requirements of Pa.R.Crim.P. 521. Rule 521 required a defendant to have the same right to bail as before a verdict when the sentence of imprisonment was fewer than two years, unless otherwise modified by the court. In addition, Rule 534 provided that “unless bail is revoked, a bail bond shall be valid until the full and final disposition of the case, including all avenues of direct appeal.” As Myers could still appeal his sentence and the court failed to properly revoke his standing bond, Myers’ bond remained in effect.

Further, Myers had two periods of liberty before his mandated reporting date which would not require Myers to reestablish a basis for his release pending appeal. The court remanded the case for a bail hearing.