Citation. 313 Pa. Super. 310, 459 A.2d 1244, 1983 Pa. Super. 2789.
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Brief Fact Summary.
The Appellant, Charles Azim (Appellant), sought dismissal of all charges brought against him including conspiracy, robbery and simple assault. The Appellant argued that because the conspiracy conviction was not supported by sufficient evidence against him, all of the charges must be dismissed.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
Once conspiracy is established and upheld, a member of the conspiracy is also guilty of the criminal acts of his co-conspirators.
The Appellant was arrested, along with Mylice James (James) and Thomas Robinson (Robinson). The victim of the group’s actions was Jerry Tennenbaum (Tennenbaum). The Appellant was the driver of the vehicle in which Jones and Robinson were passengers. Once the group spotted Tennenbaum, the Appellant stopped the vehicle and Robinson twice called Tennenbaum over to the vehicle. Then, when Tennenbaum refused to come toward the vehicle, both James and Robinson got out and after inflicting bodily injury upon Tennenbaum, took his wallet. While James and Robinson were injuring Tennenbaum, the Appellant sat at the wheel of the vehicle, with the engine running, lights on and doors open. James and Robinson immediately fled the scene in the vehicle driven by Appellant.
Can the convictions against the Appellant for conspiracy, robbery and simple assault be supported by sufficient evidence?
A rational factfinder could find, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the Appellant conspired with James and Robinson to commit assault and robbery.
The court found that the Appellant was more than just a mere hired driver and that he was a conspirator to the actions of James and Robinson. The court’s rationale for its conclusion involved the Appellant’s association with James and Robinson and his knowledge of the commission of the crime and his presence at the scene of the crime. The court also cited [Commissioner v. Volk] for the proposition that an overt act by a co-conspirator can lead to liability for the actions of the other conspirators. The overt acts that the court seemed to dwell upon include the fact that the Appellant kept the vehicle waiting, with the doors open and engine on, in order to make the quickest getaway from the scene of the crime. Further, the injuries inflicted upon Tennenbaum occurred in the vicinity of the vehicle in which the Appellant was sitting. These facts together point to the notion that the Appellant was fully aware of what was happening to Tennenbaum and that the Appellant acted in
such a manner as to further the group’s objectives. As a result, conviction of the Appellant on a charge of conspiracy is appropriate.