Commonwealth v. Felder

In Commonwealth v. Felder, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reviewed an order from the trial court, denying the defendant’s post-verdict motion for a new trial under Pa.R.Crim.P. 704(B), wherein he claimed that newly discovered evidence warranted a new trial. In both the trial court and the Superior Court, the Commonwealth joined the defendant’s request and argued for a new trial. The defendant was convicted after a bench trial of multiple violations of the Uniform Firearms Act. Two officers testified at the trial. But after trial, the Commonwealth produced files for cases in which other judges ruled that one of the two testifying officers was not credible. The Superior Court relied heavily on the “peculiarly” deferential standard of review for such claims, as established a century ago in Simmons-Boardman Pub. Co. v. Am. Boron Prod. Co., 128 A. 511 (Pa. 1925), and faulted the defendant for failing to draw the Court’s attention with specificity to how the Court of Common Pleas abused its discretion. The Superior Court affirmed the trial court, thereby ruling against both the defendant and the prosecution.

HAKIEM-FELDER