Commonwealth v. Harris

The Pennsylvania Superior Court held that the trial court correctly applied McClelland II in holding there was insufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case as to each element at a preliminary hearing where the Commonwealth relied on hearsay evidence alone to prove that the defendant shot someone. The Commonwealth charged the defendant with attempted murder and related offenses. When the victim failed to show for any of the preliminary hearings, the Commonwealth presented testimony of the detective who took the victim’s statement identifying the defendant as the shooter. The defendant was held for court. Relying on Commonwealth v. McClelland, 233 A.3d 717 (Pa. 2020) (McClelland II), the trial court quashed all charges because there was no direct non-hearsay evidence that the defendant shot the victim. The Commonwealth appealed and asserted that McClelland II was inapplicable. While conceding that it relied on hearsay evidence to identify the defendant, the Commonwealth emphasized it also presented non-hearsay evidence through its police witnesses that a crime was committed. The Superior Court disagreed and affirmed.

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