Commonwealth v. Lites

In Commonwealth v. Lites, the defendant appealed his sentence, arguing the trial court’s mandatory minimum sentence, which the court imposed as a “second strike,” was illegal. The Superior Court compared the PA burglary statute of 1994—the defendant’s alleged first strike—with the current PA burglary statute—the defendant’s second strike. The Court determined that the current burglary statute includes an element the former statute did not. Therefore, at the defendant’s sentencing, the Commonwealth failed to establish that the prior burglary conviction was a crime of violence as defined by the current mandatory minimum statute. Accordingly, the Court vacated the sentence.

LITES