Commonwealth v. Nellom

A jury convicted Nellom of theft of services. Nellom appealed and challenged the sufficiency of the evidence. The Superior Court affirmed, finding the evidence was sufficient. However, the Court held that Nellom’s sentence was illegal. The trial court sentenced Nellom pursuant to a third degree felony in violation of Apprendi v. New Jersey, because the only question presented for a determination by the jury was whether the “value of the services obtained exceeded fifty dollars,” to which the jury answered “yes.” The trial court failed to present the jury with the essential questions necessary to elevate the grade of the offense from a misdemeanor of the second degree to either a misdemeanor of the first degree, or a felony of the third degree — namely, (1) whether the amount involved was between $200.00 and $2,000.00, or (2) whether the amount involved exceeded $2,000.00, respectively.