Commonwealth v. Rivera

In Commonwealth v. Rivera, the defendant appealed his convictions of a host of sex offenses. The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. First, the Superior Court found that the Supreme Court did not intend to extend the holding of Commonwealth v. McClelland, 233 A.3d 717 (Pa. 2020) (the Commonwealth may not establish a prima facie case by relying on hearsay evidence alone), “to cases such as this one, where the complained-of defect in the preliminary hearing is subsequently cured at trial.” Next, the Superior Court held that, though the trial court erred when it admitted evidence of the defendant’s post-arrest silence, the error was harmless. Lastly, the Court applied the six-factor test in Commonwealth v. Sinclair, 897 A.2d 1218 (Pa. Super. 2006), and ruled that the defendant was unfairly prejudiced when the trial court permitted the Commonwealth to amend two charges after the close of its case-in-chief and after the start of the defense’s case.

Rivera