Commonwealth v. Wallace

In Commonwealth v. Wallace, a jury convicted the defendant of aggravated assault and related charges. On appeal, he claimed seven points of error, including two evidentiary issues. The Superior Court affirmed. First, the defendant alleged that that the trial court committed reversible error by allowing the jury to view two photographs of the victim’s shooting injuries. The Court ruled that the trial court articulated a reasonable basis for finding that the photographs were not inflammatory. The trial court “further demonstrated its fairness, good-faith, and impartiality by issuing a cautionary instruction to the jury.” Next, the defendant argued that the trial court erred by admitting GPS records of the co-defendant’s ankle monitor, claiming that they constituted inadmissible hearsay. In an issue of first impression, the Court disagreed, holding that the records, which are generated by a machine, are not hearsay because Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence 801 expressly defines a “statement” for purposes of hearsay as the written or oral assertion of a person. Since the GPS coordinates were uttered by a computer — not a person — they were properly admitted. The Court also found that relief was not due on the defendant’s claims about the sufficiency of the evidence, the weight of the evidence, or the excessiveness of the sentence.

Wallace