Philadelphia criminal appeals lawyer Lloyd Long discusses details surrounding the Pennsylvania’s Superior Court’s decision in the Woodward, Reed, and Cambric case.

The Superior Court quashed the Commonwealth’s appeal of a Cambria County trial court’s order denying its motion under Pa.R.Crim.P. 582(A)(2) to consolidate trials of defendants charged in separate informations or indictments. The trial court relied on Pa.R.Crim.P. 583 in denying the motion and specifically found that the defendants might be prejudiced if tried together.

Pa.R.A.P. 311(d) permits what would be an impermissible interlocutory appeal when the Commonwealth certifies in its notice of appeal that a pretrial order will terminate or substantially handicap a prosecution.

The panel stated that although the Commonwealth’s certification in a notice of appeal is entitled to some deference, it is not unreviewable. Here, the Commonwealth remains free to pursue convictions against all defendants in separate trials; as such, its inability to try them together obviously did not terminate or substantially handicap the prosecutions. Quashing the appeals as interlocutory was therefore appropriate.