Monday, February 01, 2010

stalking; PFA contempt

Commonwealth v. Abed - Superior Court - January 29, 2010
Defendant's conviction for stalking under 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 2709.1 and contempt under a PFA order upheld on appeal.
Defendant's many "lewd and obscene texts, calls, flyers, and letters that accused Complainant of having an infectious disease are clearly encompassed in the statutory language [defining stalking]. Appellant’s assertion that proof of physical contact is necessary to convict him of stalking directly conflicts with Commonwealth v. Miller, 689 A.2d 238, 240 (Pa. Super. 1997), in which this Court rejected as “ludicrous” a similar argument that the defendant could not be convicted of stalking when he did not cause physical harm or attempt harm to his victim.
This Court found the “intent to place one in fear of bodily injury is but one mens rea that will sustain a conviction under § 2709(a) and (b)… as a conviction may be upheld upon a showing that the accused intended to harass, annoy, alarm or cause substantial emotional distress.”

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