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Lansford man's appeal of drug conviction; sentence is denied

Published March 21. 2012 05:02PM

A Lansford man's appeal from a long jail sentence was denied by a panel of judges of the Pennsylvania Superior Court who ruled Schuylkill County Judge John E. Domalakes made no error of law in disposing the case.

Rolando Martin Horsford, 31, of 305 E. Abbot St., following a non-jury trial in December 2010 was found guilty by Domalakes of two counts of delivery of a controlled substance in Tamaqua in September 2009 and sentenced him to serve two to five years in a state correctional institution.

The testimony at the trial established a confidential informant (CI) had agreed to make drug purchases from various individuals under direction of the borough police Narcotic Squad.

The CI made two purchases of cocaine for $50 each from Horsford and the purchase was video taped by police. The first time Horsford was driving a pickup truck stopped on Spruce Street in September 2009 where the purchase was made and this scene was repeated a few days later.

Horsford filed a post-sentence motion claiming Domalakes erred by not granting a mistrial when Sgt. Richard Weaver testified that Horsford's street name was "Doe" and that street names are directly linked with gangs, such as Crips and Bloods.

He also claimed the court erred in failing to allow a defense witness, Ms. Lee Hosier, to testify that a co-conspirator who was present at both alleged incidents made a statement against her interest to the witness due to the unindicted co-conspirator, Ms. Jennifer DiPietro, being unavailable, therefore any testimony would be hearsay despite the fact the testimony would fall under the hearsay exception.

The Superior Court judges disagreed, ruling "We have reviewed the briefs of the parties, the relevant law, the certified record, the notes of testimony and the opinion of the able trial court. We conclude that there was no error in this case and that the opinion of the Honorable Judge John E. Domalakes meticulously, thoroughly and accurately disposes the issues of the appeal. Therefore, we affirm on the basis of the trial court's opinion and adopt it as a our own."

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