Failure to explain reason for forgoing PSI requires new sentencing except where the court has sufficient information to demonstrate it does not need one.

Commonwealth v Tejada, 2017 PA Super 123 (4/26/2017)

Mr. Tejada was convicted of aggravated harassment of a prisoner following a jury trial he was not allowed to attend. He was not allowed to attend because at the first attempt of having a trial he engaged in disruptive behavior culminating in his hitting his lawyer during his opening statement. At sentencing he objected to the absence of a pre-sentence report, and the judge, before sentencing him, refused to explain why he had done so.

Pa.R.Crim.Pro. 702(A)(2)(a) requires a judge to explain the reasons for forgoing a PSI when a sentence of one year or more is possible, but the Superior Court has said the explanation is not necessary if the court demonstrates it has sufficient information to allow it to dispense with the report. Because the sentencing court immediately sentenced the defendant after denying the objection and did not otherwise indicate it had sufficient information to dispense with the report, a new sentencing is required.

Note to persons who might from time to time practice in Bucks County— a Common Pleas judge, faced with such an issue at a PCRA hearing, accurately opined that anyone who asks for a PSI before a Bucks County sentencing is ineffective.

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