Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Appeals court strikes down man’s kidnapping conviction


But the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office argued that Ortiz met the requiremen­ts of one section of the kidnapping statute — that he took the minor to facilitate the commission of another felony — interferen­ce with custody.

But the court disagreed, writing that allowing the two crimes to be used in that way “would eviscerate the purpose and effect of the [interferen­ce] statue, rendering those provisions irreconcil­able.”

During the Feb. 21 oral argument in the case, the Superior Court panel raised questions about the trial judge, Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel, and the possibilit­y that she was showing a pattern of meting out overly harsh sentences in cases before her.

But in the opinion, the appellate panel didn’t address that concern. It did remand the interferen­ce charge, for which Ortiz received a prison term of 2 to 4 years, for resentenci­ng by Judge McDaniel, but only because vacating the kidnapping conviction may have disrupted the rest of her sentencing scheme.

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