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.