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COMMONWEALTH v. STOE (07/20/50)

July 20, 1950

COMMONWEALTH
v.
STOE



COUNSEL

Merrill L. Hassel, Lancaster, John B. Brumbelow and Lemuel B. Schofield, both of Philadelphia, for appellant.

John Milton Ranck, Dist. Atty., John W. Beyer, Asst. Dist. Atty., Lancaster, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross and Arnold, JJ.

Author: Rhodes

[ 167 Pa. Super. Page 301]

RHODES, President Judge.

The defendant, Richard G. Stoe, was indicted under section 607 of the Act of June 24, 1939, P.L. 872, 18 P.S. ยง 4607. This section, relating to pool selling and bookmaking, provides inter alia: 'Whoever * * * occupies any place with books, apparatus or paraphernalia for the purpose of recording or registering bets or wages, * * * or assists or abets in any manner in any of the acts forbidden by this section, is guilty of a misdemeanor, * * *.' At the close of the Commonwealth's case at the trial, defendant demurred and presented no defense. The demurrer was overruled by the trial judge and the case was submitted to the jury which returned a verdict of guilty. Defendant's motion for a new trial was refused, and from the judgment and sentence defendant has appealed.

Appellant contends on this appeal that the uncontradicted evidence presented by the Commonwealth was not sufficient to warrant and sustain his conviction.

About 2 o'clock in the afternoon of February 19, 1949, several officers of the Lancaster Police Department, as the result of information received, having a search warrant, sought admission to a dwelling house situate at 515 Rockland Street, in the City of Lancaster. Without disclosing their identity they were admitted by appellant. In a bedroom on the second floor they found a telephone equipped with a muffler, which was listed in the telephone directory under the name of Stoe Bros., produce. In the room was a radio by which both long and short wave broadcasts could be received. In a desk was a set of earphones which could be attached to the radio. On the desk were a number of blank pads, some pencils, and a box with 8 compartments in which

[ 167 Pa. Super. Page 302]

    compartments were 91 slips of paper. There were also an adding machine, $9 in bills, and an automatic telephone directory in the room. The slips contained markings which, according to the testimony of one of the police officers, were in code and designated the race track then in operation, the names of horses and their positions, and the bets thereon. Also found in the room were two racing publications, one of which was a 'William Armstrong Daily Sports' sheet by reference to which the markings on the slips could be correlated and integrated. One of the slips, typical in marking to all, contained the following notation:

1 H 2 Joseph Brandt 2 D

2 H 6 Bragdoccio L M

It was testified relative to this slip that 1 H 2 referred to the first race at Hialeah race track; and that 'Joseph Brandt' was the name of the horse racing in the first race at that track. The markings on another slip -- '2 SP 8, Sunsho,' were explained by the witness to refer to a horse named Sunsho entered in the second race at Sunshine Park, Florida. Appellant was present while the officers searched the room. Within a few minutes the officers answered the telephone in the room five times. Most of the calls asked for 'Dyke' by which name appellant was known. One person who called asked for the odds on 'Red Count.' On the first floor of the residence a telephone was installed under the name of appellant's wife. There was nothing on the premises having any ...


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