The opinion of the court was delivered by: GOURLEY
This is a petition for the return of seized property and the suppression of evidence.
During argument counsel for petitioner with the consent of the accused abandoned that part of the motion dealing with the return of property and pressed only the part of the motion dealing with the suppression of evidence.
The motion is based on two legal principles:
(2) That subsequent to the arrest and through duress and coercion the postal inspectors required the petitioner to make available the documents which are in part the subject of this criminal action, no search warrant having been secured from a duly authorized federal authority, all of which is violative of the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.
The facts are briefly these:
On August 23, 1951, in the fore-noon, Charles L. Sabo, Jr., foreman in the Parcel Post Delivery Section of the Pittsburgh Post Office, while investigating matters concerning missing mail, saw the petitioner, Mr. Haas, looking into the back of a mail truck. He called him over, told him he was from the Post Office and asked him concerning certain books, the matter under investigation. He told the petitioner, 'if you don't tell me, we will get a search warrant and we will search your room.' He asked the petitioner to ride with him to see Mr. Evans, a Post Office Inspector in the Post Office Building.
In the Post Office, Inspector Evans questioned the petitioner who, after an hour of interrogation, signed a statement concerning his activities. Petitioner with Mr. Sabo and Samuel T. Cowan, another employee of the Post Office Department, drove in a truck to 704 W. North Avenue in the City of Pittsburgh, the residence of petitioner, who unlocked the door, which was padlocked, opened it and the three walked in. Petitioner helped to unpack the books, put wrappers about them, and carried them out to the truck. Thereupon, he returned to the Post Office where he was interviewed and then told that he could return home.
Petitioner came back to the office of Inspector Evans several times thereafter in response to letters and telephone calls, and several times of his own volition.
The evidence conclusively developed that no force, threats or promises of any kind were made to petitioner. He was free to go and come as he pleased. No hand was put on him; he was never told that he was under arrest; no weapons were shown him; no bond was required of him; he was not placed in jail; nor was any complaint lodged against him.
Although the circumstances and understanding of petitioner and the postal inspectors as to what occurred on August 23, 1951 are in dispute, the question resolves itself into one of credibility and the reasonable inferences to be drawn from what transpired. I can reach only the conclusion that petitioner was well aware that he was not being arrested, but was asked to cooperate with the postal inspectors in clearing the complaints assigned to them for investigation.
In proceedings for an order in suppressing the use of evidence, the credibility of testimony is for the court. In re Fried, 2 Cir., 161 F.2d 453, 1 A.L.R.2d 996.
A bench warrant was not issued for petitioner's arrest until his indictment by the Grand Jury, approximately seven months after the alleged illegal seizure.
Furthermore, the petitioner, eighty-one years of age, has spent approximately half of his life in penal institutions, and his experiences with the distinguishing characteristics between ...