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COMMONWEALTH v. STROIK (01/19/54)

January 19, 1954

COMMONWEALTH
v.
STROIK



COUNSEL

Allen S. Olmsted, Media, for appellant.

Basil C. Clare, Asst. Dist. Atty., Chester, Raymond R. Start, Dist. Atty., Media, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Ross, Gunther, Wright and Woodside, Jj.

Author: Woodside

[ 175 Pa. Super. Page 12]

WOODSIDE, Judge.

This is an appeal from the lower court's refusal to grant a new trial to the defendant who was found guilty by a jury of receiving stolen goods and contributing to the delinquency of two children. The appellant contends there was insufficient evidence to support the convictions. The fairness of the court's charge is challenged.

The Commonwealth's evidence established that on December 5, 1952, Peter G. * * *, a 14 year old boy, and Terry A. * * *, aged 8 years, had broken into several places and had stolen money, a wallet, a hammer, a screw driver, some bullets, and flashlight bulbs. Peter was apprehended by police as the boys were preparing to break into a school house. Terry got away but Peter told the police where he lived. The police went to the home of the defendant, Stroik, where Terry lived. It was between 2 and 3 o'clock in the morning. Here the police saw Stroik and Terry counting money on the kitchen table. When one officer knocked on the door another officer saw Stroik grab Terry's hat, push the money into it and put the hat under the ice box. The officer, likewise, saw Terry throw what later was disclosed to be money under the living room couch. When the officers entered and asked Stroik about the money, he denied any knowledge of it. He was then confronted by the police with the money which they retrieved from under the ice box. It was subsequently determined that the money had been taken from a business establishment by the two boys a few hours before. The police also found a stolen radio in the house.

[ 175 Pa. Super. Page 13]

Upon questioning Peter and Terry it was disclosed that Terry lived with Stroik in the home of Stroik's mother; that Peter had been living with his stepfather and mother, all of whom were displaced persons from Germany; that they had been residents of the United States for approximately one year; that Peter had run away from home about three or four weeks prior to his being apprehended by the police, and had come to live with Terry and the defendant while defendant's mother was away. Upon her return Peter was lodged in the cellar for fear that Stroik's mother would not approve of Peter's being with them. A cellar window was left open so that Peter could enter and leave without the mother's knowledge.

The evidence further indicates that the two boys were stealing and that they brought the loot home. The record discloses that they told Stroik that the articles were stolen and that he did not punish or reprimand them; neither did he make any effort to return the stolen material to the rightful owners.

Peter testified that he and Terry stole cigarettes from a car in a gas station and that he had told Stroik that they had stolen the cigarettes and that the defendant took them and smoked them. Peter likewise indicated that items stolen by him and Terry were taken from them by the defendant with full knowledge that said items were stolen. The following testimony of Peter with reference to the stolen radio is revealing:

'Q. He asked you where you got the radio? A. Yes, sir.

'Q. What did you tell him? A. We told him ...


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