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COMMONWEALTH v. ADAMS (01/19/54)

January 19, 1954

COMMONWEALTH
v.
ADAMS



COUNSEL

William W. McAdams, Stewart P. Clarke, Philadelphia, for appellant.

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

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

Author: Wright

[ 174 Pa. Super. Page 505]

WRIGHT, Judge.

Eddie Adams was tried in Delaware County on a bill of indictment charging lottery and traffic in lottery tickets. See Act of 1939, P.L. 872, §§ 601, 602, 18 P.S. §§ 4601, 4602. After a verdict of guilty, he filed motions in arrest of judgment and for a new trial. The lower court refused to grant these motions, and this appeal followed.

On September 20, 1952, two police officers of Radnor Township, who had been watching appellant's movements, arrested him on a public street in Wayne. As a result of a search at the police station, there was found in appellant's watch pocket a slip of paper (Commonwealth Exhibit 1) on which were written twenty-four numbers in three columns. There was also found in appellant's hat band a slip of paper (Commonwealth

[ 174 Pa. Super. Page 506]

Exhibit 2) on which three numbers were written. Exhibit 1 was a carbon copy whereas Exhibit 2 was an original. Although appellant admitted that both papers were in his handwriting, he at first denied knowing what the figures represented. Later he stated that they were number plays he himself had made the previous day. At the preliminary hearing before a justice of the peace, appellant 'pleaded guilty'. When called for trial, he entered a plea of not guilty.

On behalf of the Commonwealth, Corporal Rocco P. Urella, a member of the Pennsylvania State Police, testified without objection as an expert witness. He explained to the jury in detail the manner in which the numbers lottery is operated and the methods employed by those engaged in selling tickets. With regard to Exhibit 1, Corporal Urella testified: 'Over a period of years we have often encountered these slips of paper, they vary or deviate from the ordinary number book to avoid suspicion; and they use ordinary paper, tablet paper, scrap paper, or in this case we have encountered this quite often recently. This is what the barbers use in barber shops. Now this is a carbon copy of number plays that were written. The original goes to the bank in this particular case here, and the carbon copy is retained by the writer'. He pointed out that Exhibit 1 was the type of paper which a writer would retain, while Exhibit 2 was the type of paper which a player would retain. Corporal Urella further testified that in his opinion appellant 'definitely was writing numbers'.

Appellant testified that he was playing numbers, but that he was not a numbers writer. He was unable to explain why a particular number appeared in two columns of Exhibit 1, why one paper was a carbon copy and the other an original, or where he obtained the type of paper used. He finally said it was paper in

[ 174 Pa. Super. Page 507]

    which butter was wrapped, which he had cut into shape. When asked where he left his number plays, appellant replied, 'I leave them on a table in my living room. The door is unlocked all the time. They just come into my house, pick up the slips and the money off the table and go on about ...


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