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COMMONWEALTH v. PINCKNEY (03/22/61)

March 22, 1961

COMMONWEALTH
v.
PINCKNEY, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 240, Oct. T., 1960, from judgment of Court of Oyer and Terminer and General Jail Delivery of Philadelphia County, Oct. T., 1959, No. 1295, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Irin Pinckney, also known as Irvin Pinckney. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

A. Benjamin Johnson, Jr., for appellant.

William H. Wolf, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, with him Thomas M. Reed and Arlen Specter, Assistant District Attorneys, Paul M. Chalfin, First Assistant District Attorney, and Victor H. Blanc, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Before Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, Watkins, and Montgomery, JJ. (rhodes, P.j., absent).

Author: Ervin

[ 194 Pa. Super. Page 372]

OPINION BY ERVIN, J.

Appellant, Irin Pinckney, also known as Irvin Pinckney, was indicted, together with one Andrew Grantz, and charged with unlawful possession of drugs, in violation of § 4 of the Act of July 11, 1917, P.L. 758, as amended, 35 PS § 854, which provides: "No person shall have in his possession or under his control, or deal in, dispense, sell, deliver, distribute, prescribe, traffic in, or give away, any of said drugs [opium or derivative of opium]." Grantz' case, which is not involved in this appeal, was disposed of separately immediately prior to appellant Pinckney's trial. Grantz pleaded guilty. Appellant Pinckney, having waived trial

[ 194 Pa. Super. Page 373]

    by jury, then went to trial before President Judge JOSEPH SLOANE of the court below.

The facts are as follows: In the morning of October 8, 1959, about 9:05 a.m., a detective entered Grantz' residence at 1218 South 16th Street, Philadelphia; Grantz and appellant were found in a room in the rear of the second floor; the detective found on the ground in Grantz' yard outside the window of this room 15 paper packages, each containing 0.6 grains of a mixture of heroin hydrochloride, quinine hydrochloride and reducing sugar; chemical analysis subsequently showed the concentration of heroin hydrochloride to be greater than one-quarter grain per ounce; also found and confiscated at the scene were a hypodermic needle containing a residue of heroin and quinine, an eye dropper, a metal bottle cap with a piece of absorbent cotton, and a bottle labeled "Ravitol," which contained 37 Ravitol jelly caps. Both suspects were taken to the Narcotic Unit headquarters for questioning; Grantz was the first to speak; he accused Pinckney of bringing "a package" and the hypodermic needle and the eye dropper to his house and offering him a "taste" of the narcotic drugs; Grantz stated that when he refused the offer Pinckney then said he was going "to have a fix." It was at that point, Grantz recalled, the detectives came into the room. Grantz signed a transcript of his oral statement and, when instructed by the detectives, read it aloud to Pinckney, who remained silent. Officer William Kelly testified that he entered the headquarters as Pinckney came out of the room where Grantz had just read the accusation. Pinckney told Kelly that Grantz had signed a statement accusing him, that he, Pinckney, was going to make a statement too. He then said, "We are both in this thing together. Why is he trying to dump all the blame on me?" About an hour after Grantz gave his statement, Pinckney made and signed a statement. He said that on the day before,

[ 194 Pa. Super. Page 374]

Grantz had promised him some drugs; early that morning he went to Grantz' home and then went to a room on the second floor to get part of the drugs promised him the day before; when Grantz had just finished "bagging" the drugs, the officers were seen entering the house so Grantz threw the then packaged drugs out of the window.

At the trial Pinckney contradicted his earlier account given to the police. He told Judge SLOANE that he had gone to Grantz' home to inquire about a job; he stated that he did not know that the narcotics were at the house prior to his arrival, nor did he bring any narcotics or narcotic-user implements to the house; he further swore that he never made a statement to Officer Kelly in which he admitted being in any way involved with Grantz in regard to the drugs. The trial judge found Pinckney guilty not only on the bill charging unlawful possession of drugs but also on a conspiracy charge. After dismissing motions for new trial and in ...


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