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COMMONWEALTH v. MANDUCHI (03/19/64)

March 19, 1964

COMMONWEALTH
v.
MANDUCHI, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 325, Oct. T., 1963, from judgment of Court of Quarter Sessions of Lancaster County, June T., 1961, No. 79, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Richard Joseph Manduchi. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Donald J. Goldberg, for appellant.

Wilson Bucher, First Assistant District Attorney, with him Alfred C. Alspach, District Attorney, for Commonwealth Appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ.

Author: Flood

[ 203 Pa. Super. Page 374]

OPINION BY FLOOD, J.

On this appeal the defendant questions (1) the admission in evidence against him material obtained

[ 203 Pa. Super. Page 375]

    by detectives, armed with a warrant to search his residence, who broke through the doors of his apartment without announcing their authority and purpose and (2) the correctness of the trial judge's statement of the issue in his charge to the jury.

1. The police officers who went to the defendant's apartment to execute the search warrant found the door locked. The first officer to reach the door knocked and heard a "scuffling" noise inside. Without waiting for any further response to the knock he broke open the door with a sledge hammer. There was another door to the apartment which other officers broke through by using a section of a telephone pole. Upon the ensuing search the officers seizer certain material which was admitted into evidence over timely objection and motion to suppress.

We find no Pennsylvania appellate cases which discuss or determine the circumstances under which police officers armed with a warrant may break into a private dwelling place without first announcing their purpose and giving the occupants a chance to admit them. Each case depends upon its own circumstances. The circumstances surrounding the search and seizure in this case are not such as to make it unreasonable as a matter of law.

Detective Williams testified that he was first up the steps. He said, "I tried the door, it appeared to be locked; I knocked; I stepped back heard a little scuffle; and I had the sledge hammer up and I hit the door twice ... On the second blow the door flew open." He did not wait for anyone to open the door. When the detectives entered the apartment they observed the defendant and two other persons. The defendant put a piece of paper in his mouth ...


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