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COMMONWEALTH v. QUERUBIN (12/14/67)

decided: December 14, 1967.

COMMONWEALTH, APPELLANT,
v.
QUERUBIN



Appeals from order of Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County, March T., 1967, Nos. 799 and 800, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. John Querubin.

COUNSEL

Benjamin H. Levintow, Assistant District Attorney, with him Alan J. Davis, Assistant District Attorney, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellant.

Mark E. Dolin, for appellee, submitted a brief.

Ervin, P. J., Wright, Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, and Spaulding, JJ. Opinion by Watkins, J.

Author: Watkins

[ 211 Pa. Super. Page 361]

This is an appeal by the Commonwealth from an order of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County suppressing evidence on the ground that the search and seizure was not incident to a lawful arrest.

The facts are as follows: At 12:00 o'clock noon on February 6, 1967, a police officer entered a gasoline station in Philadelphia and observed the defendant, John Querubin, handing a ten-dollar bill to the station attendant which appeared to the officer to be counterfeit. He seized the bill, confirmed his judgment as to its spuriousness and took the defendant into the nearest detective division. He placed him under arrest and the appellee concedes that the arrest was valid and legal.

[ 211 Pa. Super. Page 362]

At the time of his arrest and upon his arrival in the detective headquarters he was described as being nervous, jittery and glassy-eyed. The detective called the United States Secret Service and they sent an agent who accompanied the arresting detective while picking up other ten-dollar counterfeit bills alleged to have been passed by this appellee. These other bills were identical counterfeit bills to the one passed at the gas station.

Upon the arrival of the appellee in the detective headquarters he was requested to empty his pockets and his wallet was examined for additional counterfeit bills. None were found. After the detective and the agent discovered the additional bills that were passed at the Club, a thorough examination of the appellee took place. This was at approximately three o'clock p.m. The appellee was asked to remove his clothing and after a thorough search no additional counterfeit bills were found but a small cellophane bag of a heroin derivative, a narcotic drug, was found in a half-filled packet of life-savers. An examination of the appellee by the police surgeon disclosed a positive finding of drug addiction.

He was indicted on three charges: Unlawful use of a narcotic drug; felonious possession of a narcotic drug; felonious possession of a counterfeit ten-dollar bill.

The appellee filed a petition for suppressing the evidence alleging that the search was an illegal search and seizure because he was asked to strip himself of his clothing and empty the contents of his pockets upon the table.

The court below held that the search of the appellee was not an incident to the arrest because it was not contemporaneous therewith and therefore in violation of appellee's constitutional rights and ordered that the ...


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