no evidence to rebut this statement (N.T. 63). Under these circumstances there can be no possibility of waiver in the instant case.
This brings the Court to the second question set forth above, that of whether relator's statement was voluntary. The test applicable at the time of relator's conviction was that the statement be the product of a rational intellect and free will. Blackburn v. Alabama, 361 U.S. 199, 208, 80 S. Ct. 274, 4 L. Ed. 2d 242 (1960); Townsend v. Sain, 372 U.S. 293, 83 S. Ct. 745, 9 L. Ed. 2d 770 (1963). This standard has been applied to the case of a person who is intoxicated at the time of making a statement in the case of Logner v. North Carolina, 260 F. Supp. 970 (M.D.N.C. 1966). In that case the court said that the controlling test was whether the confession was the free and unconstrained choice of its maker. Id. at 976. In that case the court pointed out that the petitioner had had a drinking problem since childhood and by the date in question had been drinking and taking stimulants over an extended period of time. Id. at 972. On the morning of the day on which petitioner had given his statement two police detectives had observed the petitioner and concluded that he was not walking like a sober man, though they did not feel he was drunk enough to be arrested for public drunkenness. Id. at 972. However, the officers followed the petitioner when he drove away in his car because they feared an accident, and in fact an accident did follow. Id. at 973. The patrolman who investigated the accident concluded that the petitioner was too drunk to give a statement as to what happened. Later in the same day, after the petitioner had made some statements implicating himself in a robbery, petitioner was interrogated and at the third interrogation gave a statement admitting the robbery, though the police officers admitted that during the interrogations petitioner was still in some state of intoxication. Id. at 975. The court stated on the basis of these facts that the petitioner's confession was not the product of a free and unconstrained choice of its maker. Id. at 976. It concluded that a confession made by one in the petitioner's state of intoxication could not be the product of a rational intellect and a free will. Id. at 976. The court pointed out that it was indeed a paradox that petitioner could not make a statement concerning the accident because he was too drunk, yet was capable of making statements that put him in prison. Id. at 976. Accordingly, the court ruled that petitioner's statement was involuntary.
The Court views the instant case as remarkably similar to the Logner case. Without repeating all of the facts previously set forth, the Court concludes that those facts bring relator's statement clearly within the ambit of the Logner case. Here, as there, the petitioner had a history of drinking dating from childhood. Here, as there, prior to the day in question, petitioner had been drinking heavily over an extended period of time. Here, as there, petitioner had been consuming large quantities of liquor on the day in question. (Here also for the 5 previous days from his birthday October 27, on.) Here, as there, a police detective present at the interrogation had absolutely no difficulty in determining that relator was drunk. And here too it would be paradoxical that when relator in his condition on the night in question made a statement to a police lieutenant that he thought he had hurt someone at a specific address, the lieutenant thought he was just another drunk making up a story and sent him on his way without further investigation, and yet on the same night he was capable of giving a confession which effectively put him in jail.
Accordingly, the court concludes that relator's statement was not the product of a rational intellect and free will and was therefore involuntary. See also United States ex rel. Collins v. Maroney, 287 F. Supp. 420 (E.D. Pa. 1968) in which Judge Higginbotham of this Court in a thorough and very persuasive opinion reached a similar result with respect to an analogous problem.
We now come to the third question outlined above, that of whether relator's involuntary confession induced and thereby tainted his guilty plea. The Court concludes that it did.
The presence of the confession was paramount in the discussions of relator and his brother with all four of his attorneys during the course of the preparation of relator's case. Mr. Knox testified that basically the whole case was the confession (N.T. 118), and that without the confession his advice to his client would have been different in that they could then have reasonably faced the possibility of a jury trial, while with the confession he felt that such a course of action would have been foolhardy (N.T. 120). It was repeatedly stressed to relator that he would look foolish on the stand contradicting his prior statement and that in light of the confession he had no choice but to plead guilty.
It is also worth noting that the independent evidence of the Commonwealth was somewhat limited. While there were witnesses who saw relator enter and leave the building, there were no witnesses to the offense itself. And while a fingerprint of relator was found in the apartment of the deceased, it was brought out at trial that relator had been in the apartment some 10 or more times prior to the date of the incident in question (Trial N.T. 18).
Under these circumstances and those set forth in the more detailed account, supra, the Court concludes that relator's confession motivated his guilty plea. Since the Court has also concluded that relator's confession was involuntary, the writ of habeas corpus must be granted. United States ex rel. Collins v. Maroney, 382 F.2d 547 (3rd Cir. 1967); United States ex rel. McCloud v. Rundle, 402 F.2d 853 (3rd Cir. 1968). Consequently, the Court does not reach the fourth issue set forth by the Third Circuit in Collins, that of whether aside from the confession the guilty plea could be considered voluntary and the related argument of the instant petitioner that his guilty plea was the result of coercion on the part of his counsel.
The Court wishes to express its gratitude to Louis M. Natali, Jr., Esq. for his diligent and thorough representation of relator without compensation.
And now, to wit, this 25th day of February, A.D. 1970, it is ordered that relator's petition for a writ of habeas corpus be and the same is hereby granted. It is further ordered that execution of the writ be stayed for 90 days to allow the Commonwealth to appeal this decision or to retry relator. Upon the expiration of 90 days, in the absence of such action on the part of the Commonwealth, the writ shall issue forthwith without further Order of this Court.
And it is so ordered.