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COMMONWEALTH v. TIRPAK ET AL. (01/07/71)

decided: January 7, 1971.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
TIRPAK ET AL., APPELLANTS



Appeals from order of Superior Court, April T., 1969, Nos. 185, 189, 203 and 216, affirming judgments of Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, Sept. T., 1967, Nos. 329, 332, 334 and 335, in cases of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Lilly Jane Florida; Same v. George E. Tirpak; Same v. Harry T. Collins; and Same v. Samuel G. Heckel.

COUNSEL

Jerome Hahn, for appellant.

Sanford S. Finder, for appellant.

John W. Edwards, Jr., for appellant.

Walter W. Gregory, Jr., for appellant.

George E. Anthou, Assistant District Attorney, with him Richard DiSalle, First Assistant District Attorney, and Jess D. Costa, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Bell. Mr. Justice Eagen concurs in the result. Mr. Justice Cohen took no part in the decision of this case. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice O'Brien. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Pomeroy. Mr. Justice Jones joins in this concurring opinion.

Author: Bell

[ 441 Pa. Page 536]

On the evening of May 1, 1967, a raid was made on an alleged "pot" party at 316 East McMurray Road, Peters Township, Washington County. This raid was conducted pursuant to a search warrant. An officer of the Allegheny County police received information that a "pot" party was being held at a home in Peters Township. The Peters Township police were alerted and a surveillance of the home was established. The surveillance disclosed that the lights were on in the house, that people were entering and leaving, and it was apparent that a party of some sort was going on in the house. The police then went to a local magistrate and informed the magistrate of what they had seen in their surveillance. Furthermore, the Allegheny County police officer related the information he had received from what he considered a reliable, confidential source.*fn*

When the police officers entered the house seven people, including the four appellants, were found in the game room. The seven individuals were guests at a party given by Ida Jane Jansma, who resided with her parents in the house.*fn** The police also found in the game room an open jar containing a substance

[ 441 Pa. Page 537]

    which was later identified as marijuana, and four butts in an ash tray, which upon analysis were found to be butts of marijuana cigarettes. The open jar was on the floor in the center of the room, and the closest any of the appellants was to the jar was eight feet.

The four appellants were convicted of and sentenced for violation of Section 4 of the Act of September 26, 1961, P. L. 1664, 35 P.S. ยง 780-4(q), which prohibits the possession or control of any dangerous or narcotic drug. Section 4 reads, in pertinent part, as follows: "The following acts and the causing thereof within the Commonwealth are hereby prohibited: . . . (q) The possession, control, dealing in, dispensing, ...


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