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COMMONWEALTH v. WOOD. COMMONWEALTH (03/23/71)

decided: March 23, 1971.

COMMONWEALTH, APPELLANT,
v.
WOOD. COMMONWEALTH, APPELLANT, V. UTLEY



Appeals from orders of Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, No. 222 of 1967, and No. 94 of 1969, in cases of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Edward John Wood and Eugene Stanford Thompson; same v. William Utley.

COUNSEL

Stephen B. Harris, Assistant District Attorney, with him Ward F. Clark, District Attorney, for appellant.

Harold B. Vikoren, Assistant Public Defender, for appellees.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Spaulding and Cercone, JJ. (Hoffman, J., absent.) Opinion by Watkins, J. Jacobs, J., concurs in the result. Hoffman, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Watkins

[ 219 Pa. Super. Page 36]

These appeals have been taken by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from orders of the Court of Common Pleas, of Bucks County. The appeals were consolidated for argument by this Court and shall be disposed of by one opinion.

Defendants, Edward John Wood and Eugene Stanford Thompson, together with another person, not a party to these appeals, were arrested for armed robbery of a gasoline station in Bristol Township, Bucks County. William Utley, was arrested for burglary, larceny and receiving stolen goods in Newtown Township, Bucks County.

In both cases, the defendants after having been warned of their constitutional rights from a card supplied by the District Attorney of Bucks County, gave written statements concerning their respective offenses. Suppression hearings were held in both cases and in the case of Wood and Thompson, the court initially refused to suppress the statements and they were offered at trial which resulted in verdicts of guilty on all charges. After argument on post-trial motions, the court en banc overruled the hearing judge in the suppression hearing and granted a new trial and ordered the statements suppressed from which order the Commonwealth has appealed.

In the case of Utley, the court after the suppression hearing ordered the statements suppressed from which order the Commonwealth has appealed. The basis for the orders in all cases was that the defendants were not adequately informed of their right to free counsel.

[ 219 Pa. Super. Page 37]

Prior to questioning any of the defendants, the police officers read the following warning from a printed card:

"Oral Warning to be Given to a ...


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