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COMMONWEALTH v. BILLOCK (04/13/72)

decided: April 13, 1972.

COMMONWEALTH, APPELLANT,
v.
BILLOCK



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, May T., 1969, No. 70, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Robert Billock, Andrew Rockwell and Dorothea Shea.

COUNSEL

Paul M. Petro, Assistant District Attorney, with him Jess D. Costa, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellant.

J. Sherman McLaughlin, with him Samuel Rodgers, Joseph P. Moschetta, and Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, for appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, and Cercone, JJ. (Spaulding, J., absent). Opinion by Watkins, J.

Author: Watkins

[ 221 Pa. Super. Page 442]

This is an appeal by the Commonwealth from the order of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, suppressing the evidence in a complaint charging the defendant with a violation of The Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act. The court below held that the magistrate did not have reasonable cause to issue the search

[ 221 Pa. Super. Page 443]

    warrant and the issuance was contrary to constitutional guarantees.

Trooper James C. Patt, a State Policeman for twelve years and a narcotics agent since November, 1968, was the sole witness at the Suppression Hearing. He had obtained the warrant and was the prosecutor in the case. His testimony includes practically everything contained in the warrant itself and he also testified that he gave additional information contained in his testimony to the magistrate. Commonwealth v. Crawley, 209 Pa. Superior Ct. 70, 223 A.2d 885 (1966).

The following facts were related to the magistrate at the time he obtained the search warrant:

On April 4, 1969, he received complaints regarding the residence located at 175 South Wade Street, Washington, Pennsylvania and conducted a surveillance on that date and observed a vehicle in front of the residence. He found the license number of the car to be in the name of Andrew Rockwell, one of the defendants.

On April 7, 1969, he received information from a confidential informant that Robert J. Billock of 175 South Wade Avenue, Washington, Pennsylvania was expecting narcotics through the mail on either the 18, 19 or 20th of April.

He testified that his informant obtained the information from association with the defendants. He also testified that this informant had provided information to him in the past which resulted in the arrest and conviction of one William Teuteberg and he, therefore, considered his informant reliable. Trooper Patt then alerted the postal authorities concerning the arrival of the suspected contraband. On April 18, 1969, the witness was notified by the U. S. Postal ...


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