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COMMONWEALTH v. CEPHAS (05/25/72)

decided: May 25, 1972.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
CEPHAS, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Superior Court, Oct. T., 1969, Nos. 501 to 519, inclusive, affirming judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, Aug. T., 1967, Nos. 1448 to 1466, inclusive, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Harold Cephas, Jr.

COUNSEL

Francis S. Wright, Assistant Defender, with him Vincent J. Ziccardi, Defender, for appellant.

Milton M. Stein, Assistant District Attorney, with him James D. Crawford, Deputy District Attorney, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Eagen. Mr. Justice Roberts and Mr. Justice Manderino concur in the result. Mr. Chief Justice Jones dissents. Mr. Justice Nix took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Eagen

[ 447 Pa. Page 502]

This is an appeal from the per curiam order of the Superior Court, affirming the judgments of sentence imposed on the appellant,*fn1 Harold Cephas, following his conviction by a jury in Philadelphia of the crimes of conspiracy, fraudulent conversion, fraudently making and uttering written instruments, and uttering worthless checks. The primary question presented, one of first impression before this Court, is whether appellant's

[ 447 Pa. Page 503]

Fourth Amendment rights were violated by the evidentiary use at trial (over objection and after a timely motion to suppress) of the testimony of a witness found during an illegal search of appellant's apartment.

The record discloses the following pertinent facts.

On June 27, 1967, the police conducted an admittedly illegal search of appellant's apartment.*fn2 During the course of the unlawful search the police seized various physical objects, and illegally arrested numerous individuals present in the apartment. One such individual, Anne Mangini, was immediately taken to police headquarters and questioned over an extended period of time. She subsequently gave a statement to the police, which implicated herself and the appellant in the crimes which are the subject of this appeal. She informed the police that appellant and herself engaged in a fraudulent check cashing operation whereby she, at the urging of appellant, would take a forged check into a bank and "split deposit" the proceeds, that is, after opening an account under a fictitious name, she would deposit a portion of the check in the account, and receive the remainder in cash.

Anne Mangini, prior to the trial of appellant plead guilty to the crimes, and agreed to testify as a witness for the Commonwealth against appellant. She had not been sentenced at the time of appellant's trial.

A pre-trial suppression hearing was held at which time the Commonwealth conceded that the search was illegal and that all physical evidence seized in the ...


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