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COMMONWEALTH v. RAY (06/28/72)

decided: June 28, 1972.

COMMONWEALTH, APPELLANT,
v.
RAY



Appeal from order of Superior Court, Oct. T., 1969, No. 987, affirming judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, May T., 1968, No. 519, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Frederick Ray.

COUNSEL

Thomas C. Carroll, Assistant Defender, with him Francis Wright, Assistant Defender, and Vincent J. Ziccardi, Defender, for appellant.

James D. Crawford, Deputy District Attorney, with him Milton M. Stein, Assistant 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, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Eagen.

Author: Eagen

[ 448 Pa. Page 308]

Frederick Ray was observed by two police officers acting in a suspicious manner as he stood on the northwest corner of Wallace and Eleventh Streets in Philadelphia. He furtively glanced at the officers and then made a sudden dash into a nearby bar, causing the police to chase in hot pursuit. Upon reaching the bar, the officers saw Ray drop a .22 calibre pistol to the floor, a firearm which later was discovered to be loaded

[ 448 Pa. Page 309]

    and unlicensed. Ray was taken into custody on the spot, escorted to police headquarters and later taken before a magistrate. Subsequently, an indictment was returned by the grand jury charging Ray with carrying a concealed deadly weapon,*fn1 and unlawfully carrying a firearm without a license.*fn2 Attached to the indictment was a small slip of paper reciting a summary offense*fn3 against Ray to wit, violation of Section 10-814 of the Philadelphia Code.*fn4

[ 448 Pa. Page 310]

On May 22, 1969, Ray appeared before the court for trial. The charges in the indictment were read to him (no mention was made of the summary offense) and Ray waived his right to trial by jury.

The first witness called by the Commonwealth was a police officer who had observed Ray with the gun and who had made the arrest. The next state witness, another policeman, testified that a search of the records revealed no license for the firearm had been issued. This same witness then attempted to testify concerning an incriminating statement Ray made to the police. The trial judge refused to allow this evidence, citing as his reason the Commonwealth's failure to establish a corpus delicti. The court asserted that the element lacking for proof of the corpus was that of concealment.

The assistant district attorney urged the court to allow the evidence of the statement to establish Ray's guilt under Section 10-814 of the Philadelphia Code, an offense which does not have concealment as a component part. The following colloquy then took place between the court and the state's attorney:

"Mr. Cox [assistant district attorney]: Not the essence, the summary offense charged on the indictable [sic], the summary would be a violation of the City ordinance 10-814 ...


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