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COMMONWEALTH v. DUTTON (07/02/73)

decided: July 2, 1973.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
DUTTON, APPELLANT



Appeals from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, April T., 1969, Nos. 221, 222, and 223, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Joseph Dutton.

COUNSEL

Charles A. Lord and John B. Day, for appellant.

Milton M. Stein, Assistant District Attorney, with him James J. Wilson, Assistant District Attorney, 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, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Manderino. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Pomeroy. Mr. Chief Justice Jones and Mr. Justice Eagen join in this dissenting opinion.

Author: Manderino

[ 453 Pa. Page 548]

Appellant, Joseph Dutton, was convicted of murder in the first degree, burglary and aggravated robbery on January 28, 1970, following a jury trial. Post-trial motions were denied. A sentence of life imprisonment was imposed on December 1, 1971, and this appeal followed.

Prior to trial, appellant requested the suppression of an inculpatory statement allegedly given by the appellant even though he refused to sign the statement. The trial court refused to suppress the statement. In his post-trial motions, appellant again claimed that the statement was involuntary and was a product of unnecessary

[ 453 Pa. Page 549]

    delay between arrest and preliminary arraignment.

Appellant was arrested without a warrant at approximately 10:05 a.m., at his home on January 28, 1969. Approximately seven hours earlier, a night watchman had been killed at a laundry company. Appellant was taken to police headquarters and a first round of interrogation began at 10:32 a.m. He was given advice concerning his constitutional rights and denied any involvement in the crime. The questioning of the appellant continued throughout the day and did not end until approximately 10:18 p.m., at which time the appellant refused to sign a formal statement. Appellant was not taken before a magistrate until the following day. The exact time is not clear from the record, but it was apparently at 12:41 p.m., approximately twenty-six hours after his arrest.

During the first eight hours after appellant's arrest, he was subjected to six different interrogation periods. The shortest period was approximately a half-hour and the longest period was approximately two hours. After the first three interrogation periods, a new officer began his participation in the interrogation process. After the first five interrogation sessions, another officer, who had not participated in the first five interrogation sessions, began his participation in the interrogation process. At one point, the appellant was given a polygraph test. During the first five interrogation sessions, appellant continually denied any involvement in the crime. After the sixth interrogation session, involving three officers, had been in progress continually for approximately an hour and a half, appellant, for the first time, made oral statements admitting involvement in the crime. This was approximately eight hours after his arrest and following six separate interrogation sessions throughout the day during which confrontation took place between the appellant and at least six different

[ 453 Pa. Page 550]

    police officers. A seventh interrogation session then followed for approximately three hours. At about 10:18 p.m., the appellant was asked to sign a formal statement and refused. He did ...


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