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COMMONWEALTH v. AMBERS (09/19/73)

decided: September 19, 1973.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
AMBERS, APPELLANT



Appeals from order of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Sept. T., 1971, No. 477, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Thomas A. Ambers.

COUNSEL

Paul A. Prince, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.

J. David Bean, Assistant District Attorney, with him Stewart J. Greenleaf, Assistant District Attorney, William T. Nicholas, First Assistant District Attorney, and Milton O. Moss, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, Cercone, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Hoffman, J.

Author: Hoffman

[ 225 Pa. Super. Page 383]

Appellant contends that this Court should reverse his conviction for conspiracy to possess narcotics and possession and use of narcotics because his conviction was based on an unlawful search and seizure and insufficient evidence.

On September 13, 1971, appellant's wife informed the Lansdale police department that her husband violated his probation by checking into Montgomery Hospital for treatment related to drug use. She also stated that he could be found in Ann Winters' apartment -- Apartment B-3, Kenilworth Court Apartments in Lansdale. On the following day, an informant corroborated Mrs. Ambers' statement and provided the police with other information regarding Ambers and Winters. On the basis of this information a Lansdale police detective appeared before District Judge Sherwood Zepp at 3:00 p.m. on September 14 and presented him with the following affidavit:

"5. The facts upon which I rely and which I believe establish probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant are: based on information from a confidential informant, who has supplied information in the past which proved reliable and resulted in at least (5) arrests who stated that one Thomas Ambers, a convicted drug user (recently discharged from Montgomery Hospital for drug addiction) is presently on premises,

[ 225 Pa. Super. Page 384]

    along with Ann Winters (Lessee of Apt) and they are in possession of and using Heroin.

"That said informant, through personal conversation with Ambers and Winters was advised they are 'holding'. In addition informant has on many previous occasions witnessed Heroin and paraphernalia being used, possessed and controlled by Ambers, Winters and others.

"That this officer (affiant) on several occasions has confiscated drugs & paraphernalia in adjacent laundryroom, there concealed by Winters."

The detective also provided the Justice with the following oral information: (1) the content of his conversation with Mrs. Ambers; (2) That subsequent to his discovery of heroin in the laundryroom, he warned Winters not to hold heroin; and (3) The names of people whose arrests were based on the informant's earlier tips. ...


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