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GEIGER APPEAL (09/19/73)


decided: September 19, 1973.


Appeal from order of Superior Court, Oct. T., 1971, No. 943, affirming order of Court of Common Pleas, Family Court Division, of Philadelphia, May T., 1970, No. 149005, in re in the matter of Alphonso Geiger.


Martha K. Treese, Assistant Defender, with her Jonathan Miller, Assistant Defender, and Vincent J. Ziccardi, Defender, for appellant.

James T. Ranney, Assistant 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 Pomeroy. Mr. Chief Justice Jones, Mr. Justice Eagen and Mr. Justice Manderino concur in the result.

Author: Pomeroy

[ 454 Pa. Page 52]

The appellant, Alphonso Geiger, was adjudicated a delinquent on two rape charges by the Juvenile Branch of the Family Division, Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, on June 26, 1970. He was subsequently ordered confined in the Youth Development Center South in Philadelphia. A petition for rehearing*fn1 was

[ 454 Pa. Page 53]

    filed and denied, and appellant prosecuted a direct appeal to the Superior Court, where his adjudication of delinquency was affirmed in a per curiam order entered without opinion. Geiger Appeal, 221 Pa. Superior Ct. 111, 288 A.2d 911 (1972).*fn2 We granted allocatur to review the question of whether a signed confession was properly admitted before the Juvenile Court. We conclude that it was not.

Two similar rapes were committed in the Philadelphia subway on April 25 and May 24, 1970. On May 28, 1970, at approximately 6:30 p.m., Geiger, then 15 years of age, was arrested for those offenses by a detective who matched his appearance to that of a composite drawing prepared from descriptions obtained from the victims. Appellant was searched (two knives were discovered), given Miranda warnings, and taken in custody to the Central Detective Office, where he was again given the constitutionally required warnings. Police officers testified that at 8:50 p.m. Geiger admitted his complicity, but furnished no details.

Arrangements were then made to bring the victim to a line-up, which took place at 11:00 p.m. Geiger, who had been furnished a meal meanwhile, was in the line-up but was not identified. He thereafter proved unwilling to repeat his earlier incriminating statement. Thereafter a polygraph examination was conducted, appellant was told the results were unsatisfactory, and he was further interrogated.

At 5:05 a.m. of the second day he again admitted complicity, now providing details of the crimes. A second line-up was arranged (shortly after 5:00 a.m., May 29th) and again appellant was not identified. From that time until 7:30 a.m., appellant was left in an

[ 454 Pa. Page 54]

    eight-by-twelve detention room, furnished with three or four chairs and a six-foot long table, and was permitted to rest. He was then briefly interrogated, fed breakfast, and left alone until 10:40 a.m., at which time he changed into clothing obtained by police during a search (pursuant to a warrant) of appellant's home.

From 12:15 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. he was again given a polygraph examination (for comparison purposes with the failed test of the previous evening). Thereafter a detective took, with the aid of a secretary, a written statement (ten pages) from appellant, which Geiger signed at 6:00 p.m., May 29th, almost twenty-four hours after his arrest the previous evening.

A timely-filed motion to suppress the written confession was denied, after hearing, by oral order of the Juvenile Court*fn3 and this document was introduced at

[ 454 Pa. Page 55]

    the adjudicatory hearing, held immediately thereafter.*fn4

We hold that Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 118*fn5 and our decisions in Commonwealth v. Futch, 447 Pa. 389, 290 A.2d 417 (1972), and Commonwealth v. Tingle, 451 Pa. 241, 301 A.2d 701 (1973), require that this written confession be suppressed because obtained after "unnecessary delay" and without timely presentation of appellant before a magistrate. In Futch this Court announced that noncompliance by the arresting officer with the requirements of Rule 118 would require that all evidence produced or obtained during the delay would be suppressed, save that which "has no reasonable relationship to the delay whatsoever." 447 Pa. at 394. It would serve no useful purpose to repeat here the reasoning of the Futch and Tingle decisions.*fn6

[ 454 Pa. Page 56]

It is the position of the Commonwealth that Rule 118 (and hence our decisions in Futch and Tingle) do not directly control here because appellant is a juvenile and Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 1(a) contains the following exception: "These rules shall govern criminal proceedings in all courts including courts not of record. Unless otherwise specifically provided, these rules shall not apply to juvenile or domestic proceedings nor to summary cases in Philadelphia County."*fn7

What is excepted from the general application of the Rules of Criminal Procedure are "juvenile . . . proceedings." To reach the conclusion that the lengthy interrogation by police authorities of this youth is excepted from the reach of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, we must first conclude that this was a "juvenile proceeding." This we are unable to do. The act of the police in arresting a juvenile is not by itself the initiation of a "juvenile proceeding." To the contrary, we hold that the phrase in question in Rule 118 refers to proceedings conducted under the Juvenile Court Law, Act of June 2, 1933, P. L. 1433, 11 P.S. § 243 et seq.*fn8

[ 454 Pa. Page 57]

Under the Juvenile Court Law, proceedings may be commenced as set forth in § 4, 11 P.S. § 246:

"§ 246. Initiation of Proceedings.

"The powers of the court may be exercised --

"1. Upon the petition of any citizen, resident of the county, setting forth that (a) a child, giving his or her name, age, and residence, is neglected, dependent or delinquent, and is in need of care, guidance and control, (b) the names and residence of the parents, if any, or of his or her legal guardian if there be one, (c) the name and residence of the person or persons having control of the child, and (d) the name and residence of the nearest relative if no parent or guardian can be found.

"2. Upon commitment, by a magistrate, alderman or justice of the peace, of a child arrested for any indictable offense, other than murder, or for the violation of any other laws of this Commonwealth or the ordinance of any city, borough or township.

"3. There shall be no preliminary hearings in any cases affecting dependent, delinquent or neglected children under the age of eighteen years."

It would appear from the above quoted section that the Legislature envisioned that juveniles, like adults, would be brought before a magistrate after arrest and that the magistrate, rather than hold the juvenile for a preliminary hearing, would commit the child to the custody of the Juvenile Court, at which time "[t]he powers of [that] court [would] be exercised." We think it clear that the Criminal Rules apply until the point at which the powers of the Juvenile Court come into play under the Juvenile Court Law. That point was not reached here until after the police authorities had held appellant in custody for twenty-four hours and until after the written confession had been finally obtained. It follows that Rule 118 applies and that Commonwealth v. Futch requires that this confession,

[ 454 Pa. Page 58]

    obtained during a period manifestly unrelated to completion of administrative processing or unrelated to a brief exculpatory investigation, must be suppressed.*fn9

The adjudication of delinquency is reversed and the matter is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

It is so ordered.


Adjudication of delinquency reversed and matter remanded for further proceedings.

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