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COMMONWEALTH v. WILLIAMS (03/25/74)

decided: March 25, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
WILLIAMS, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Sept. T., 1970, Nos. 1174, 1175, and 1176, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Hugh Sinclair Williams.

COUNSEL

Thomas B. Rutter, for appellant.

Louis A. Perez, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, with him David Richman, James T. Ranney, and Milton M. Stein, Assistant District Attorneys, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Roberts

[ 455 Pa. Page 570]

Appellant Hugh Sinclair Williams moved pretrial to suppress oral and written statements implicating him in the murder of a Philadelphia policeman. The motion was denied and a jury found appellant

[ 455 Pa. Page 571]

    guilty. Post-trial motions were denied and consecutive sentences imposed.*fn1 We reverse and remand for a new trial.*fn2

Police arrested Williams without a warrant on August 29, 1970, at approximately 8:30 p.m. Appellant was taken to the Police Administration Building and questioning began.*fn3 Initially appellant denied involvement in the murder. At 3:30 a.m., according to the police account, appellant made an incriminating statement.

Nevertheless, the police continued interrogation intermittently for seventeen additional hours as they endeavored to have Williams supplement his original admissions. During this period the police checked the accuracy of appellant's confession. A formal written statement was begun at 8:30 p.m., twenty-four hours after arrest, and signed at 9:55 p.m. Appellant was arraigned at 11:30 p.m.

Williams raises several issues concerning his interrogation and various allegedly erroneous rulings by the trial judge.*fn4 We need address only one: Did the delay

[ 455 Pa. Page 572]

    between arrest and arraignment violate Pennsylvania Rule of ...


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