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COMMONWEALTH v. YOUNG (03/25/74)

decided: March 25, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
YOUNG, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Feb. T., 1969, Nos. 1330, 1331 and 1332, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. James L. Young.

COUNSEL

Jerome E. Furman, with him Anthony J. Caiazzo, for appellant.

David Richman, Assistant District Attorney, with him James J. Wilson, Assistant District Attorney, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Mr. Chief Justice Jones dissents.

Author: Roberts

[ 456 Pa. Page 104]

James Young appeals from his convictions of murder in the second degree, aggravated robbery, and burglary with intent to commit a felony.*fn1 We reverse and grant a new trial.

The crimes with which appellant was charged grew out of the killing of Martin Snader. On November 22, 1968, at 10:40 a.m., Snader was found lying on the floor of his jewelry store with a bullet in the left side of his head. He died a few hours later.

A Philadelphia police officer on November 30, 1968, stopped the automobile appellant was driving because he thought appellant was driving too slowly. The officer testified that when asked for his driver's license, appellant responded that he did not have one. At this time, the officer, according to his testimony, spotted a revolver on the floor of appellant's automobile. He then arrested appellant for violating The Vehicle Code. Subsequently, appellant was arraigned for violating both The Vehicle Code and the Uniform Firearms Act. Appellant could not raise his $300 bail, so he was imprisoned pending trial.

The revolver seized from appellant was turned over to a firearms examiner for the Philadelphia police. His

[ 456 Pa. Page 105]

    conclusion that the bullet found in Snader's head matched bullets which he fired from the seized revolver prompted the police to interrogate appellant.

On December 2, 1968, the police obtained a "bring-up" order, signed "as best as [the district attorney's office] can decipher," by Edward J. Blake, who at the time was serving as Court Administrator of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia. At 5:15 p.m. that day, three officers, acting under the authority of the "bring-up" order, transferred appellant from the detention center to the Police Administration Building.

Appellant arrived there at 6:00 p.m. Five minutes later police read appellant his Miranda*fn2 rights, which the Commonwealth claims appellant waived. The first questioning session lasted from 6:25 to 7:10 p.m. Appellant was then left alone. At 7:30 a polygraph examination was administered which ended at 8:48 p.m. From then until 10:30 that evening, appellant was questioned continuously by three officers. After appellant briefly used the restroom, his interrogation again commenced at 11:05. An officer present at this questioning testified that appellant made his first inculpatory statement at 12:30 a.m. Not until 1:30 a.m. were the police satisfied and appellant allowed to return to the detention center. Appellant made no written statement at this time and signed nothing.

About an hour later at 2:40 in the morning of December 3, appellant arrived at the detention center. One of the interrogating officers directed that appellant be separated from all inmates. Accordingly, appellant was placed in an "isolation cell," which had no windows, lights, blankets, or pillows. The isolation cell contained a steel block hanging from the wall which served as a bed. Appellant remained there for over thirty-two hours until 11:30 in the morning of December

[ 456 Pa. Page 1064]

. He testified that during this time he was fed a single meal.

At 11:30, appellant was retrieved from the detention center by two officers, pursuant to a second "bring-up" order. The officers informed appellant for the first time that he was under arrest for the murder of Martin Snader. Appellant was not arraigned. He was taken to be interrogated at the Police Administration Building and arrived there at approximately noon. From noon until 3:55 p.m., a formal statement was taken. All questioning terminated at 4:25 p.m. Appellant read and signed his statement.

The first official record of appellant's arrest for murder was made at 5:30 p.m., December 4, when he was "slated." ...


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