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COMMONWEALTH v. GLADFELTER (04/03/74)

decided: April 3, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
GLADFELTER, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas of York County, Jan. T., 1972, No. 327, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Charles E. Gladfelter.

COUNSEL

Glenn C. Vaughn, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.

J. Christian Ness, Assistant District Attorney, and Morrison B. Williams, First Assistant District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Watkins, P. J., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Hoffman, J. Price, J., dissents.

Author: Hoffman

[ 226 Pa. Super. Page 539]

This is an appeal from a judgment of sentence for aiding a prisoner to escape from the lawful custody of a police officer.*fn1

On January 20, 1972, at approximately 1:00 p.m., an off-duty Hanover Borough police officer saw appellant driving an automobile with two passengers, Robert Dull and Charles Bechtel. On that morning, the police officer had seen a warrant for Dull's arrest, charging him with assault and battery. The officer stopped the car, identified himself to appellant, and informed him that there was a warrant out for Dull's arrest. The officer then went around to the passenger side of the car told Dull that he was under arrest, and ordered him out of the car. When Dull got out, he struck the officer and ran down the street. The officer pursued, but could not apprehend him.

A few minutes later, Jacob Bechtel, who observed the entire incident, saw Dull return to the vehicle, and re-enter it from the passenger side, immediately after

[ 226 Pa. Super. Page 540]

    which the car sped away. Three hours later, the police stopped the car and arrested the occupants. At that time, Dull was driving the automobile. From the facts outlined above, the jury could properly infer that appellant aided Dull's escape from the police officer.

Appellant first contends that Dull was not legally in the officer's custody because he did not possess the warrant at the time of arrest.*fn2 Appellant disputes neither the existence of the warrant nor the basis for its issuance, but contends that the officer must have the warrant in order to effectuate a legal arrest. While it is generally accepted that a police officer may not make a warrantless arrest for a misdemeanor not committed in his presence, see Commonwealth v. Reeves, 223 Pa. Superior Ct. 51, 297 A.2d 142 (1973), there is no requirement that the arresting police officer actually have in his possession a warrant previously issued and present said warrant to the arrestee, especially where, as here, the arrestee flees the officer who attempts to make the lawful arrest.*fn3 Compare, Whiteley v. Warden, 401 U.S. 560, 568 (1971).

Appellant next contends that the court erred in admitting testimony concerning the existence of the arrest warrant. However, the terms and contents of the warrant were ...


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