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COMMONWEALTH v. WRIGHT (04/03/74)

decided: April 3, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
WRIGHT, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, June T., 1972, Nos. 514 and 517, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. James Wright.

COUNSEL

Louis W. Fryman, with him Ronald Ervais, and Becker, Fryman & Ervais, for appellant.

James Garrett, Assistant District Attorney, with him David Richman, Assistant District Attorney, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, and Spaeth, JJ. (Spaulding, J., absent.) Opinion by Jacobs, J. Dissenting Opinion by Hoffman, J. Spaeth, J., joins in this dissenting opinion.

Author: Jacobs

[ 227 Pa. Super. Page 135]

This is an appeal from a judgment of sentence, following a jury trial, on charges of bribery and corrupt solicitation.*fn1 The issues raised by the defendant-appellant on appeal involve the admissibility into evidence of a tape recording, the transfer of the case from the Philadelphia Municipal Court to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, and the correctness of the lower court's charge. For the reasons hereinafter stated, we affirm.

[ 227 Pa. Super. Page 136]

Appellant asserts that a tape recording was erroneously admitted into evidence over objection. It is his contention that the recording was not properly authenticated, that its poor quality and prejudicial nature precluded its evidentiary use, and that testimony relating to its custody in police hands was not credible. A brief summary of certain testimony and events at trial will be helpful to a disposition of this issue:

Officer James Malloy testified that on March 14, 1972, the defendant, James Wright, a Philadelphia police officer, approached Malloy. Malloy stated that the defendant handed him $250 to be divided among the members of Malloy's squad for the purpose of influencing them to not arrest certain persons involved in the gambling operations of a specified individual.

Following this meeting, Malloy notified his superiors, who instructed him to arrange another meeting. Malloy contacted the defendant on April 7th and arranged to meet him at 49th Street and Woodland Avenue. Before proceeding to the meeting, Officer Malloy was equipped with a microphone and transmitting device. A tape recorder was installed in the trunk of Malloy's car by Officer Thomas Howard who then started the recording device. Malloy proceeded to 49th and Woodland and parked his car.

Officer Joel Goodwin testified that he drove the defendant to 49th and Woodland at the request of the defendant who stated that he was to meet an informant. Officer Goodwin stated that the defendant left their car for a few minutes but due to the obstructed vision he could not state where the defendant had gone.

Officer Malloy testified that a few minutes after he parked his car, Wright approached the car, got in, and handed Malloy $275 to be divided among the members of his ...


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