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COMMONWEALTH v. SANTIAGO (06/21/74)

decided: June 21, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
SANTIAGO, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Aug. T., 1972, No. 257, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Wilfredo Santiago.

COUNSEL

John W. Packel, Assistant Defender, and Vincent J. Ziccardi, Defender, for appellant.

David Richman, Assistant District Attorney, and F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Watkins, P. J., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Price, J. Hoffman and Spaeth, JJ., concur in the result.

Author: Price

[ 229 Pa. Super. Page 75]

The appellant, Wilfredo Santiago, was convicted of robbery following a trial without a jury on November

[ 229 Pa. Super. Page 761]

, 1972. Motions to suppress the identifications made by the complainant and an eyewitness were denied before trial. Post-trial motions for new trial were denied, and appellant was sentenced on December 19, 1972, to serve not less than one year nor more than three years imprisonment.

The issues before us on this appeal concern an on-the-scene confrontation between appellant and the complainant, and a confrontation in the police station between the appellant and an eyewitness. The appellant alleges that both of the identifications which resulted from these confrontations were obtained by improperly suggestive methods, that the latter violated appellant's right to counsel, and that both should have been suppressed at trial.

Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, as we must, Commonwealth v. Hornberger, 441 Pa. 57, 270 A.2d 195 (1970) the testimony establishes the following situation. At 9:05 p.m. on July 1, 1972, Officers Roantree and Ford of the Philadelphia Police Department received a radio call from headquarters concerning a purse snatching at Twentieth and Nectarine Streets. The description given was that of a black male, twenty-five years old, wearing a white "T" shirt, dark pants, and a large Afro-bush haircut. The officers saw an individual who fit this description running through the Linton Restaurant parking lot, approximately two blocks from the scene of the crime. Officer Roantree followed the appellant into Linton's and at 9:10 p.m. put him under arrest, and patted him down.*fn1 The appellant was immediately placed in the patrol wagon, and driven one block, to Seventeenth and Spring Garden Streets, where the complainant was waiting with an Officer McCann, in another patrol car.

[ 229 Pa. Super. Page 77]

Officer Roantree testified (NT 7) that Officer Ford parked their car behind Officer McCann's, and both police officers got out of the wagon and let the appellant out of the back. All three then approached the complainant. As soon as the complainant saw appellant, she positively identified him as the robber. The appellant was not wearing handcuffs.

Appellant was then taken to the Detectives' Office in the Ninth Police District. In order to reach the Detectives' Office, which is on the second floor, the appellant had to be taken through a waiting room on the first floor. Officer Roantree testified (NT 20-23) that he personally conducted the appellant to the Detectives' Office, that he noticed a man in the waiting room watching their progress, but that he did not know at the time that that man was an eyewitness to the pursesnatching.*fn2 ...


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