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COMMONWEALTH v. JONES (07/01/74)

decided: July 1, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
JONES, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Aug. T., 1969, Nos. 672 to 675, inclusive, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Bruce Eugene Jones.

COUNSEL

Hal F. Doig, for appellant.

Maxine J. Stotland, Assistant District Attorney, with her Milton M. Stein, Assistant District Attorney, 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 Nix. Mr. Chief Justice Jones took no part in the consideration or decision of this case. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts.

Author: Nix

[ 457 Pa. Page 425]

This is a direct appeal after convictions on charges of murder in the first degree, burglary, and aggravated

[ 457 Pa. Page 426]

    robbery.*fn1 Appellant raises three issues: (1) that he was arrested without probable cause in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and that evidence seized as a result of that arrest was therefore inadmissible at trial; (2) that the confession elicited from appellant was tainted by the illegal arrest and therefore inadmissible; and (3) that the confession was coerced in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and was therefore inadmissible at trial.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. on June 25, 1969, Roger Crudup was shot and killed during the robbery of his grocery store at 5416 Westminster Avenue in Philadelphia. A neighbor, Mr. Minor, testified that he saw two boys outside of the store who were joined by three others fleeing from the store. Mr. Minor chased the boys in his car south on 54th Street to Ogden Street, and east on Ogden to 52nd Street where three of the boys caught a bus and two fled down an alley. At that point, Officer Green took up the chase until he lost track of one of the boys at 50th and Brown Streets.

Officer Abrams testified that he received information on the police radio that a robbery had been committed at 54th and Westminster by "four or five Negro males between the ages of 17 and 21 in dark clothing" and that the robbers had fled eastward. Officer Abrams observed the appellant, who fit the above description, walking very fast in the 4900 block of

[ 457 Pa. Page 427]

Parrish Street, breathing heavily,*fn2 perspiring, and frequently looking over his shoulder.*fn3 The officer stopped the appellant and asked him where he was coming from. Appellant replied that he had been to a girl friend's house at 53rd and Poplar. Officer Abrams flagged down a patrol wagon manned by Officers Stafford and Chapman. Those officers frisked the appellant prior to ordering him into the police van to be taken to Misercordia Hospital for possible identification by the victim.*fn4 They testified that such a frisk was "standard procedure" prior to transporting a prisoner. The frisk revealed a .32 caliber ammunition "clip" which was introduced at trial.

The court below found that the initial officer had probable cause to apprehend the appellant and that the subsequent search was incident to a lawful arrest. We agree.*fn5 Under exigent circumstances, the Fourth Amendment allows a warrantless arrest. However, the arrest must be based upon probable cause. See, McCray v. Illinois, 386 U.S. 300 (1966); Ker v. California, 37 ...


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