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COMMONWEALTH v. DREUITT (07/01/74)

decided: July 1, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH, APPELLANT,
v.
DREUITT



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Feb. T., 1972, No. 1147, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Andre Dreuitt.

COUNSEL

Cliff Haines, Assistant District Attorney, with him Edward G. Rendell and David Richman, Assistant District Attorneys, Abraham J. Gafni, Deputy District Attorney, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellant.

Jack M. Myers, with him Zack, Myers and Atkinson, for appellee.

Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice O'Brien. Mr. Chief Justice Jones concurs in the result. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Mr. Justice Nix and Mr. Justice Manderino join in this dissenting opinion. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Manderino.

Author: O'brien

[ 457 Pa. Page 347]

This appeal arises from an order granting appellee Andre Dreuitt's motion to suppress his confession in which he admitted complicity in a homicide. The Commonwealth has appealed that decision.

Pursuant to a valid arrest warrant, Andre Dreuitt was arrested in Baltimore, Maryland, at 5:40 a.m., on February 2, 1972, for his alleged role in the teenagegang killing of fourteen-year-old Keith Sworn in Philadelphia. The arrest was apparently based on statements taken from two other co-conspirators, who alleged that Dreuitt and two other youths, who had also fled to Baltimore, were among the five youths involved in the killing. At approximately 2:30 p.m., on February 2, 1972, the Philadelphia police were informed that Dreuitt and his two companions would waive their rights to an extradition hearing before they were taken back to Philadelphia.*fn1 At 8:00 p.m., on February 2, two Philadelphia police detectives arrived in Baltimore and left with Dreuitt and his two companions. The group arrived back in Philadelphia, at police headquarters, at approximately 10:50 p.m. The three suspects were separated and Dreuitt was immediately placed in a detention room. At approximately 11:00 p.m., on February 2, Dreuitt was advised of his constitutional rights, which he waived. He was then read excerpts from the

[ 457 Pa. Page 348]

    two formal statements of the first two alleged co-conspirators to have been apprehended, the statements which had apparently led to his arrest. According to police testimony, Dreuitt was then asked if "he was willing to give his side of the story." He replied that he was willing to make a statement, and the police left Dreuitt alone and went off to question the other two men who were arrested with him. From approximately 11:15 p.m., on February 2 until 5:45 a.m., on February 3, Dreuitt remained handcuffed to a chair in the detention room, except for a brief period, when he was given a meal.

Questioning resumed at 5:45 a.m. At that time, after again being advised of his constitutional rights, Dreuitt made a formal confession. The statement was concluded at 8:30 a.m. He was finally arraigned on February 3, 1972, at 11:15 a.m., some twelve hours after he was initially taken back to Philadelphia.

On March 14, 1972, Dreuitt filed a motion to suppress his confession. After a hearing, that motion was denied on April 24, 1972. Four days prior to that hearing, we decided in Commonwealth v. Futch, 447 Pa. 389, 290 A.2d 417 (1972), that a confession that was the product of an unnecessary delay between arrest and arraignment (Rule 118*fn* of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure) should not be admitted into evidence. Thereafter, Dreuitt's counsel filed a petition for reconsideration of his motion to suppress. This motion was denied by the court on the grounds that Futch would not be applied retroactively to the cases of confessions made before the decision was announced. Immediately prior to Dreuitt's trial, on March 16, 1973, we decided Commonwealth v. Tingle, 451 Pa. 241, 301 A.2d 701 (1973), which applied the Futch rule to a confession

[ 457 Pa. Page 349]

    made on June 27, 1971. A second petition for reconsideration of the motion to suppress was filed and, after a three-judge panel was convened, the confession was suppressed, with one member of the panel ...


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