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COMMONWEALTH v. HALL (02/27/75)

decided: February 27, 1975.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
HALL, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Allegheny County, Nov. T., 1972, Nos. 9576 and 9577, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Walter Hall.

COUNSEL

John R. Cook, Trial Defender, John J. Dean, Chief, Appellate Division, and George H. Ross, Public Defender, for appellant.

Robert L. Eberhardt, Assistant District Attorney, and John J. Hickton, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Hoffman

[ 232 Pa. Super. Page 414]

Appellant contends that the lower court erred in allowing the introduction of testimony given by a witness at a juvenile court proceeding and at appellant's preliminary hearing after the witness had invoked the Fifth Amendment at appellant's trial.

On September 5, 1972, a public school in Pittsburgh was broken into and recording equipment was removed. As a result of the police investigation, Thomas Doyle, a juvenile, was arrested. Doyle testified at his own juvenile hearing and at appellant's preliminary hearing. On both occasions, he implicated the appellant as a co-conspirator. At appellant's trial, however, Doyle invoked his privilege against self-incrimination. Detective Thomas Abbott then testified that he arrested Walter Hall, the appellant, on September 21, 1972, on the strength of information given him by Doyle.

[ 232 Pa. Super. Page 415]

The Commonwealth moved to have the transcript of Doyle's juvenile hearing admitted into evidence. Over objection of defense counsel, the lower court granted the Commonwealth's motion. The court then permitted the District Attorney to read portions of that record where Doyle had testified. The Commonwealth then called Officer Parsons as a witness, again over objection by the defense, to testify as to the juvenile court hearing. After several questions were objected to and sustained, the following testimony was admitted over objection:

"Q. At the time of the October 16, 1972 hearing, there was a use of the word, 'cousin', associated with Mr. Thomas Doyle as a participant in that hearing. Who was the cousin that was referred to in those records?

"A. Walter Hall."

The defense made clear that the transcript of the Juvenile Court hearing revealed that the only persons present were Thomas Doyle, his father, and Patrick Doyle, his cousin. The transcript of appellant's preliminary hearing was admitted into evidence and certain portions were read from the record by the District Attorney. This was the only evidence implicating the appellant in the crime.

Appellant's sole contention is that the introduction of Doyle's prior testimony violated his Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments right "to be confronted with the witnesses against him . . ." See, Pointer v. Texas, 380 U.S. 400 (1965). We hold that the court erred in allowing the introduction of the juvenile court ...


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