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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. CLEVELAND ABNER (03/18/75)

decided: March 18, 1975.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
CLEVELAND ABNER, APPELLANT



COUNSEL

Louis M. Natali, Jr., Segal, Appel & Natali, Philadelphia, for appellant.

F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, Jr., Dist. Atty., Richard A. Sprague, First Asst. Dist. Atty., Steven H. Goldblatt, Asst. Dist. Atty., Chief, Appeals Div., James Garrett, Asst. Dist. Atty., Abraham J. Gafni, Deputy Dist. Atty. for Law, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Pomeroy, J., filed a concurring opinion. Manderino, J., concurs in the result.

Author: O'brien

[ 460 Pa. Page 322]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, Cleveland Abner, was tried by a judge and jury and found guilty of murder in the first degree and aggravated robbery. Post-trial motions were denied, and appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment for the first-degree murder conviction and a concurrent sentence of ten to twenty years for the aggravated robbery conviction. This appeal followed.

Appellant's conviction arose out of the robbery-murder of Arthur Rudolph, age seventy-seven, in the City of Philadelphia, on January 2, 1971.

Appellant first argues that his confession was the product of an unnecessary delay between his arrest

[ 460 Pa. Page 323]

    and arraignment and, therefore, should have been excluded. We do not agree.

The facts surrounding appellant's confession are as follows. On January 2, 1971, appellant, age eighteen, was arrested at his home at approximately 6:30 p. m. He was then transferred to police headquarters and his mother followed in a separate police vehicle. Appellant arrived at police headquarters at 7:30 p. m., and was advised of the charges against him. He was then left alone until 8:15 p. m., when he was taken to the men's room. At 9:15 p. m., appellant was given his Miranda rights, which he chose to waive. From 9:15 p. m., until 10:00 p. m., appellant was interviewed by police and gave an oral admission admitting his complicity in the homicide of Arthur Rudolph. At 10:15 p. m. appellant was rewarned of his Miranda rights and thereafter gave a formal written statement which was the same as his oral statement. The formal statement was concluded at 11:30 p. m., on January 2, 1971.

We are of the opinion that the delay from 7:30 p. m. until 9:15 p. m., when appellant gave oral admission, was not unnecessary. The one-and-three-quarter-hour period was used by the police to inform appellant of the charges against him and to feed appellant. In Commonwealth v. Rowe, 459 Pa. 163, 327 A.2d 358, 361, we were presented with an analogous situation and held that the "initial delay, primarily an administrative one, cannot on this record be viewed as unnecessary."

Having found appellant's oral admission was not the product of any unnecessary delay and that the oral admission was, in substance, the same as his formal written statement, any unnecessary delay involved in obtaining the formal written statement would not be prejudicial to appellant, ...


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