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COMMONWEALTH v. WILLIAMS (09/22/75)

decided: September 22, 1975.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
WILLIAMS, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Allegheny County, Feb. T., 1974, No. 0652, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Adolph Williams, Jr.

COUNSEL

Alan Frank, with him Frank & Radakovich, for appellant.

Charles W. Johns, Assistant District Attorney, with him Robert L. Eberhardt, Assistant District Attorney, John M. Tighe, First 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 Price, J. Hoffman, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Price

[ 236 Pa. Super. Page 186]

The appellant was tried and convicted before the Honorable Donald E. Ziegler, sitting without a jury, of conducting gambling operations.*fn1 Following the denial of motions for a new trial and arrest of judgment, this appeal was taken. Appellant here raises two alleged points of error. We find no merit to appellant's arguments and will, therefore, affirm the judgment of the lower court.

The facts as recited in Judge Ziegler's excellent opinion reveal the following: on December 15, 1973, Trooper Larry Dunmire of the Pennsylvania State Police secured a search warrant based on information supplied him by a confidential informant.*fn2 The informant stated that he had placed football wagers by telephone at numbers 279-2089 and 279-8746 on December 8, 9, 10, and 15, 1973.

Trooper Dunmire and three other police officers arrived at defendant's property at approximately 3:15 p.m. The police knocked on the side door and after about

[ 236 Pa. Super. Page 18730]

seconds, the appellant opened the curtain on the door. After Trooper Paraska identified the officers and stated their purpose, the appellant closed the curtain and ran from the door. The officers waited approximately 30 seconds more and then broke through the side door.

The troopers served a copy of the search warrant on appellant and advised him of his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). Appellant told the police that he was involved in the gambling operation, but that Joseph Regan, who was also present at the time, was not involved and should not be prosecuted. The officers conducted the search and confiscated $5,200 in cash and various gambling paraphernalia: line sheets, rice paper, wager lists, tablets, a pocket computer, and a slot machine. In addition, while the officers were conducting the search, they answered the telephones and recorded bets amounting to $200. When the police answered these calls, appellant would attempt to shout to the callers, "Don't say anything!" Each caller asked for "Junior." Defendant's complete name is Adolph Williams, Jr.

Appellant first argues that there was insufficient probable cause for the issuance of the warrant. The standard for determining the sufficiency of the affidavit was enunciated in Aguilar v. Texas, 378 U.S. 108 (1964): "Although an affidavit may be based on hearsay information and need not reflect the direct personal observations of the affiant, (citation omitted), the magistrate must be informed of some of the underlying circumstances from which the informant concluded that the [objects to be seized] were where he claimed they were, and some of the underlying circumstances from which the officer concluded that the informant, whose identity need not be disclosed, (citation omitted), was ...


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