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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ANDREW T. ROGERS (10/03/75)

decided: October 3, 1975.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ANDREW T. ROGERS, APPELLANT



COUNSEL

Nino v. Tinari, Philadelphia, for appellant.

F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, Dist. Atty., Steven H. Goldblatt, Asst. Dist. Atty., Chief, Appeals Div., Philadelphia, for appellee.

Manderino, Justice. Eagen, O'Brien and Pomeroy, JJ., concurred in the result.

Author: Manderino

[ 463 Pa. Page 401]

OPINION OF THE COURT

The appellant, Andrew Rogers, was convicted on October 16, 1973, of burglary, aggravated robbery, murder in the first degree, and murder in the second degree, and sentenced to a term of life imprisonment. Post-verdict motions were denied and this appeal followed.

Appellant contends (1) that his motion to suppress certain statements made by him should have been granted because they were the result of an unnecessary delay between his arrest and arraignment; (2) that these statements were not voluntarily given; (3) that his

[ 463 Pa. Page 402]

Fifth Amendment rights were violated at trial; and, finally, (4) that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. We find no merit in any of appellant's contentions, and affirm the judgment of sentence.

On July 17, 1972, at approximately 1:50 a.m., appellant was arrested without a warrant by officers who had received reliable information to the effect that appellant was implicated in the murders of two women. Appellant was then taken to the Police Administration Building, arriving at 2:05 a.m., the same morning. At 2:24 a.m., after giving the Miranda warnings, the police began to interview appellant. This interview lasted from 2:24 a.m., to 4:3 1 a.m. The questions and answers were noted on paper by one of the interviewing officers. At the conclusion of the interview, appellant signed each page of the notes of the oral statement. At no time during the interview did appellant deny involvement in the crimes; but rather, he freely and explicitly admitted his involvement, giving background and details about the perpetration of the crimes. Thereafter appellant was left to eat, rest, and use the rest room until 8:00 a.m., when he was examined by the police surgeon. Between 8:06 a.m. and 9:22 a.m., appellant was again fed and allowed to rest. At 9:59 a.m., pursuant to a warrant, samples of appellant's head and pubic hair were taken. At 10:30 a.m., also pursuant to a warrant, a blood sample was taken. From 10:38 a.m. to 11:50 a.m., appellant was again fed and permitted to rest. From 11:50 a.m. to 3:25 p.m., a polygraph examination was administered to him. Following the test, he rested until he talked to his wife at 4:15 p.m. At 4:30 p.m., appellant identified property taken from the scene of the crimes. Between 5:00 p.m. and 9:25 p.m., a formal statement was taken from appellant. The statement reiterated the oral statement made earlier, and was signed on each page by appellant. At 9:35 p.m., approximately twenty-one and a half hours after his arrest, appellant was arraigned.

[ 463 Pa. Page 403]

Appellant's initial contention is that his alleged confessions should have been suppressed because they were the product of unnecessary delay between arrest and arraignment. In support of this contention, he cites Commonwealth v. Futch, 447 Pa. 389, 290 A.2d 417 (1972); Commonwealth v. Dixon, 454 Pa. 444, 311 A.2d 613 (1973); Commonwealth v. Dutton, 453 Pa. 547, 307 A.2d 238 (1973) and Commonwealth v. Tingle, 451 Pa. 241, 301 A.2d 701 (1973).

All of the cases cited above are clear examples of situations where unnecessary delay produced the challenged statements. In the instant case, however, such a causal relationship between the statements and the delay in arraignment does not exist. Within minutes of reaching the Police Administration Building, appellant gave a clear, detailed report of his role in the crimes of which he was accused. No protestations of innocence were made, and he demonstrated no hesitancy in signing the documents confessing his guilt. While appellant's formal statement was not taken until seventeen hours after his arrest, the record clearly indicates that it contained substantially the same information contained in the initial oral statement. While the delay between arrest and arraignment presented to us in this case was substantial, the record is devoid of any indication that such delay produced any evidence prejudicial to appellant. We find the instant case strikingly similar to Commonwealth v. Rowe, 459 Pa. 163, 327 A.2d 358 (1974). In Rowe, the accused made an oral admission soon after his arrival at police headquarters. Seven hours later he reiterated his confession in a formal ...


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