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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. RICHARD SMITH (TWO CASES) (10/03/75)

decided: October 3, 1975.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT,
v.
RICHARD SMITH (TWO CASES)



COUNSEL

F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, Dist. Atty., Steven H. Goldblatt, Asst. Dist. Atty., Chief, Appeals Div., Carolyn Engel Temin, Asst. Dist. Atty., Abraham J. Gafni, Deputy Dist. Atty. for Law, Richard A. Sprague, First Asst. Dist. Atty., Philadelphia, for appellant.

Charlotte A. Nichols, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Roberts, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which Manderino, J., joins.

Author: Pomeroy

[ 463 Pa. Page 394]

OPINION OF THE COURT

This appeal by the Commonwealth raises the question whether the lower court erred in suppressing three incriminating statements made by Richard Smith following his arrest in May, 1973. The Commonwealth intended to use those statements in the prosecution of Smith for murder and several related offenses.*fn1 Prior to trial,

[ 463 Pa. Page 395]

Smith had moved to suppress his statements, on the ground that they were the product of an unnecessary delay between the time of his arrest and his arraignment and were therefore properly excludable under the rule announced by this Court in Commonwealth v. Futch, 447 Pa. 389, 290 A.2d 417 (1972).*fn2 The suppression court, relying upon the decisions of this Court in Commonwealth v. Williams, 455 Pa. 569, 319 A.2d 419 (1974) and Commonwealth v. Hancock, 455 Pa. 583, 317 A.2d 588 (1974), which applied Futch, found the statements here involved to be prejudicial, to have been obtained during a period of unnecessary delay, and to have resulted from the delay; hence the court's order of suppression. We are of the opinion that on the facts of this case such reliance was misplaced. Accordingly, we must reverse the order of suppression.

In Commonwealth v. Tingle, 451 Pa. 241, 301 A.2d 701 (1973), we emphasized that " Futch did not, and we do not here, establish a per se rule that all evidence obtained during an unnecessary delay be excluded. It is only upon the defendant's showing of prejudice from the

[ 463 Pa. Page 396]

    delay, i.e., a nexus between the delay and the challenged evidence that he is entitled to relief." Id. at 245, 301 A.2d at 703. It is this "nexus" which the defendant failed to demonstrate in this case. Commonwealth v. Wormsley, 461 Pa. 535, 541, 337 A.2d 282, 285 (1975).

At the suppression hearing, the following timetable of critical events was established for the ...


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