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COMMONWEALTH v. TAYLOR (12/01/75)

decided: December 1, 1975.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
TAYLOR, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County, No. 74-10, 437, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. James D. Taylor.

COUNSEL

Peter T. Campana, with him Campana & Campana, for appellant.

Gregory V. Smith, Assistant District Attorney, with him Allen E. Ertel, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Watkins, P. J., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Watkins, P.j. Jacobs and Hoffman, JJ., concur in the result.

Author: Watkins

[ 237 Pa. Super. Page 214]

This is an appeal from the judgment of sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Lycoming County, by the defendant-appellant, James D. Taylor, after conviction in a non-jury trial of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor; from the denial of his petition to suppress evidence, and from the denial of the post-trial motions. He had been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter also, but his motion for arrest of judgment was granted by the court below on that charge.

The first issue he raises is that his consent to a blood alcohol test was not knowingly and willingly made and the court below erred in denying his petition to suppress the evidence. The court below, following his suppression hearing before Judge Thomas C. Raup, made the following findings of fact:

"On March 9, 1974, the Defendant, James D. Taylor, was involved in a motor vehicle accident and was taken to the Jersey Shore Hospital. Officers of the Jersey Shore Police radioed to that hospitel to request a blood sample be obtained from the defendant. Upon arrival at the hospital the officers were advised by employees of the hospital that the defendant had refused. Officer Eichenlaub asked the defendant if he would consent to a blood-alcohol test and the defendant responded that he wanted to confer with his parents. The defendant is a 21 year old male. The hospital refused to extract blood unless there was a consent by the patient. The police officers conferred with the County District Attorney and advised the defendant that if he did not consent to a blood alcohol test that they would proceed to obtain a search warrant and take him to the Williamsport Hospital for extraction of blood pursuant to the warrant, the Jersey Shore Hospital having advised them that even with a warrant they would not permit the extraction of blood

[ 237 Pa. Super. Page 215]

    unless there was consent. The defendant talked for approximately 10 minutes with his mother and in addition talked to a Mr. Ludwig, a friend of his, and to the doctor and a nurse with respect to the advisability of consenting to the test before agreeing to sign a written consent to submit to a blood test. Although the defendant was indecisive initially, the Court finds that he was aware of what he was doing and of the nature and quality of his act in consenting."

After trial, he raised this question before the trial Judge Charles F. Greevy, who in his opinion said:

"We have reviewed the finding of fact, conclusions of law and order filed by The Honorable Thomas C. Raup and are in agreement that the defendant's consent to the blood-alcohol test was knowingly and willingly made and that the defendant's constitutional ...


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