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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ALBERT EDWARD PASS (01/29/76)

decided: January 29, 1976.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ALBERT EDWARD PASS, APPELLANT



COUNSEL

Harold Gondelman, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Richard A. Sprague, Berger & Berger, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, and Manderino, JJ. Roberts, Nix and Manderino, JJ., concur in the result.

Author: O'brien

[ 468 Pa. Page 41]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, Albert Edward Pass, was tried by a judge and jury and found guilty of three counts of murder in the first degree. Post-trial motions were denied and appellant was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences. This appeal followed.

On December 29, 1969, Joseph Yablonski and his wife and daughter were shot to death at their home in Clarksville, Pennsylvania. Police investigation led to the arrest and subsequent conviction of appellant for his participation in these homicides. Prior to appellant's trial, this court granted appellant's motion for a change of venue from Washington County to Erie County. He was thereafter convicted of the homicides and now brings this appeal.

Appellant first argues that the Pennsylvania courts lacked proper jurisdiction over appellant thereby making

[ 468 Pa. Page 42]

    his conviction null and void. On May 2, 1972, appellant was indicted by a federal grand jury in the Western District of Pennsylvania. The federal indictments were a result of his alleged participation in the conspiracy to murder the Yablonski family. On May 5, 1972, appellant, represented by counsel, waived his right to contest the removal of his case to Pennsylvania, and on May 9, 1972, appellant was taken to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as a federal prisoner. He was thereafter indicted by the federal government for the violation of Joseph Yablonski's civil rights. In Pittsburgh, appellant was arrested by state authorities for the murder of the Yablonski family and was subsequently convicted of the homicides.

Appellant argues that the federal indictments which brought him to Pennsylvania were a subterfuge and, therefore, his state convictions must fail because he was brought to Pennsylvania illegally. We do not agree. Appellant, with the advice of counsel, chose to voluntarily come to Pennsylvania. Moreover, the manner in which appellant was brought into Pennsylvania by federal authorities would not affect the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania court in this case. Appellant was neither forcibly brought into Pennsylvania nor was he kidnapped by state or federal authorities for the purpose of bringing him to Pennsylvania. See Lujan v. Genzler, 2 Cir., 510 F.2d 62 (1975); Cf. United States v. Toscanino, 500 F.2d 267 (2d Cir. 1974).

Appellant next argues that the keyman grand jury selection process in Washington County is, as a matter of law, a denial of due process and equal protection of the law and, therefore, the indictment must be quashed. We do not agree.

In Commonwealth v. Martin, 465 Pa. 134, 348 A.2d 391 (1975), this court, in upholding the Washington County keyman petit jury selection system, made clear that the system was not unconstitutional per se, but that

[ 468 Pa. Page 43]

    only upon a showing that the jury commissioners and keymen were aware of irrelevant criteria such as age, race and political party, coupled with a sufficient evidentiary record that such information afforded a basis for selection or ...


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