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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. LOUIS STANTON (01/29/76)

decided: January 29, 1976.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
LOUIS STANTON, APPELLANT



COUNSEL

Rudolph S. Pallastrone, Geo. A. Bachetti, Philadelphia, for appellant.

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

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

Author: O'brien

[ 466 Pa. Page 144]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, Louis Stanton, was tried by a judge and jury on May 20, 1971, and was convicted of murder in the first degree on April 27, 1970, of David Fineman. On September 6, 1973, post-trial motions were denied by the court en banc and appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment. This appeal followed.

Appellant, age sixteen at the time of his arrest, argues that his confession should have been suppressed because of the lack of parental or interested adult consultation prior to the waiver of his Miranda rights. We agree.

The facts surrounding appellant's confession are as follows. On April 27, 1970, at 11:40 p. m., two Philadelphia police officers arrived at appellant's home and arrested him in connection with a murder investigation of the slaying of David Fineman at Thirteenth and Diamond Streets. At 12:10 a. m. on April 28, 1970, appellant arrived at the Police Administration Building and shortly thereafter was informed that he was arrested for the murder of David Fineman and was read his Miranda rights. At 12:30 a. m., appellant admitted participation in the shooting, and between 12:30 and 1:30 a. m., he was further interrogated as to the details of the murder. At approximately 2:30 a. m., appellant's aunt, Lorraine King, was admitted to the interrogation room and spoke with appellant. Shortly thereafter the detective returned, again warned appellant of his Miranda rights, and proceeded to take his formal statement, which was substantially the same as his informal oral statement.

In Commonwealth v. Chaney, 465 Pa. 407, 350 A.2d 829 (1975), this court stated:

". . . absent a showing that a juvenile had an opportunity to consult with an interested and informed

[ 466 Pa. Page 145]

    parent or adult or counsel before he waived his Miranda rights, his waiver will be ineffectual."

See Commonwealth v. McCutchen, 463 Pa. 90, 343 A.2d 669 (1975), Commonwealth v. Starkes, 461 Pa. 178, 335 A.2d 698 (1975), and Commonwealth v. Roane, 459 Pa. 389, 329 A.2d 286 (1974). In the instant case, the Commonwealth admits that appellant's aunt did not meet with appellant until after the giving of the oral statement which was substantially the same as the formal confession. ...


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