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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. BENNIE LEE SCOTT (11/22/76)

decided: November 22, 1976.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
BENNIE LEE SCOTT, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Family Division, Juvenile Branch, of Philadelphia County, at No. 3349-75-4. No. 1827 October Term, 1975.

COUNSEL

Joseph M. Casey, Assistant Public Defender, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Steven H. Goldblatt, Assistant District Attorney, and F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, District Attorney, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ. Van der Voort, J., concurs in the result. Spaeth, J., files a concurring opinion.

Author: Hoffman

[ 246 Pa. Super. Page 62]

Appellant, a juvenile, raises several contentions challenging the juvenile court's finding that appellant was delinquent: (1) that the Commonwealth presented insufficient evidence to prove robbery and simple assault; (2) that evidence of an out-of-court identification should have been suppressed because appellant was denied his right to counsel at the lineup; and (3) that an oral statement made by appellant to the arresting officer should have been suppressed.*fn1

Appellant was arrested in the home of his cousin, Willie Clark, on the morning of April 14, 1975. He was charged in a juvenile petition with robbery, "purse snatch," theft, receiving stolen property, and simple assault. Appellant filed a motion to suppress and a hearing was held on July 7, 1975, at which time the following facts were presented: At about 6:30 a. m., on April 14, 1975, the complainant was waiting for a bus at the corner of 16th and Dauphin Streets, Philadelphia, when a young man "snatched" her purse and fled around the corner. Police arrived shortly thereafter. The complainant described her assailant as a black male, 16 or 17 years-old, about 5' 10", wearing a green jacket and blue pants.

A few minutes after the incident occurred, Officer Huff of the Philadelphia Police Department, received a radio call describing the suspect. When the officer arrived in the vicinity where the purse snatching had taken place, an unidentified motorist told the officer that a youth, about 5' 10", carrying a woman's purse, had run into a home on North 16th Street. The officer testified as follows: "I went to this house, and I was admitted by a Mr. Clark. I asked him did anyone come into the

[ 246 Pa. Super. Page 63]

    house, and he said he didn't know. I asked him would it be all right -- I told him what happened, and I asked him would it be all right to look around.

"He said it was fine, it was all right.

"I asked him what was upstairs.

"He said a cousin of his, . . . .

"I went to the second floor, and I saw [appellant] there on the second floor. . . .

"Q. What was he doing?

"A. He was laying on the bed, and I got him up off the bed. He had on no shirt, just a pair of trousers -- I think they were short trousers.

"Q. What happened?

"A. I asked Mr. Clark could I look around and search the house, and he said, yes . . . .

"I looked in the dresser and inside a drawer was a small change purse.

"Q. In which room is this dresser?

"A. In the room where the defendant was, on the second floor.

"Q. Then what happened?

"A. I took the pocketbook -- the defendant had went back downstairs -- I took the pocketbook and held it in my hand, and I went downstairs and asked did anyone have any money upstairs. . . .

"About two minutes later [appellant] said he had money, he had been saving money to buy something."

The complainant's identification was found in the purse. At that point, appellant was arrested and taken to the 17th and Montgomery stationhouse.

Meanwhile, the police had taken the complainant to the police station. Shortly thereafter, the police arrived with appellant and conducted a lineup. "[The police] brought them into the precinct; there were four -- ...


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