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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. GEORGE JUSTICE MITCHELL (02/18/77)

decided: February 18, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
GEORGE JUSTICE MITCHELL, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, Crim. at No. 1179, 1974. No. 1500 October Term 1975.

COUNSEL

Edward F. Browne, Jr., Assistant Public Defender, Lancaster, for appellant.

Robert A. Longo, Assistant District Attorney, and D. Richard Eckman, District Attorney, Lancaster, for appellee.

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

Author: Spaeth

[ 246 Pa. Super. Page 134]

On appeal from his conviction for theft, appellant claims that the trial judge erred (1) in permitting testimony by the arresting officer that appellant chose to remain silent, and (2) in prohibiting appellant from offering witnesses who would testify that a third party had told them that he, and not appellant, had committed the crime. We reverse on the first ground and therefore do not reach the second.*fn1

[ 246 Pa. Super. Page 135]

The arresting officer testified that after giving the Miranda warnings, he questioned appellant as follows:

I then asked him about the burglary at Doctors Brady, Kegel and France Offices, and he denied any knowledge of the burglary.

I then confronted him with the lug wrench [found at the scene of the burglary] and told him that this is how I broke the case, and he immediately made recognition of the lug wrench. He said, oh, that was ripped off, stolen from my apartment sometime in April or May, along with a stereo set. He said, I have a lot of Toyota tools in my apartment.

I then advised him that I had contradictory information regarding his possession of the lug wrench, and then he said he had no more to say and would commit suicide.

THE COURT: What is that?

THE WITNESS: He had no more to say, and he would ...


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