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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. BARBARA JONES (02/18/77)

decided: February 18, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT,
v.
BARBARA JONES, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, at No. CC7500346A, granting Motion to Suppress. No. 541 April Term 1975.

COUNSEL

Charles W. Johns, Assistant District Attorney, Pittsburgh, with him John J. Hickton, District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Larry P. Gaitens, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Watkins, P. J., and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Jacobs, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case. Price and Van der Voort, JJ., concur in the result.

Author: Spaeth

[ 245 Pa. Super. Page 490]

The Commonwealth appeals from an order granting defendant's motion to suppress evidence seized pursuant to a search warrant. The lower court ordered the evidence suppressed because the police officer who served the warrant failed to verify the inventory of items seized when he made return of the warrant to the issuing authority.

I

Rule 2009(a) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure provides:

An inventory of items seized shall be made by the law enforcement officer serving a search warrant. The inventory shall be made in the presence of the person from whose possession or premises the property was taken, when feasible, or otherwise in the presence of at least one witness. The inventory shall be verified by said officer.

(Emphasis added)

The Rules of Criminal Procedure do not define verification. It is generally recognized, however, that for legal purposes verification means confirmation of the truth of a statement by oath or affirmation.*fn1 It is evident,

[ 245 Pa. Super. Page 491]

    moreover, that the draftsmen of the inventory form understood verification in this sense. Thus the form, which appears on the reverse side of the warrant, specifically provides that the officer upon return of the warrant to the issuing authority shall swear to the correctness of the inventory before the issuing authority. Here, the officer signed the inventory but not before the issuing authority. Accordingly, the inventory was not verified.

The Commonwealth does not dispute this conclusion. However, it argues that verification is merely an "administrative requirement", and that failure to comply with such a requirement should not result in suppression of the evidence. To this defendant responds that unless the evidence is ...


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