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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ROBERT SCOTT SHADRON (02/28/77)

decided: February 28, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ROBERT SCOTT SHADRON, APPELLANT



COUNSEL

James E. McLaughlin, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Albert M. Nichols, Dist. Atty., Louis H. Ceraso, James J. Conte, Asst. Dist. Attys., Greensburg, for appellee.

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

Author: Pomeroy

[ 471 Pa. Page 462]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant Robert Scott Shadron was convicted by a jury of murder in the first degree for the death by stabbing of one Paul Clark Bennett. Post-trial motions were denied and Shadron was sentenced to life imprisonment. On this appeal, he urges reversal of his conviction on the

[ 471 Pa. Page 463]

    grounds that certain evidence should have been suppressed and that a new trial should have been awarded because of failure of the court to charge on the felony involved in a felony-murder.*fn1 Finding the latter claim to be meritorious, we will reverse.

I

Appellant's first assignment of error is that the facts of this case show a clear violation of the so-called Posse Comitatus Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1385*fn2 and that evidence procured as a result of the search of his barracks should therefore be suppressed. Because this issue, one of first impression in this state, will necessarily remain in the case notwithstanding a new trial unless it is now disposed of, we proceed to address it.

The Act in question is a federal statute of longstanding, 18 U.S.C. § 1385. It provides:

"[W]hoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined not more ...


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