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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. GORDON HARVELL (07/08/77)

decided: July 8, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
GORDON HARVELL, APPELLANT



COUNSEL

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

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

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Roberts, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of this case. Pomeroy, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which Eagen, C. J., joined.

Author: O'brien

[ 473 Pa. Page 420]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, Gordon Harvell, was arrested on February 22, 1970, in connection with the robbery and homicide of Thomas Holley in Philadelphia. On October 12, 1971, appellant was tried by a judge sitting with a jury and found guilty of murder of the first degree, aggravated robbery and conspiracy. After sentencing, appellant filed a direct appeal to this court, which reversed the judgments of sentence and ordered a new trial. The reason for the reversal was improper remarks by the district attorney. Commonwealth v. Harvell, 458 Pa. 406, 327 A.2d 27 (1974).

On January 6, 1975, appellant was retried by a judge sitting with a jury and was found guilty of murder of the first degree, aggravated robbery and conspiracy. Post-verdict motions were denied. On October 14, 1975, appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment for

[ 473 Pa. Page 421]

    the murder of the first degree conviction, a concurrent term of ten to twenty years' imprisonment for aggravated robbery and a suspended sentence on the conspiracy charge. This direct appeal followed.*fn1

Appellant argues that the court below erred in failing to suppress his confession. We agree. The pertinent facts surrounding this issue are as follows. On February 22, 1970, at 7:00 a.m., appellant, aged seventeen, was arrested at his father's home on Lyle Street in Philadelphia. At the time of the arrest, the police detectives informed appellant's father that his son was being arrested in connection with the robbery-homicide of Thomas Holley. The police offered the father a ride to the Police Administration Building, but the father refused, saying that he had his own transportation and that he would follow them to the Police Administration Building.

Appellant was then taken to the Police Administration Building, arriving at 7:30 a.m., and was placed in an interrogation room. The interrogating officer was told that appellant's father was en route to the station. The officer, nevertheless, immediately proceeded with the interrogation. At 7:45, appellant was informed of the reason for his arrest and was warned of his constitutional rights. After appellant's "waiver" of these rights, the police proceeded to interrogate. Appellant confessed at 9:46 a.m. At no time was the father of Gordon Harvell either informed of his son's constitutional rights or given the opportunity to discuss those rights prior to his son's confession.

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

". . . that absent a showing that a juvenile had an opportunity to consult ...


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