Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. HARRY L. WHITMAN (12/02/77)

decided: December 2, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
HARRY L. WHITMAN, APPELLANT



No. 199 October Term, 1976, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Trial Division, Criminal Section, at Nos. 1784/1788 February Term, 1974.

COUNSEL

Robert Scandone, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Steven H. Goldblatt and Deborah E. Glass, Assistant District Attorneys, and F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ.

Author: Price

[ 252 Pa. Super. Page 70]

This is an appeal from convictions of criminal conspiracy, robbery and aggravated assault. Appellant filed a motion for a new trial and in arrest of judgment, which was denied. This appeal follows imposition of sentence. We affirm.

On December 30, 1973, appellant, in the company of two or three other men, entered Stoney's Bar in Philadelphia. One of the men pointed a rifle at the bartender and announced a hold-up. Attempting to gain access to the cash register, appellant leaped over the bar and struggled with the manager, Eugene Anderson. When Anderson broke away from appellant, one of the intruders shot Anderson in the back. The men, empty handed, then fled.

Appellant's first contention is that a statement which he made to a police officer just after his arrest was improperly admitted into evidence. In the course of appellant's Miranda warnings, after explaining that the investigation concerned the Stoney's robbery, Detective Lauer asked, "Do you want to remain silent?" Appellant responded, "Yes. You can hang that on me, but I didn't do the shooting." Appellant's motion to suppress the statement under Pa.R.Crim.P. 323 was denied. The trial judge, however, initially ruled the statement inadmissible; therefore, it was not introduced in the Commonwealth's case-in-chief. Appellant's sister, his alibi witness, testified that her brother was in her company at the time of the Stoney's Bar incident. The Commonwealth, in order to rebut the alibi testimony, requested and received the court's permission to introduce appellant's statement.

Appellant's argument that the statement was taken in derogation of his Miranda rights is meritless. Statements resulting from custodial interrogation of a defendant may not be presented by the prosecution until it is shown that procedural safeguards to secure the defendant's right

[ 252 Pa. Super. Page 71]

    against self incrimination, have been effectuated. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966). Appellant's statement was not the result of interrogation. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has said:

" Miranda simply requires that an accused be told of his rights. It in no way precludes the use of voluntary confessions, but merely requires the giving of certain warnings so that an accused can make a knowledgeable decision whether to confess. The requirement of 'interrogation' is designed to permit the use by the prosecution of a confession that is given by an accused without any prompting, before warnings can be given." Commonwealth v. Simala, 434 Pa. 219, 226, 252 A.2d 575, 578 (1969).

The court has repeatedly emphasized that "interrogation" means police questioning or conduct which is calculated to, expected to, or likely to evoke admissions. Commonwealth v. Simala, supra; accord, Commonwealth v. Yount, 455 Pa. 303, 314 A.2d 242 (1974); Commonwealth v. Mercier, 451 Pa. 211, 302 A.2d 337 (1973). Therefore, voluntary statements are not barred by Miranda from admission in criminal prosecutions. Commonwealth v. Wiggins, 472 Pa. 95, 371 A.2d 207 (1977); Commonwealth v. Boone, 467 Pa. 168, 354 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.