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HOWARD WILSON v. EDWARD J. BLAKE (12/23/77)

decided: December 23, 1977.

HOWARD WILSON
v.
EDWARD J. BLAKE, JUDGE OF THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF PHILADELPHIA, JOSEPH R. GLANCEY, PRESIDENT JUDGE OF THE PHILADELPHIA MUNICIPAL COURT AND EDWARD G. MEKEL, JUDGE OF THE PHILADELPHIA MUNICIPAL COURT. COMMONWEALTH EX REL. HOWARD MARTIN V. EDWARD J. BLAKE, JUDGE OF THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF PHILADELPHIA, JOSEPH R. GLANCEY, PRESIDENT JUDGE OF THE PHILADELPHIA MUNICIPAL COURT AND EDWARD G. MEKEL, JUDGE OF THE PHILADELPHIA MUNICIPAL COURT



COUNSEL

Drew Salaman, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Defender Assn. of Phila., Benjamin Lerner, Defender, Barbara A. Bailey, Asst. Defender, for appellant.

F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, Dist. Atty., Steven H. Goldblatt, Deputy Dist. Atty. for Law, Michael R. Stiles, Asst. Dist. Atty., Chief, Appeals Div., Thomas E. Butler, Jr., Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Packel, JJ. Pomeroy, J., filed a concurring opinion.

Author: Roberts

[ 475 Pa. Page 628]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Defendants were indicted on charges of robbery, theft, receiving stolen property, conspiracy and aggravated assault stemming from an incident in which two men attempted to "roll a drunk" who was a police officer working undercover. At a preliminary hearing held March 7, 1977, defendants pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 141 sought to make tape recordings of the proceedings. The municipal court prohibited the recordings. On April 11, 1977, defendants filed with this

[ 475 Pa. Page 629]

Court applications for leave to file petitions for a writ of prohibition. We granted the applications and treated the petitions for writs of prohibition as petitions requesting this Court to assume plenary jurisdiction. We accepted plenary jurisdiction to resolve the question of whether a defendant may make a tape recording at a preliminary hearing when the proceedings are officially recorded.*fn1 We hold that defendants are entitled to make such recordings.

Rule 141(c)(4) provides:

"(c) The defendant . . . may, if he desires:

(4) make written notes of the proceedings, or have his counsel do so, or make a stenographic, mechanical or electronic record of the proceedings."

The municipal court expressed the view that the Rule was designed to ensure defendants an accurate record of the proceedings and concluded that a defendant is prohibited from making any record of the proceedings, other than notes by counsel, whenever the court provides an ...


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