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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. HAROLD DANIELS (06/02/78)

decided: June 2, 1978.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
HAROLD DANIELS, APPELLANT



No. 607 January Term, 1977, Appeal from Order dated July 14, 1977, of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Vacating a Stipulation as of No. 514 April Term, 1970.

COUNSEL

Richard B. Schwartz, I. Michael Luber, Philadelphia, for appellant.

F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, Dist. Atty., Steven H. Goldblatt, Deputy Dist. Atty. for Law, W. Mark Sendrow, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. Roberts, J., files a dissenting opinion in which Manderino, J., joins.

Author: O'brien

[ 479 Pa. Page 116]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, Harold Daniels, was convicted by a jury of murder of the first degree, aggravated robbery and conspiracy in connection with the stabbing death of Francis George. Post-verdict motions were denied and appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment. On direct appeal, this court reversed appellant's conviction, holding that appellant was arrested without probable cause and that his confession was the product of an illegal arrest, thus requiring suppression of the statement. The case was remanded for a new trial. Commonwealth v. Daniels, 455 Pa. 552, 317 A.2d 237 (1974).

Prior to retrial, appellant filed a motion to suppress all evidence obtained as result of the illegal arrest. Before the suppression hearing, appellant's counsel and the district attorney stipulated that the identity of certain witnesses and the murder weapon had been disclosed to the Commonwealth by appellant's inadmissible statement. The suppression court then suppressed all of the evidence, as requested by appellant.

The Commonwealth then appealed to this court. We held that the court erred in suppressing the evidence, as the evidence in question was discovered from sources independent of appellant's confession. Justice Roberts, in a dissenting opinion, joined by Justice Manderino, stated that the majority had passed over what he believed to be the threshold question of whether the Commonwealth was bound by its stipulation. Commonwealth v. Daniels, 470 Pa. 523, 368 A.2d 1279 (1975).

Appellant filed a petition for reargument, which was granted. Subsequently, this court entered the following supplemental per curiam order:

"Case remanded to the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia for an evidentiary hearing and determination of whether the stipulation entered into by defense counsel and the Commonwealth is a valid and an enforceable stipulation." Commonwealth v. Daniels, 470 Pa. 523, 534, 368 A.2d 1279, 1284.

[ 479 Pa. Page 117]

On remand, the court below entered an order vacating the stipulation. ...


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