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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. KENNETH JACKSON (07/14/78)

decided: July 14, 1978.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
KENNETH JACKSON, APPELLANT



Nos. 463, 487 January Term, 1976, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, Criminal Section of Philadelphia County, denying an evidentiary hearing and suppression, and affirming Judgment of Sentence as of April Sessions, 1969, Nos. 1343, 1344, 1346.

COUNSEL

Joel S. Moldovsky, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Edward G. Rendell, Dist. Atty., Steven H. Goldblatt, Deputy Dist. Atty. for Law, Robert B. Lawler, Chief, Appeals Div., Asst. Dist. Atty., Paul S. Diamond, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. Manderino, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case. Roberts, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 483 Pa. Page 102]

OPINION

This matter was previously before this Court on direct appeal from judgments of sentence for murder of the first degree, aggravated robbery and burglary. Commonwealth v. Jackson, 464 Pa. 292, 346 A.2d 746 (1975). After disposition of several issues presented in that appeal*fn1 this Court remanded the matter for further proceedings below. Mr. Justice MANDERINO, speaking for the majority of this Court explicitly set forth the reasons for and the scope of the remand as follows:

[ 483 Pa. Page 103]

"We decline to decide the issue of psychological coercion on this appeal. Rule 323(i) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure states:

'(i) At the conclusion of the [suppression] hearing, the judge shall enter on the record a statement of findings of fact and conclusions of law as to whether the evidence was obtained in violation of the defendant's constitutional rights, and shall make an order granting or denying the relief sought.'

At the conclusion of appellant's suppression hearing, the suppression court failed to follow the requirement of Rule 323(i). The record before us contains no findings of fact or conclusions of law, only a statement of the suppression court's conclusion that there was no coercion. Likewise, the opinion of the court en banc denying post-verdict motions contains only a similar conclusion. This court does not in the first instance make findings of fact and conclusions of law. The duty of analyzing the subtle factors involved in deciding whether a confession was psychologically coerced is that of the trial court. We cannot say, after a reading of the suppression record before us, that as a matter of law there was clearly no psychological coercion. A compliance with Rule 323(i) would present this court with the detailed facts, accepted as truthful by the trial court, upon which its legal conclusions are based. We therefore insist on a full compliance with Rule 323(i).

This matter is therefore remanded for an evidentiary hearing at which the requirements of Rule 323(i) are met. If it is determined following such a hearing that the appellant's confession was a coerced confession, the judgment of sentence shall be vacated and a new trial granted. If, on the other hand, it is determined that the confession was not coerced, the judgment of sentence shall be ...


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