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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. DARRELL C. SAUNDERS (11/18/78)

decided: November 18, 1978.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT,
v.
DARRELL C. SAUNDERS, APPELLEE



No. 181 March Term, 1977, No. 255 March Term, 1977, Appeals from the Order entered by the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Criminal Division, on May 16, 1977 at Nos. CC7701312, 7700662, and 7701621.

COUNSEL

Robert E. Colville, Dist. Atty., Robert L. Eberhardt, Charles W. Johns, Jacqueline Mikula Verney, Asst. Dist. Attys., Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Charles F. Scarlata, Scarlata & DeRiso, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. Larsen, J., dissents.

Author: Pomeroy

[ 483 Pa. Page 31]

OPINION OF THE COURT

The present appeals have been taken by the Commonwealth from a pre-trial order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. By such order the trial court refused to consolidate, in a single trial, certain criminal charges lodged against a defendant. For the reasons that follow, we hold that the order is interlocutory in nature and that the appeals must therefore be quashed.

Appellee, Darrell Christian Saunders, along with three other youths, was implicated in two purse snatchings which took place in the Pittsburgh area on the afternoon of January 6, 1977. The first occurred in the Borough of Avalon at approximately 3:00 p. m., the victim being an eighty-seven year old woman, Alma Walker, who allegedly later died as a result of the assault. The second purse snatching was in Riverview Park in the City of Pittsburgh, where the victim was one Edna Bushnell. The park episode took place about 4 miles from the Avalon incident and some 45 minutes later.

As a result of the first incident, two informations were filed against Saunders. The first information charged murder of the first, second and third degrees and voluntary manslaughter; the second charged robbery, aggravated assault and conspiracy. A third information, charging robbery,

[ 483 Pa. Page 32]

    theft and conspiracy, was filed with respect to the second incident. A week prior to the scheduled commencement of trial on the murder information, the Commonwealth petitioned the trial court for consolidation in a single trial of all charges relating to the robberies. Following a hearing and argument, that court granted the petition with respect to the charges stemming from the Walker episode, but ordered that the other charges, those related to the Bushnell robbery, be tried separately. It is from this order that the Commonwealth has appealed.*fn1

This Court is not free to dispose of any and all issues placed before it by the party litigants. The Supreme Court, like other courts, has only "such jurisdiction as shall be provided by law," Pa.Const., art. V, ยง 2(c). If jurisdiction is not so conferred upon it, this Court "cannot acquire jurisdiction to entertain an appeal either by the consent of the parties or by our own acquiescence . . . ." West Homestead Borough School District v. Allegheny County Board of School Directors, 440 Pa. 113, 116, 269 A.2d 904, 906 (1970). See also Smethport Area School District v. Bowers, 440 Pa. 310, 269 A.2d 712 (1970); Commonwealth v. Bey, 437 Pa. 134, 262 A.2d 144 (1970).*fn2 In the case before us, the ...


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