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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. CHARLES WILLIAM SLAUGHTER (11/18/78)

decided: November 18, 1978.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
CHARLES WILLIAM SLAUGHTER, APPELLANT



No. 177 January Term, 1976, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence Imposed by the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Trial Division, Criminal Section, at July Term, 1974, No. 1501

COUNSEL

George J. D'Ambrosio, West Chester, for appellant.

Robert B. Lawler, Philadelphia, for appellee.

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

Author: Manderino

[ 482 Pa. Page 540]

OPINION

Appellant, Charles W. Slaughter, was tried before a judge and jury and convicted of murder in the first degree on

[ 482 Pa. Page 541]

March 31, 1975. Penalty was fixed by the jury at life imprisonment. Post-verdict motions were filed and an appeal followed to this Court. On April 28, 1978, an opinion affirming the judgment of sentence was filed, in which a majority of the court concluded that the issues raised had been waived. Commonwealth v. Slaughter, (J-195 of 1977, filed April 28, 1978). Following that decision, appellant filed a petition for reargument and/or reconsideration. The petition pointed out that a written brief which was not part of the record before us on appeal had been filed with the trial court. Based on our recent decisions in Commonwealth v. Grace, 473 Pa. 542, 375 A.2d 721 (1977); and Commonwealth v. Perillo, 474 Pa. 63, 376 A.2d 635 (1977), we ordered the case to be reargued.

The case was reargued on October 16, 1978. On reargument, appellant raises several issues in support of his contention that a new trial should be granted. We will address these issues in the following order:

(1) whether it was a violation of appellant's right to confrontation and inadmissible hearsay to permit the testimony of a certain police officer regarding an eyewitness identification of appellant;

(2) whether a statement allegedly made by appellant to police and admitted into evidence at his trial, should have been suppressed because obtained in violation of Pa.R.Cr.P. 130;

(3) whether an in-court identification of appellant was improperly tainted by an illegal pre-trial identification procedure;

(4) whether the trial court erroneously limited defense counsel's cross-examination of a certain prosecution witness; and

(5) whether the trial court erred in refusing to allow defense counsel to cross-examine a key prosecution witness regarding the witness's prior juvenile record.

Appellant argues that he was denied his constitutional right to confrontation, that the hearsay rule was violated, when, over defense objection, the prosecution was permitted

[ 482 Pa. Page 542]

    to question two police officers regarding identifications allegedly made of appellant by two eyewitnesses to the shooting for which he was on trial. The murder was witnessed by two individuals, Emanuel Crawford and Anthony Ragland. Only Ragland appeared in court and testified. Only Ragland's testimony was presented by the prosecution because it had been unable to locate Crawford in order to bring him to the trial.

As part of its case in chief, the prosecution called a police officer who had observed appellant at the time of appellant's arrival at the Police Administration Building following his arrest, and at the subsequent interrogation. The officer testified as to appellant's physical and mental condition at the time of his arrest and that he gave appellant so-called Miranda warnings. This officer was not asked, and did not testify on direct examination, regarding any out-of-court identifications of appellant.

Despite the fact that the officer had not been asked and had not testified on direct examination regarding any out-of-court identifications of appellant, on cross-examination, defense counsel elicited the following:

"Q. The person you had stated to the jury Lieutenant on your direct testimony is that -- that you told Charles Slaughter that he had been identified as the, as you have said, the doer in this instance; is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you tell Mr. Slaughter who it was that had identified him as being the doer?

A. I told him he was identified by three people as having been the doer.

Q. Well not at that time he had been identified by two people.

A. Yes sir.

Q. You are sure of that?

A. Yes sir.

Q. You are sure it was not just one?

A. No sir.

[ 482 Pa. Page 543]

Q. Were you personally present when anyone identified Charles Slaughter as the doer?

A. No. This information was relayed to me.

Q. Was the first person Emanuel ...


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