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MICHAEL LYNN ECKERT (12/14/78)

decided: December 14, 1978.

IN THE INTEREST OF MICHAEL LYNN ECKERT, A MINOR AND ZACHERY S. ECKERT, A MINOR. APPEAL OF MICHAEL LYNN, A MINOR AND ZACHERY S. ECKERT, A MINOR *FN*


No. 916 October Term, 1977, Appeal from Adjudication of Delinquency of the Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile, of Berks County Pennsylvania, to No. 899 S-1976.

COUNSEL

Robert E. Kerper, Jr., Assistant Public Defender, Reading, for appellant, Michael Lynn Eckert.

Ralph W. D. Levan, Assistant Public Defender, Reading, for appellant, Zachery S. Eckert.

J. Michael Morrissey, District Attorney, Reading, for appellee.

Watkins, former President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ. Spaeth, J., files a dissenting opinion. Watkins, former President Judge, and Hoffman, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Jacobs

[ 260 Pa. Super. Page 163]

This appeal is taken from an order of the court below refusing to suppress evidence and adjudicating the minor appellants delinquent. The issue we must decide is whether the lower court erred in determining that sufficient probable cause was presented to the magistrate to justify the issuance of the initial warrant to search the premises.*fn1 For the following reasons, we find no error, and therefore affirm the order entered below.

Early in the morning of September 2, 1976, between 6:00 and 6:30 a. m., several shooting incidents occurred in the vicinity of the 100 block of Penn Street in Reading. Two automobiles and a bakery truck were struck by bullets, and a machine shop in the area was fired upon.

On the same day, between 1:00 and 7:00 a. m., a cafe located immediately north of the area of the shootings was broken into, and several bottles of whiskey, cases of beer, cigarettes, cans of soup and snack foods were removed, along with money taken from amusement and vending machines that were forced open.

[ 260 Pa. Super. Page 164]

Later the same morning, Detective Lorrin Young of Reading Police Department was sent to investigate the cafe burglary, after also having been informed of the shooting incidents. After speaking with the owners of the cafe and obtaining a verbal inventory of the stolen items, Officer Young went to the area of the shootings, where a police investigation was underway.

After the police had determined that the shots came from the north (odd-numbered) side of the 100 block of Penn Street, they searched all houses in the row, which were vacant and boarded up, except for 141 Penn Street, which was occupied by the Eckert family. While Officer Young and other policemen were on the fire escape of 139 Penn Street, they observed several spent .22 caliber cartridges on the second-floor roof of 141 Penn Street.

Young subsequently filed an application for a search of the Eckert home and seizure of a .22 caliber rifle, .22 caliber bullets, .22 caliber spent shells, and sneakers with a tread design similar to prints seen on the roof of 139 Penn Street. The warrant was issued, and the search yielded a .22 caliber rifle, .22 caliber bullets, and .22 caliber spent shells. During the search, Young observed items within the house similar to items described as stolen from the Sixth Ward Cafe, and secured a warrant to seize these items.

Mrs. Eckert and her two sons then accompanied the police to City Hall, where each boy gave a statement admitting participation in the cafe burglary and the shootings. The juveniles were then processed by the juvenile probation office, and subsequently adjudicated delinquent in the court below after their motion to suppress evidence was denied. This appeal followed.

Appellants contend that the initial warrant to search their residence was issued without probable cause because the application for the warrant does not connect ...


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