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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JERRY JACKSON (02/07/79)

decided: February 7, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JERRY JACKSON, APPELLANT



No. 682 April Term, 1977 Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Criminal Division, entered on March 17, 1977, at No. CC7603918A.

COUNSEL

Bernard Rubb, Assistant Public Defender, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Robert L. Eberhardt, Assistant District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Jacobs, President Judge, and Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, Spaeth and Hester, JJ. Price and Spaeth, JJ., concur in the result. Jacobs, former President Judge, and Hoffman, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Cercone

[ 263 Pa. Super. Page 184]

Following a jury trial appellant was found guilty of robbery. Post-trial motions were denied and a sentence of two to four years' imprisonment was imposed. This appeal followed.

Appellant argues the lower court erred in failing to grant a mistrial after a Commonwealth witness, while testifying on rebuttal, referred to "pictures" of the appellant. It is contended that the witness's reference to "pictures" conveyed to the jury the fact that appellant had engaged in prior criminal activity.

The comment at issue occurred when Officer Emery Doaks, testifying on direct, stated as follows:

"Q. Now in reference to the police procedure of Number 2, just in reference to Jerry Jackson. When was the warrant issued for his arrest?

A. The following morning after the alleged occurrence took place.

Q. And what publicity would be given to that warrant to the men who work at Number 2 Police Station?

A. The warrant was run off on a copy machine, a copy of the warrant was put on a bulletin board, accompanied by two pictures of the individuals, names on the warrant were placed on the bulletin board at the station." (Emphasis added.)

The seminal decision on the subject of testimonial references which may suggest prior unrelated criminal activity on the part of the accused is Commonwealth v. Allen, 448 Pa. 177, 292 A.2d 373 (1972). In Allen, which involved a reference to a photograph of the defendant ...


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