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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. LAWRENCE HILL (06/22/79)

decided: June 22, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
LAWRENCE HILL, APPELLANT



No. 38 Special Transfer Docket, Appeal from judgments of sentence of Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, Trial Division, Criminal Section, Nos. 368, 371 and 372 March Term, 1972

COUNSEL

Joseph V. Furlong, Jr., Philadelphia, for appellant.

Neil Kitrosser, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Cercone, President Judge, and Roberts and Lipez, JJ.*fn*

Author: Roberts

[ 267 Pa. Super. Page 266]

On January 31, 1974, a jury convicted appellant, Lawrence Hill, of murder of the first degree, assault and battery with intent to commit murder, aggravated robbery, burglary and carrying a firearm on a public street. After denying post-verdict motions, the post-verdict court en banc, one judge dissenting, sentenced appellant to life imprisonment on the

[ 267 Pa. Super. Page 267]

    charge of murder of the first degree and imposed consecutive terms of imprisonment of 5 to 10 years on the charge of aggravated robbery and 2 1/2 to 5 years on the charge of assault and battery. We affirm.

Appellant was tried for shooting the victim and two others with a shotgun. After denial of his post-verdict motions, appellant filed an appeal from the conviction on the charge of murder of the first degree in the Supreme Court and from the convictions on the other charges in the Superior Court. On February 4, 1975, the appeals were consolidated. On March 30, 1976, the Supreme Court remanded for a second suppression hearing. See Commonwealth v. Hill, 466 Pa. 442, 353 A.2d 436 (1976). This hearing was held on March 8, 1977, after which the suppression court denied appellant's motion to suppress. Appellant filed this appeal on July 12, 1977.

Appellant contends that an inculpatory statement he gave police and used at trial was the product of unnecessary delay between arrest and arraignment in violation of Pa.R.Crim.P. 118 (now Rule 130) and Commonwealth v. Futch, 447 Pa. 389, 290 A.2d 417 (1972). Police arrested appellant at approximately 11:30 a. m. on December 15, 1971. He arrived at the police station at noon and the police, after advising him of Miranda rights, began questioning him about 12:30. Appellant's first statements were exculpatory. At 1:45, appellant consented to a polygraph examination, which began at about 2:20 and lasted seven or eight minutes. The police again questioned appellant, who gave an oral inculpatory statement at about 4:00 p. m. Off and on over the next nine hours, the police questioned appellant. Between about 1:15 a. m. and 4:00 a. m., December 16, appellant gave a formal written statement, later introduced at trial. The police brought appellant before a magistrate for arraignment at 11:00 a. m., December 16.

Appellant's written statement, obtained between 14 and 15 hours after arrest, merely reiterated and elaborated upon the oral inculpatory statement he gave at 4:00 p. m. on December 15. Admission of the later statement could prejudice appellant only if the earlier one had been taken in

[ 267 Pa. Super. Page 268]

    violation of Rule 118 (now 130). See Commonwealth v. Van Cliff, 483 Pa. 576, 397 A.2d 1173 (1979). We find no violation of the rule. Excluding the time during which the police transported appellant to the station house, see, e. g., Commonwealth v. Starks, 484 Pa. 399, 399 A.2d 353 (1979) (plurality opinion), the period of delay was four hours, of which only about half was used for interrogation. Except where the subject of interrogation was a juvenile, see Commonwealth v. Johnson, 459 Pa. 171, 327 A.2d 618 (1974), the Supreme Court has never found that an inculpatory statement was the product ...


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