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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ERNEST LEE MCGEACHY (10/01/79)

decided: October 1, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ERNEST LEE MCGEACHY, APPELLANT



No. 619 January Term, 1977, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence Imposed by the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal, of Lancaster County at No. 2906 of 1975.

COUNSEL

Theodore S. Danforth, Public Defender, John F. Pyfer, Jr., Lancaster, for appellant.

Joseph C. Madenspacher, Asst. Dist. Atty., Lancaster County, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. Eagen, C. J., and Larsen, J., concurred in the result.

Author: Nix

[ 487 Pa. Page 26]

OPINION

This is an appeal from judgment of sentence entered upon a jury verdict finding appellant guilty of voluntary manslaughter. The dispositive question is whether appellant's written confession should have been suppressed as the product of unreasonable delay in violation of Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 130 and Commonwealth v. Futch, 447 Pa. 389,

[ 487 Pa. Page 27290]

A.2d 417 (1972).*fn1 We hold that it should have been suppressed and, therefore, reverse judgment of sentence and award a new trial to appellant.

Appellant was arrested on August 16, 1975, at 2:20 p. m. Although, according to the officers, he was experiencing an extreme state of intoxication, they completed the "booking and slating" of appellant, following which he was put in a holding cell to become sober. Shortly before 6:15 p. m., and after a period of interrogation, appellant made an oral incriminating statement to the police which was then reduced to writing by an officer because appellant was illiterate. During the taking of this statement, a district justice was present, although no arraignment was held at that time. Appellant was finally arraigned at 8:50 p. m. before the same magistrate.

In countering appellant's Futch claim, appellee focuses upon the relatively short time period, approximately four hours, between the arrest and the commencement of the statement.*fn2 Although this is the relevant time period for purposes of a Futch analysis, see Commonwealth v. Perkins, 473 Pa. 116, 373 A.2d 1076 (1977); Commonwealth v. Perry, 468 Pa. 515, 364 A.2d 312 (1976), appellee seems to ignore the fact that all administrative processing of appellant had been completed by approximately 3:15 p. m., some three hours

[ 487 Pa. Page 28]

    before the statement was made by appellant. Pre-arraignment delay is only "necessary" if essential for the completion of administrative processing. See Commonwealth v. Richman, 458 Pa. 167, 173, 320 A.2d 351 (1974). Prior to our decision in Commonwealth v. Davenport, 471 Pa. 278, 370 A.2d 301 (1977), once the delay was determined to be an "unnecessary" one, the length of that "unnecessary" delay only aggravates the violation, it does not constitute the violation. Any "unnecessary" delay under the law prior to Davenport, required relief if prejudicial evidence was obtained ...


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