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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ERIC P. RYLES (01/18/80)

filed: January 18, 1980.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT,
v.
ERIC P. RYLES



Nos. 343 & 344 Special Transfer Docket, Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, Criminal Section of Philadelphia at Nos. 1017-1021 June Term 1978

COUNSEL

Steven H. Goldblatt, Deputy District Attorney, Marianne E. Cox, Assistant District Attorney, of Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellant.

Ronald I. Rosen, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Hoffman, Eagen and Hess, JJ.*fn* Hoffman, J., files concurring and dissenting opinion.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 274 Pa. Super. Page 549]

These are appeals by the Commonwealth from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia suppressing an incriminating statement given by the accused, Eric P. Ryles, to police and certain physical evidence seized pursuant to a warrant obtained as a result of the information provided in the statement. The suppression court determined that the statement was obtained in violation of Pa.R.Crim.P. 130 and Commonwealth v. Davenport, 471 Pa. 278, 370 A.2d 301 (1977) [Hereinafter: Davenport ], and that the physical evidence was the fruit of the illegally obtained statement.

The Commonwealth argues that properly interpreted Davenport does not mandate suppression of the statement or its fruits and that, even if Davenport mandates suppression of the statement, its fruits should not be suppressed.

The facts are as follows:

Police arrested Ryles without a warrant at 1:45 p. m. on June 4, 1978 at 1236 North 18th Street, Philadelphia for the homicide of Olivia Parker. He was transported to the Police Administration Building where he arrived at 2:20 p. m. At 2:55 p. m., he was advised of his constitutional rights as dictated by Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966), which he indicated he understood and waived. He then gave the police background information, such as name, address and age. At 3:20 p. m., an interview was begun. Approximately twenty minutes later, the interviewing detective noticed certain dark stains on parts of

[ 274 Pa. Super. Page 550]

Ryles' body. As a result, the detective consulted his supervisor and a search warrant was prepared. While the warrant was being prepared, the interview continued. At approximately 5:30 p. m., Ryles admitting stabbing, but denied raping, the victim. He also advised police of the whereabouts of bloodied clothing he had secreted.

While the statement was being taken, other detectives took the search warrant to arraignment court for judicial approval. At 5:55 p. m., the court approved the warrant. At approximately 6:15 p. m., a detective telephoned the arraignment court to advise the judge that Ryles would be brought to court for a priority arraignment. A message to this effect was left for the assigned judge, and the detective was told the judge would get the message.*fn1 At 6:55 p. m., the taking of Ryles' statement was interrupted so that the search pursuant to the warrant could be executed. After the search concluded about 7:17 p. m., Ryles read and signed the statement.

At 7:30 p. m., Ryles was taken to arraignment court where he arrived at 7:38 p. m., or five hours and fifty-three minutes after arrest. The judge, although assigned for a eight-hour shift which began at 4:00 p. m., was not present. The judge had left the court for supper after approving the warrant, had not received the telephone message, and had not left a message where he could be located as was customary. Ryles remained in the courtroom while police searched the building and surrounding area for the judge, but he could not be located.*fn2 Finally, at 8:08 p. m., the judge returned and arraignment took place at 8:10 p. m., or six hours and twenty-five minutes following arrest.

As a result of the statement, a second search warrant was obtained and executed. Physical evidence, particularly

[ 274 Pa. Super. Page 551]

    clothing, was seized as a result of the search pursuant to this warrant.

The statement and physical evidence obtained pursuant to the second warrant were ordered suppressed in the trial court. The court denied the motion to suppress evidence obtained pursuant to the first warrant.

In Davenport, our Supreme Court, after consideration of experience with Commonwealth v. Futch, 447 Pa. 389, 290 A.2d 417 (1972) [Hereinafter: Futch ], which first announced a suppression rule as a means to enforce Pa.R.Crim.P. 130, announced a six-hour per se rule. The rule required suppression of any statement obtained between arrest and arraignment if arraignment does not occur within six hours of arrest. But, in fixing the relevant period, the court specifically stated a six-hour period would establish "a workable rule which can be readily complied with in the absence of exigent circumstances." Davenport, supra, 471 Pa. at 286-87 n. 7, 370 A.2d at 306 n. 7. [Emphasis ...


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