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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JOHN F. FINNEGAN (04/16/80)

submitted: April 16, 1980.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JOHN F. FINNEGAN, APPELLANT



No. 156 April Term, 1979, Appeal from the Judgments of Sentence in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Nos. CC7800913A and CC7802735A.

COUNSEL

John H. Corbett, Jr., Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Charles W. Johns, Assistant District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Price, Brosky, and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Price

[ 280 Pa. Super. Page 588]

This appeal is from the judgments of sentence entered in a consolidated trial in which appellant was convicted of four counts of promoting prostitution, and single counts of resisting arrest and criminal conspiracy.

The events giving rise to the charges arose out of two separate incidents. Stated succinctly, the pertinent facts are as follows. On January 31, 1978, State Police Trooper Louis Gentile began an investigation of an advertisement appearing in a Pittsburgh newspaper which stated, "Anna's Health Club, membership, 371-5440." Trooper Gentile had been informed by various sources that a prostitution ring was being conducted in the Pittsburgh area under the guise of Anna's Health Club. The trooper telephoned the number and informed the party at the other end (appellant) that his name was Louis Finelli and that he was interested in the advertisement. The trooper was instructed to proceed to a gasoline station on Rodi Road, Penn Hills, Allegheny County and to call again from the public telephone located at the station. The trooper did as instructed, and the telephone was again answered by the same man who identified himself as "Tony." The man inquired as to the number at the public telephone, and upon being assured that the trooper was calling from the phone at the gasoline station, instructed the trooper to drive to a parking lot two miles from the station located next to a building at address 435 Rodi Road. The trooper complied with the directions and after waiting in the parking lot for several minutes observed appellant exit the building at 435 Rodi Road and enter the trooper's automobile. Trooper Gentile was informed that membership in the club was $10.00 which entitled him to service at 435 Rodi Road at a rate of $40.00 and for "outcalls" at a fee of $70.00. The trooper then inquired as to the nature of the services and explained that he was a businessman and that many of the services would be for clients and that he did not want to be embarrassed by having his clients "walk away with a

[ 280 Pa. Super. Page 589]

    massage." (N.T. 20). Appellant assured him that there was no massage involved and described the type of sexual services that would be provided. After receiving $10.00 from the trooper, appellant inquired as to his first name and date of birth, recorded the data in a notebook and instructed him to use only this information when requesting service.

On February 6, 1978, Trooper Gentile again called the telephone number and spoke with appellant. The trooper indicated that he wished to receive service for himself at the Rodi Road address and an "outcall" for a business client, both services to be performed the following day. Appellant agreed, and instructed the trooper to be at the Rodi Road address at 2:00 p. m.

On February 7, 1978, Trooper Gentile arrived on time for his scheduled appointment. The trooper was met at the door by a female and escorted into the living room where appellant was seated. Appellant informed the trooper that the total price for both services was $110, and instructed him to place that amount on a nearby coffee table. In response to an inquiry, appellant stated that his female companion would service the trooper and would then proceed to a nearby motel to fulfill the "outcall" for the trooper's business client. At that time, the female started toward the stairway to go upstairs where the bedrooms were located. The trooper then identified himself, informed both appellant and the female companion that they were under arrest, and after a struggle with appellant, summoned several backup surveillance troopers. Appellant was subsequently convicted under criminal information CC7800913A of three counts of promoting prostitution (18 Pa.C.S. § 5902(b)(1), (4) and (7)) and one count of resisting arrest (18 Pa.C.S. § 5104).

The second incident began on April 4, 1978, when Trooper Gentile observed another advertisement in a Pittsburgh newspaper stating, "Anna's Health Club, membership, outcalls, 371-5440." The trooper placed a call to the number and spoke with a man who identified himself as "Tony". The trooper testified that he recognized the voice from prior experience as that of appellant. Trooper Gentile disguised

[ 280 Pa. Super. Page 590]

    his voice and identified himself as Ralph Kubic, a business man interested in an "outcall." Appellant informed him that the price was $80.00, which prompted a response from the trooper that he was not interested in it at that time but would be returning to Pittsburgh and would partake of the services at a later date.

On April 19, 1978, the trooper again placed a call to the number, identified himself as Ralph Kubic, and spoke with appellant. He informed appellant that he was interested in an outcall at his motel for the following day. Appellant agreed and instructed him to call again the next evening at 6:30 p. m. On April 20, 1978, at approximately 6:30 p. m. the trooper secured a room at a local motel and again contacted appellant by dialing the number listed in the advertisement. Upon receiving the call, appellant inquired as to the name of the motel. After receiving this information, he hung up and approximately fifteen minutes later contacted the trooper by calling the motel office and requesting to be connected to the room registered to Ralph Kubic. The trooper then stated that he wanted two girls as outcalls, and was informed that the price would be $160.00 which he should pay to the girls when they arrived at 8:30 p. m.

Trooper Gentile then departed from the motel leaving Trooper Ralph Nevala to maintain surveillance, and proceeded to the Allegheny County Night Court to await a telephone call from Trooper Nevala. At 9:55 p. m. Trooper Nevala contacted him and informed him that a female had arrived at the motel. A search warrant was secured and executed immediately on appellant's premises at 435 Rodi Road. During the search, the troopers recovered a slip of paper on which was ...


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