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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. LYNETTE BEARD. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/05/80)

filed: December 5, 1980.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT,
v.
LYNETTE BEARD. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT, V. MARVIN D. JONES



No. 1147 April Term, 1978 No. 1148 April Term, 1978 Appeal from the Order of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Criminal Division, entered on July 10, 1978 at No. CC7800092 and No. CC7800093.

COUNSEL

Charles W. Johns, Assistant District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Commonwealth, appellant at Nos. 1147 & 1148.

Bruce A. Carsia, Pittsburgh, for appellee, at No. 1147.

Marvin D. Jones, appellee, in propria persona, at No. 1148.

Cercone, President Judge, and Montgomery and Lipez, JJ. Cercone, President Judge, files a dissenting opinion.

Author: Montgomery

[ 282 Pa. Super. Page 584]

This is an appeal by the Commonwealth from an order suppressing evidence secured by the execution of a search warrant.*fn1 The evidence adduced at the suppression hearing reflects the following facts. On November 15, 1977, the Pittsburgh Police obtained a warrant to search the first floor apartment at 6756 McPherson Boulevard. The search warrant was issued in the names of both appellee Marvin Jones and appellee Lynette Beard. When the police arrived

[ 282 Pa. Super. Page 585]

    on the scene, they knew Lynette Beard to be present inside the apartment. Based on a tip that Jones would be arriving shortly to cut and package heroin, the forestalled execution of the search warrant. Instead, they stationed themselves around the corner and began surveillance of the premises. Approximately one-half hour later, Jones drove up to the apartment and alighted from his vehicle. The detectives immediately approached in their vehicle and jumped out. As Jones reached the porch, he recognized the police and ran inside the dwelling, closing the door.*fn2 By this time, the detectives were right behind Jones. They burst through the closed door, and arrested him as he attempted to flush something down the toilet. Several packages of heroin were found nearby. After arresting Jones, appellee Beard was informed of the search warrant. She was subsequently arrested when drugs and related paraphernalia were discovered in the apartment.

The provisions of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States are designed to protect our citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. The issuance of a search warrant, making it lawful to conduct a search within the limits of the facts as stated on the face of the warrant, serves as evidence of the reasonableness of a search. However, even the presence of a search warrant does not render every search pursuant to such a warrant reasonable.

Pa.R.Crim.P. 2007(a) provides, in part, that:

"[a] law enforcement officer executing a search warrant shall before entry, give or make reasonable effort to give, notice of his identity, authority, and purpose . . . unless exigent circumstances require his immediate forcible entry."

[ 282 Pa. Super. Page 586]

Thus, prior to making a forcible entry, the officer must, absent exigent circumstances, announce his identity and purpose to provide the occupant with a reasonable opportunity to surrender his privacy. Commonwealth v. DeMichel, 442 Pa. 553, 277 A.2d 159 (1971), Commonwealth v. Easton, 231 Pa. Super. 398, 332 A.2d 448 (1975). "The purpose of this announcement rule is that '. . . the dignity and privacy protected by the fourth amendment demand a certain propriety on the part of policemen even after they have been authorized to invade an individual's privacy.'" Commonwealth v. DeMichel, supra, 442 Pa. at 561, 277 A.2d at 163, ...


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