No. 1189 October Term, 1979, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Trial Division, at Nos. 886, 888-896, and 898 December Session, 1976.
Elaine DeMasse, Assistant Public Defender, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Eric B. Henson, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Brosky, Hoffman and Cirillo,*fn* JJ.
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Appellant contends that: (1) his warrantless arrest lacked probable cause; and (2) pre-trial identifications by two Commonwealth witnesses and two statements by him should have been suppressed because of an unnecessary delay in his arraignment. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of sentence.
On November 16, 1976, at about 9:50 a. m., a Philadelphia policeman responding to a disorderly crowd complaint saw appellant shouting and carrying a large radio which he was playing loudly. The officer approached appellant, took him to the patrol car, and requested identification. The officer then checked appellant's name through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC),*fn1 which reported that appellant was wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant and a juvenile detainer. Relying upon that information, the officer arrested appellant and took him to a nearby police station where the officer again checked the NCIC report, and received the same results.*fn2 Subsequently, the officer noticed that appellant had picked up a wanted poster bearing artists' sketches of three suspects in the robbery of a bar on October 25, 1976. After appellant stated that he knew two of the suspects, the officer compared the third composite sketch and printed description to appellant. Finding a similarity, the officer arranged to have appellant transported to another police station where detectives were investigating the robbery.
Appellant arrived at the second station at about 1:30 p. m. and was informed that he was a suspect in the robbery. He
[ 284 Pa. Super. Page 285]
immediately requested a face-to-face confrontation with the witnesses and stated that he did not wish to wait for a line-up. A detective explained the nature of the charges and gave him his Miranda warnings at approximately 2:00 p. m. Appellant denied involvement and reiterated his desire for an immediate confrontation. The detective then told appellant that he had a right to a line-up and again reminded him of his right to free counsel. After declining representation and insisting upon a show-up, appellant signed a waiver form at 2:10 p. m. At approximately 3:45 p. m., Jaqueline Hutchins, a bar patron, arrived and identified appellant as one of the robbers. Following that identification, the police took a photograph of appellant. Shortly thereafter, at 4:20 p. m., another detective administered Miranda warnings and obtained an unsigned statement from appellant. The questioning ended at 4:45 p. m. At about 5:00 p. m., Theodore Chester, another patron, selected appellant's picture from an array of eight to ten pictures. From 4:45 p. m. to 6:00 p. m., appellant was in a holding area where he ate a meal. Then, after the detectives administered Miranda warnings for a third time, appellant gave a statement until 7:00 p. m. That statement, which appellant read aloud and signed, repeated, with only minor variation, the details of the prior unsigned statement. Appellant was arraigned shortly thereafter. At appellant's non-jury trial, the Commonwealth introduced, inter alia, the testimony of Ms. Hutchins and Mr. Chester, appellant's statements, and evidence seized from appellant's home pursuant to a search warrant. Appellant was convicted of attempted murder, robbery, criminal conspiracy, simple and aggravated assault, possession of an instrument of crime, and carrying a firearm in public. After the denial of post-verdict motions and imposition of sentence, appellant brought this appeal.
Appellant contends that his warrantless arrest lacked probable cause. We disagree. "[T]he cases uniformly recognize that NCIC ...