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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ALBERT E. LEWIS (06/12/81)

filed: June 12, 1981.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,
v.
ALBERT E. LEWIS, III, APPELLANT



No. 2050 Philadelphia, 1980, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, Criminal Division, No. 80-939 C.A.

COUNSEL

David B. Keeffe, Sayre, for appellant.

Leonard J. Frawley, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, Towanda, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Wickersham, Popovich and Watkins, JJ.

Author: Popovich

[ 288 Pa. Super. Page 199]

This is an appeal from the lower court's Order denying appellant's petition, filed pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 324,*fn1 for

[ 288 Pa. Super. Page 200]

    the return of property alleged to be in the possession of the police as a result of a seizure under an invalid search warrant. We do not reach the merits of the issue raised. The Order appealed from is interlocutory, and the appeal, therefore, must be quashed.

A recital of the procedural history of the case is pertinent to an understanding of the ruling made. On June 30, 1980, Trooper Thomas Baggott secured a warrant to search appellant's place of business ("LEWIS AUTO BODY & GARAGE"). The warrant pertained to violations concerning: Commercial Bribery, 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 4108; Tampering With Records, 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 4104; and Receiving Stolen Property (Vehicles), 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3925.*fn2 Searches were conducted by the police on July 1 and 14, 1980, at which time the authorities confiscated various items.*fn3 The appellant, having

[ 288 Pa. Super. Page 201]

    not been charged with any criminal offense at the time, filed a complaint in the civil division of the Bradford County Court of Common Pleas requesting the return of his property. The complaint was dismissed by the equity court on the ground that the proper forum to seek the relief requested was in the criminal division.*fn4 The appellant filed such a petition and averred therein that the items taken were done so by means of an improperly drawn and executed warrant. (See Appellant's "Amended Petition," Record No. 12) Hearings were held on July 18, 23, 24, 28 and 29, 1980; at the conclusion of the proceedings, an Order dismissing the petition was issued.*fn5 This appeal followed.

At the outset we must decide whether this Court has the authority to hear this appeal. ...


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