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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ANTHONY ROBERT DUPREE (08/28/81)

filed: August 28, 1981.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,
v.
ANTHONY ROBERT DUPREE, APPELLANT



No. 1063 April Term, 1979, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, Criminal Division, at No. 78 January, 1979

COUNSEL

Edward J. Bilik, Greensburg, for appellant.

Morrison F. Lewis, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, Greensburg, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Hester, Brosky and Van der Voort, JJ. Hester, J., concurs in result.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 290 Pa. Super. Page 203]

Appellant was convicted of robbery and conspiracy. Dupree was tried with a co-defendant, Carl Edwin Donley. Post-verdict motions were filed and denied. He was sentenced to pay the costs of prosecution and serve three to seven years imprisonment. We remand to the trial court.

Dupree and John Walter Hardy allegedly robbed Bill's Dandy Dollar, a store in Herminie, Pennsylvania. They entered the store and masqueraded as shoppers. While browsing, they engaged Martin Swelbar in a conversation. After they apparently committed the offense, they fled the store into a car driven by Donley. One and one-half hours later, the police discovered a car matching the description given to them by witnesses to the crime. The three inhabitants of the car were then returned to the store where they were identified by several eye witnesses.*fn1

Appellant contends that the identification was impermissibly suggestive. He asserts his constitutional rights were denied because he had no opportunity to obtain counsel to assist him during the identification. He states his co-defendant's confession should not have been permitted to be entered into evidence when his co-defendant did not testify. He claims "mug shots" were impermissibly entered into evidence. Finally, Dupree demonstrates that the information issued by the Commonwealth against him was void under Rule 225(b) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure. We will address only the latter issue.

The critical facts which concern this issue are that the district attorney's name was affixed to the information by a

[ 290 Pa. Super. Page 204]

    rubber stamp. An assistant district attorney placed his initials next to the facsimile of the district attorney's name. The appellant specifically filed a pre-trial motion in which he asserted that the signature on the information violated Rule 225(b). Thus, the appellant specifically questioned the authority of the assistant district attorney to sign the information. This contention was asserted again in the appellant's post-verdict motions. Thus, the issue was clearly preserved on appeal.

We said in Commonwealth v. Belcher, 258 Pa. Super. 153, 392 A.2d 730 (1978):

When the vehicle for initiating a criminal trial (i. e., the information) is unsigned, it is not at all apparent that a reasoned evaluation of the advisability of instituting a criminal trial has been made. The signature on the information is, therefore, a vital ingredient which guarantees the authenticity and reliability of the document. The requirement that the information be signed by ...


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