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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. RONALD GEASE (05/21/82)

filed: May 21, 1982.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT,
v.
RONALD GEASE



No. 449 Pittsburgh, 1981, APPEAL FROM THE ORDER OF COURT ENTERED MARCH 27, 1981, IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, CRIMINAL DIVISION AT NO. CC8008845A, granting pretrial motion to suppress/.

COUNSEL

Dara A. DeCourcy, Assistant District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Commonwealth, appellant.

Paul R. Gettleman, Zelienople, for appellee.

Brosky, Cirillo and Popovich, JJ. Popovich, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Cirillo

[ 304 Pa. Super. Page 434]

This is an appeal from an Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, granting the appellee's Motion to suppress the evidence.

At approximately 12:45 P.M. on December 19, 1980, Lieutenant Albert Petrauskas of the Pittsburgh Police Department was stopped by a man wearing a white apron over a red shirt. The man informed the officer that he was chasing an individual who had just stolen a woman's purse. He also told the officer that the individual was sitting in a jitney directly behind the officer's car. The jitney was occupied by only one other man who was seated on the driver's side. As the officer exited his car, the appellee, Ronald Gease, left the jitney and ran. After failing in his attempt to apprehend the appellee, Lieutenant Petrauskas put out a description of the appellee over the police radio. A short time later, police spotted the appellee, approached him, and a scuffle ensued. The appellee was subdued and placed under arrest, at which time he made an inculpatory statement.

[ 304 Pa. Super. Page 435]

The appellee was subsequently charged with the crime of Robbery.*fn1 The appellee filed a Motion to suppress all oral statements which he made immediately after his arrest. The Motion alleged that the arrest of the appellee was illegal because it was made without a warrant and without probable cause due to the unreliability of an anonymous tip. A hearing in this matter was held on March 16, 1981 before the Honorable Maurice Louik. After the submission of briefs by the parties, Judge Louik granted the Motion to suppress the evidence and on March 27, 1981 a supporting Opinion was filed. This appeal now follows.

The Commonwealth contends that the lower court erred in granting the Motion to suppress the evidence. Because we agree with the Commonwealth's argument that the arrest of the appellee was predicated on sufficient probable cause, we reverse and remand for trial.

The Court below held that Lieutenant Petrauskas was not justified in acting on the information supplied by the informant because the requirements of the Aguilar -- Spinelli*fn2 test were not satisfied. That well-settled rule requires that:

[W]here probable cause is based upon information received from an unidentified informant, the following requirements must be met: (1) the arresting officer must know some of the underlying circumstances from which the informant concluded that the suspect participated in criminal activity, and (2) the officer must have some reasonable basis for concluding that the informant was credible or his information reliable.

Commonwealth v. Waters, 276 Pa. Super. 584, 419 A.2d 612 (1980). However, in this instance, probable cause for arrest was not based solely on the tip received from the unidentified informant, but rather was based on all ...


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