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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. HARRY J. CRISSY (09/03/82)

filed: September 3, 1982.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
HARRY J. CRISSY, APPELLANT



NO. 1017 PHILADELPHIA, 1981, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cameron County, Criminal Division, at No. 80 of 1970.

COUNSEL

Patrick J. Kronenwetter, Public Defender, Emporium, for appellant.

Russell F. D'Aiello, Jr., District Attorney, Emporium, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Cavanaugh, McEwen and Beck, JJ.

Author: Beck

[ 304 Pa. Super. Page 40]

Appellant was convicted of possession of cocaine in violation of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act.*fn1 35 P.S. 780-113(a)(16). His only contention is that the court below erred in denying his motion to suppress the cocaine introduced against him at trial. We disagree and affirm the lower court's judgment of sentence.

In reviewing the findings of a suppression court, this Court must determine whether the record "supports the suppression court's factual findings and the legitimacy of the inferences and legal conclusions drawn from those findings. In making this determination, we consider only the evidence of the prosecution's witnesses and so much of the evidence for the defense as, fairly read in the context of the record as a whole, remains uncontradicted." Commonwealth v. Hunt, 280 Pa. Super. 205, 421 A.2d 684 (1980); Commonwealth v. Kichline, 468 Pa. 265, 361 A.2d 282 (1976).

The arresting officer testified that from a nearby roof, he watched through binoculars an exchange between appellant and a second man that occurred in the corner of a gas station lot about thirty five yards away. He saw appellant transfer a blue and white container to a second man who poured from it three plastic triangular packets approximately one half inch on each side, containing a white substance. After some conversation, the second man shook his head, put the triangular packets in the blue and white container, handed the container back to appellant, and walked away. (N.T. 4, 7.)

The arresting officer had been told by another officer that a week earlier, appellant had admitted that he used cocaine. (N.T. 10.) In addition, an informant who had twice previously

[ 304 Pa. Super. Page 41]

    provided information that led to arrests had told the arresting officer that he had recently seen appellant selling narcotics. (N.T. 13.)

On the basis of his observations and facts conveyed by informants, the arresting officer radioed two other policemen and requested them to stop appellant. The arresting officer then descended from the roof and joined appellant and the two other policemen in a nearby street. The arresting officer immediately read appellant his Miranda rights. He then asked appellant about the three small white triangular packets that appellant had been displaying in the gas station lot. Appellant replied that he had been showing off a roach clip that his sister had sent him from State College for his birthday. (N.T. 8.)

In response to this reply, and without permission, the officer proceeded to conduct a thorough search of appellant's person. His search produced the blue and white container, with three small triangular plastic bags containing a white substance later found to be cocaine.*fn2 ...


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