No. 44 Philadelphia, 1982, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division, at Nos. 572-575 June, 1976
L. Carter Anderson, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Jane Cutler Greenspan, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Com., appellee.
Brosky, Cirillo and Lipez, JJ.
[ 316 Pa. Super. Page 330]
This appeal is from the denial of a Post Conviction Hearing Act (PCHA) petition. Appellant argues that his arrest by security officers was illegal and that, consequently, the evidentiary fruits of that arrest would have been suppressed had the issue been raised pre-trial. His PCHA petition requested either discharge or a new trial on the
[ 316 Pa. Super. Page 331]
grounds that he was denied ineffective assistance of counsel in that trial counsel withdrew a suppression motion. The PCHA petition was denied and we affirm.
The factual situation of appellant's arrest is as follows. Appellant robbed an individual at gunpoint in the men's room of a department store and then shot the victim in the cheek. Robert Greer, a security investigator for the store, received some information*fn1 over his radio and then observed appellant running toward the main escalator. Greer followed appellant out of the store. He saw appellant with a gun in his hand and observed appellant put it in his jacket pocket. Appellant was then arrested by Greer and a security guard from a second department store.*fn2 The jacket and the gun which it contained was taken from appellant. Greer took appellant to a detention room in the security office of his department store. In the detention room, a store detective removed a wallet from appellant, which was later identified as the victim's. After all of the above events, Philadelphia police arrived and took appellant into custody.
Prior to the trial, counsel filed a motion to suppress the evidence obtained as a result of the arrest. The motion alleged that the arrest was illegal, lacking probable cause. However, at the suppression hearing, counsel withdrew the motion and stipulated that there had been probable cause for the arrest. At the PCHA hearing, trial counsel testified that he had withdrawn the motion and stipulated that there was probable cause because he knew what information the arresting person was given over his radio. By the time of the PCHA hearing, three and a half years later, trial counsel could not recall what that information was.
[ 316 Pa. Super. Page 332]
In pursuing this enquiry, we will engage in a two-step analysis. First, are there any legal consequences to a finding that this citizen's arrest was illegal? (We hold that there are.) Second, ...