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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. LYNETTE BEARD. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (06/30/83)

decided: June 30, 1983.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT,
v.
LYNETTE BEARD. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT, V. MARVIN JONES



No. 81-1-41, Appeal from the Orders of the Superior Court at Nos. 1147 and 1148 April Term, 1978, entered December 5, 1980, affirming the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Criminal Division, at Nos. CC7800092A and CC7800093A, entered July 10, 1978, No. 81-1-42.

COUNSEL

Robert L. Eberhardt, Deputy Dist. Atty., Kenneth J. Benson, Asst. Dist. Atty., Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Bruce A. Carsia, Pittsburgh, for Beard.

John A. Halley, Pittsburgh, for Jones.

Roberts, C.j., and Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson and Zappala, JJ.

Author: Roberts

[ 501 Pa. Page 386]

OPINION OF THE COURT

This is an appeal of the Commonwealth, by allowance, from an order of the Superior Court affirming an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which granted appellees' motion to suppress physical evidence seized from appellees' apartment pursuant to a search warrant. We disagree with the Superior Court's conclusion that the warrant was improperly executed. Hence we reverse

[ 501 Pa. Page 387]

    the order of the Superior Court and remand the record for trial.*fn1

The search warrant in this case was issued to a Pittsburgh police officer in the early morning hours of November 15, 1977, to authorize a search for heroin allegedly located in an apartment occupied jointly by appellees Lynette Beard and Marvin Jones. That same day, three officers drove to the address named in the warrant, arriving at approximately 1:00 p.m. Subsequent to the issuance of the warrant, the officers had received information from an unnamed informant that Jones would be arriving at the apartment sometime shortly after one o'clock to cut and package heroin. Although the officers were aware that Beard was at home, they parked their vehicle around the corner from the apartment and began a surveillance of the premises. At about 1:30 p.m., Jones drove up to the apartment and alighted from his car. As Jones walked toward the rear door of the apartment, the police drove their car alongside Jones's car and stopped. All three officers then emerged from the car and began to follow Jones to the rear of the premises.

According to the findings of the suppression court, as Jones reached the back porch, he turned, saw the officers, and ran inside the apartment, shouting "Police!" The officers pursued Jones into the apartment, forcibly entering through the rear door which Jones had shut and locked behind him. Once inside the apartment, they observed Jones in the bathroom flushing something down the toilet. Several packages of heroin were found nearby. Jones was placed under arrest, and both he and appellee Beard, who had been asleep up to this point, were informed of the search warrant. A search of the premises revealed additional drugs, which, along with the heroin, were seized by the officers.

Appellee Beard was charged with criminal conspiracy, 18 Pa.C.S. § 903(a), and three counts of violating the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, 35 P.S. § 780-101 ...


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