No. 82 Harrisburg, 1982, Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Court Division, of Fulton County, No. 13-1981-J.
Kenneth F. Lee, Chambersburg, for appellant.
Merrill W. Kerlin, District Attorney, McConnellsburg, for participating party.
Wickersham, Wieand and Cercone, JJ. Wickersham, J., filed a dissenting opinion.
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Randy Scott Mellott, a sixteen year old juvenile, was adjudicated delinquent because of a tragic hunting accident in which he accidentally shot and killed another hunter whom he momentarily and mistakenly believed to be a wild turkey. On appeal, he contends that his adjudication hearing was held in violation of Pa.R.Crim.P. 1100. He also contends that an incriminating statement made by him to a deputy game warden, as well as the offending shotgun, should have been suppressed.
Appellant's first contention is lacking in merit. Rule 1100 does not apply to juvenile proceedings. Pa.R.Crim.P. 1(a). See: Commonwealth v. Sadler, 301 Pa. Super. 228, 233-234, 447 A.2d 625, 627-628 (1982); Commonwealth v. Jackson, 287 Pa. Super. 430, 430 A.2d 680 (1981); Commonwealth v. Mitchell, 283 Pa. Super. 455, 460-461, 424 A.2d 897, 900 (1981), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 851, 102 S.Ct. 292, 70 L.Ed.2d 141; Commonwealth v. Bell, 245 Pa. Super. 164, 166, 369 A.2d 345, 346 (1976), aff'd, 481 Pa. 229, 392 A.2d 691 (1978). Due process and equal protection arguments have been made with respect to the inapplicability of Rule 1100 to juvenile proceedings and have been rejected. Commonwealth v. Sadler, supra; Commonwealth v. Jackson, supra. The court's adjudication in this case is not subject to reversal on Rule 1100 grounds.
The second issue is not so easily resolved. In reviewing the juvenile court's order denying a motion to suppress evidence, we follow established precedent.
[W]e determine whether the record supports the factual findings of the suppression court, as well as determine
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the reasonability of any inferences and legal conclusions drawn from the court's findings of fact . . . . In considering whether the record supports the court's finding of facts we must restrict ourselves to reviewing the evidence presented by the Commonwealth 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. Eliff, 300 Pa. Super. 423, 428, 446 A.2d 927, 929 (1982) (citations omitted). Accord: Commonwealth v. Tuck, 322 Pa. Super. 328, 332, 469 A.2d 644, 646 (1983).
After law enforcement officers learned of the hunting accident, three deputy game wardens and two state policemen went to the scene, where a crowd of persons had already gathered. The state policemen examined the victim of the shooting, and the game wardens performed crowd control duties. Berley Souders, one of the deputy game wardens, asked, "Is the person who done the shooting here?" Two men responded in the affirmative and pointed to Mellott. Souders testified that the crowd seemed to be "gawking" at the juvenile; and, therefore, he told him "Come with me. We will get away from these people. Come on, let's take a walk down. We will talk to you down here." After Mellott had been removed to an isolated spot, Souders asked, "Did you fire the shot?" Mellott responded "Yeah. I was the one that shot." He added that he thought it was a turkey. Souders did not know Mellott and did not then know he was a juvenile. He asked the juvenile for identification. Mellott gave Souders his name but said he had no identification, that his hunting license was with his vest. When asked where that was, he said, "Down by the creek with my gun." Mellott was subsequently advised of his Miranda rights, and thereafter accompanied another deputy game warden to ...