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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ALVIN MILLER (09/21/84)

filed: September 21, 1984.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT,
v.
ALVIN MILLER



No. 2980 Philadelphia, 1982, Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Philadelphia County, No. 82-05-3232-3237.

COUNSEL

Steven J. Cooperstein, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellant.

Donald S. Bronstein, Assistant Public Defender, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Cavanaugh, Wieand and Cirillo, JJ. Cavanaugh, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Wieand

[ 334 Pa. Super. Page 377]

OPINION

Where the Commonwealth, in order to protect the life of an informant, refuses to disclose publicly the informant's identity or the identity of prior cases in which he cooperated with the police, does a suppression court properly strike the search warrant affidavit reciting probable cause provided by the informant and suppress the fruits of an armed

[ 334 Pa. Super. Page 378]

    robbery found in the accused's residence? We conclude that the evidence in this case was improperly suppressed. Therefore, we reverse and remand for further proceedings.

The relevant facts are not in dispute. On April 18, 1982, Korman's Discount Store on Ridge Avenue in Philadelphia was robbed by two men, one of whom wielded a sawed-off shotgun. Jewelry was taken having a value of several thousand dollars. On the following day, April 19, Detective John Knowles obtained a search warrant, with authority to conduct a nighttime search, for premises occupied by Alvin Miller at 2149 West Sherwood Street, Philadelphia. The affidavit of probable cause provided as follows:

On Monday 4-19-82 Kormans Discount 2163 Ridge Ave was robbed by two negro males at approximately 4:10 PM. This robbery was committed point of shot gun. When the two males were unable to gain entrance to the safe they broke the glass of a display case and removed several thousand dollars worth of jewelry[.] These items are discribed [sic] above as items to be searched for.

On Monday 4-19-82 the affiant received [sic] a telephone call at about 7:25 PM from a person who has given the affiant information in the past. The affiant met the informant and after having him identify a photo of the above named male the informant directed the affiant to the actors [sic] residence. The informant went on to say that earlier that day (4-19-82) he had been told by a Rodney Brooks that he and another male were "going to get down". A short time after this the informant saw Rodney Brooks in the company of the above named actor and was asked if he wished to buy any jewelry. Both the actor and Rodney Brooks had a large guanity [sic] of jewelry on them. He further stated that he heard both Brooks and Miller tell another male that they had robbed the Korean store at 22nd and Ridge and that is where the jewelry came from.

The affiant noted that the owners of Kormans Discount are Korean and that the actor fits the description [sic] of

[ 334 Pa. Super. Page 379]

    one of the males. This discription [sic] was given by the Korean ...


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