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HANDWRITING EXEMPLAR NEIL CASALE. APPEAL NEIL CASALE (01/16/85)

filed: January 16, 1985.

IN RE HANDWRITING EXEMPLAR OF NEIL CASALE. APPEAL OF NEIL CASALE


NO. 2250 PHILA. 1983, Appeal from the Order in the Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County, Criminal No. 83-10, 672

COUNSEL

John P. Campana, Williamsport, for appellant.

William P. Carlucci, Assistant District Attorney, Williamsport, for appellee.

Spaeth, President Judge, and Beck and Tamilia, JJ.

Author: Spaeth

[ 338 Pa. Super. Page 113]

This is an appeal from an order compelling appellant to appear at the office of the assistant district attorney and submit a handwriting exemplar. Appellant argues that the trial court had no jurisdiction to enter the order because at the time the order was entered appellant had not been arrested and no charges had been filed against him, and the order was not incident to a grand jury investigation. Cf. Commonwealth v. Polak, 438 Pa. 67, 263 A.2d 354 (1970) (under Act of June 16, 1836, P.L. 784, 17 P.S. § 2079, court had power to issue subpoena only if there was some pre-existing matter or cause pending before the court). In rejecting this argument and holding that it did have jurisdiction to enter the order, the trial court reasoned that the Commonwealth's motion to compel appellant to submit a handwriting exemplar related to an ongoing police investigation and was supported by a sufficient allegation of probable cause. As appellee the Commonwealth argues that the trial court had jurisdiction to issue the order under Pa.R.Crim.P. 2002(c), which provides that a search warrant may be issued for "property which constitutes evidence of the commission of a criminal offense." The Commonwealth also argues

[ 338 Pa. Super. Page 114]

    that the order is interlocutory. We have concluded that the order is interlocutory, and we therefore quash the appeal, without considering its merits.

This court has jurisdiction over appeals taken from "final orders" of the courts of common pleas. 42 Pa.C.S. § 742.*fn1 Our Supreme Court has long held that an order denying a motion to quash a grand jury subpoena is not a final order from which an appeal may be taken. See Petition of Specter, 455 Pa. 518, 317 A.2d 286 (1974). Rather, the person subpoenaed must either comply with the subpoena or refuse to comply and litigate the validity of the subpoena if contempt proceedings are brought against him. Id. Forcing the person subpoenaed to make this choice is justified by the "necessity for expedition in the administration of the criminal law." Id. (citation omitted). This is also true of subpoenas issued by an administrative agency. In Pennsylvania Human Relations Comm'n v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp., 483 Pa. 35, 394 A.2d 525 (1978), the Court reasoned:

The need for expedition in administrative agency investigations is at least as great as in grand jury investigations. We can perceive of no legitimate legal or policy reason for providing for a different result as to when the matter is ripe for appellate review based solely on the fact that the body issuing the subpoenas is an administrative agency and not an investigating grand jury. We note that in both the Petition of Specter, supra, and in the instant case the right of the body to issue the subpoena was being challenged.

483 Pa. at 37-38, 394 A.2d at 527.

The order here at issue is in the nature of a subpoena, although it is arguably more intrusive than a subpoena. A subpoena compels a person to appear and testify and, ...


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