No. 786 Philadelphia, 1983, Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Montgomery County, No. 3206-82.
Ronald T. Williamson, Assistant District Attorney, Norristown, for Commonwealth, appellant.
John V. Ryan, Merion Station, for appellee.
Spaeth, President Judge, and Wieand and Cirillo, JJ.
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Can a township policeman in Montgomery County, having probable cause to believe that a robbery has been committed and that the robbers are seated in a vehicle parked on the Philadelphia side of Cheltenham Avenue, cross the
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street into Philadelphia and make a legal arrest? The pre-trial hearing court in Montgomery held that the arrest was illegal and suppressed incriminating evidence found in the vehicle and also an incriminatory statement made by appellee. We reverse.
At or about 1:45 p.m. on September 22, 1982, James Linkletter was assaulted and robbed by three black males in Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County. An eye-witness saw the robbers flee in a black over yellow Camaro which had extensive damage to the driver's side. One of the men was wearing black trousers and a brown jacket. This information was communicated to Officer Daniel Rickard, a township policeman, who had arrived at the scene of the robbery pursuant to police radio. Rickard thereafter returned to patrol, where, shortly before three o'clock, he observed a black over yellow Camaro parked on Cheltenham Avenue in such a way as to straddle the sidewalk. The driver's side had substantial body damage, and standing beside the vehicle was a black male wearing black trousers and a brown jacket. Two additional black males were seated in the car. At the point where the car was parked, the center line of Cheltenham Avenue forms the boundary between Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County, and the City of Philadelphia. The Camaro was parked on the Philadelphia side of the street.
Rickard pulled his vehicle behind the Camaro and approached the vehicle on foot. One of the occupants emerged and walked away with the male who was dressed in the black trousers and brown jacket. LeRoy Phillips, the appellee, remained in the back seat of the car. Rickard told the two who were leaving that he wanted to talk to them; whereupon, they started to run. Rickard gave chase but the two men took different routes, and Rickard was not able to overtake either one. He then observed that Phillips, who had been in the back seat of the car, was also running away. Rickard was able to overtake him on Limekiln Pike and place him under arrest. This was in Philadelphia. When Rickard and Phillips returned to the Camaro, the
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robbery victim's wallet and umbrella were found on the back seat of the vehicle. Phillips then gave an incriminating statement to the police.
The Commonwealth's right of appeal is clear. Its prosecution will be so severely hampered by an inability to use the evidence suppressed by the trial court that it will not be able to proceed. Counsel for appellee concedes that prosecution cannot proceed without the incriminating evidence suppressed by the court. Therefore, we may proceed to a review of the trial court's suppression order. See: Commonwealth v. Miller, 334 Pa. ...