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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. DOUGLAS KEITH ROBERTS (09/05/86)

filed: September 5, 1986.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT
v.
DOUGLAS KEITH ROBERTS



Appeal from the Order entered August 20, 1985 in the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, Criminal No. 1499 C 1984.

COUNSEL

Donna Jean McClelland, Assistant District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Com., appellant.

Joseph R. Govi, Greensburg, for appellee.

Del Sole, Montemuro and Popovich, JJ. Popovich, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Del Sole

[ 356 Pa. Super. Page 311]

This is an appeal by the Commonwealth from an order suppressing the results of field sobriety tests, an intoxilyzer examination and statements made by Appellee to the police.

The facts as found by the trial court may be briefly summarized as follows.

On the evening of June 29th, 1984, a Westmoreland County park police officer observed a vehicle being operated in an erratic manner on Route 356 which is a public highway and not within the confines of the County park system. Believing the operator to be under the influence of alcohol, the park police officer radioed the Allegheny Township Police Department advising the Department that he was following a suspected drunk driver. The Township police advised the officer to pull the driver over and that the Township police would be there at once. The officer stopped the vehicle, directed the driver to turn off his engine and be prepared to provide his card to the Township police who the driver was advised would be arriving shortly. The Township police arrived and had the driver perform a sobriety test and noted a statement made by the driver. Subsequently, the driver was given an intoxilyzer test.

Appellee, the driver, was charged with two counts of Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol; 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3731(a)(1) and 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3731(a)(4). Appellee moved to suppress the results of the field sobriety tests, intoxilyzer examination and statement made to the police. Following a hearing on the motion the court made findings of fact as summarized above and thereafter entered conclusions of law. The court concluded that stopping Appellee and advising him to await the arrival of the Township Police constituted an arrest. The arrest was outside the jurisdiction of the park policeman and 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 8953(a)(3) does not confer jurisdiction on the park policeman. The court determined that park police do not have jurisdiction to enforce the motor vehicle code on public highways outside of the park system and municipal police officers cannot empower

[ 356 Pa. Super. Page 312]

    park police to perform arrests they are otherwise without authority to make.

In the first instance, it is noteworthy that the Commonwealth's appeal of a suppression order is proper as an appeal from a final order when the Commonwealth certifies in good faith that the suppression order terminates or substantially handicaps its prosecution. Commonwealth v. Dugger, 506 Pa. 537, 546-547, 486 A.2d 382, 386 (1985). Since the certification requirement has been satisfied, we find that the ...


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