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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. DENNIS ALAN MCDONNELL (10/16/86)

decided: October 16, 1986.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT,
v.
DENNIS ALAN MCDONNELL, APPELLEE



Appeal from the order of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania at No. 463 Harrisburg, 1983, dated March 29, 1985, affirming the Order of Suppression of the Court of Common Pleas of Adams County, Pennsylvania, dated November 16, 1983, at CC-290-83. 343 Pa. Superior Ct. 614, 494 A.2d 482 (1985)

COUNSEL

Roy Alan Keefer, Dist. Atty., Gettysburg, for appellant.

Walton V. Davis, Gettysburg, for appellee.

Stuart Suss, Asst. Dist. Atty., West Chester, amicus curiae, for Pa. Dist. Atty's. Ass'n.

Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson, Zappala and Papadakos, JJ. McDermott, J., joins the majority opinion and files a concurring opinion. Zappala, J., files a concurring opinion in which Flaherty, J., joins.

Author: Hutchinson

[ 512 Pa. Page 174]

OPINION OF THE COURT

The Commonwealth appeals by allowance a Superior Court order, 343 Pa. Super. 614, 494 A.2d 482, affirming Adams County Common Pleas' order granting appellee's pre-trial motion for suppression of evidence. The trial court found that police officers executing a valid search warrant failed to comply with Pa.R.Crim.P. 2007, the so-called "knock and announce" rule, when they entered an unlocked porch to knock on the door of the house described in the warrant. Thus, it held that evidence seized in the house as a result of the officer's search of the house itself must be suppressed.

This record does not show a violation of our state and federal constitutions' prohibitions against unreasonable searches. Moreover, Rule 2007, as properly read to effectuate its purpose, was not violated and suppression of this

[ 512 Pa. Page 175]

    evidence is not required. Therefore, we reverse Superior Court's order and remand the record to Common Pleas for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

On July 12, 1983, the Pennsylvania State Police obtained a warrant to search appellee's residence for marijuana, and money, records and paraphernalia related to its use and sale. Appellee lived in a one and one-half story brick house with a large enclosed redwood porch in the front and a smaller one in the rear. His house is located in Hamiltonban Township, Adams County. On July 13 at approximately 7:15 a.m. three state troopers arrived to execute the search warrant. The officers approached from the rear. They opened the unlocked porch door and entered the porch area, but did not search it. One of the officers knocked on the door to the house proper; appellee answered. The officer identified himself and informed appellee that the police were there to execute a search warrant. Appellee allowed the officers to enter; no force was used. The officers confiscated cocaine, marijuana, various pieces of paraphernalia and a sawed-off shotgun. Appellee was charged with two violations of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, Act of April 14, 1972, P.L. 233, as amended, 35 P.S. § 780-101 -- 780-144, possession of a controlled substance, 35 P.S. § 780-113(a)(16) (supp. 1986), and possession of a small amount of marijuana, 35 P.S. § 780-113(a)(31) (supp. 1986). He was also charged with prohibited offensive weapons, 18 Pa.C.S. § 908.

Prior to trial, appellee moved for suppression of all items seized because the executing officer ...


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