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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. BRADLEY R. BAKER (12/15/86)

decided: December 15, 1986.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT,
v.
BRADLEY R. BAKER, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order entered by the Superior Court of Pennsylvania at No. 726 Pittsburgh, 1982, on July 6, 1984, reversing Judgment of Sentence entered June 2, 1982, in the Court of Common Pleas of Somerset County, Pennsylvania, Criminal Division, at No. 100 Criminal, 1981.

COUNSEL

James B. Yelovich, Dist. Atty., David Flower, Asst. Dist. Atty., Somerset, for appellant.

L. Edward Glass, Johnstown, for appellee.

Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson, Zappala and Papadakos, JJ. Nix, C.j., files a concurring opinion. Zappala, J., files a dissenting opinion.

Author: Mcdermott

[ 513 Pa. Page 25]

OPINION

Appellee, Bradley R. Baker, was convicted of two counts of violating the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act;*fn1 possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance;*fn2 and possession of a controlled substance.*fn3 Prior to trial Baker filed a motion to suppress. This motion was denied and during his trial the contraband,

[ 513 Pa. Page 26]

    which was seized by police while executing a search warrant, was introduced in evidence against him.

On appeal the Superior Court held that the affidavit in support of the application for the subject search warrant lacked sufficient specificity as to time and therefore failed of probable cause. 331 Pa. Super. 519, 479 A.2d 1093. We now reverse.

The issue before the Court is whether the application for the search warrant set forth sufficient information upon which to make a determination of the existence of probable cause.

The standard for evaluating whether probable cause exists for the issuance of a search warrant is the "totality of the circumstances" test set forth in Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 103 S.Ct. 2317, 76 L.Ed.2d 527 (1983). This Court specifically incorporated this test into the law of the Commonwealth in the case of Commonwealth v. Gray, 509 Pa. 476, 503 A.2d 921 (1985), wherein we stated:

The task of the issuing magistrate is simply to make a practical, common-sense decision whether, given all the circumstances set forth in the affidavit before him, including the "veracity" and "basis of knowledge" of persons supplying hearsay information, there is a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place. And the duty of a reviewing court is simply to ensure that the magistrate had a "substantial basis for . . . ...


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