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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. FRANK TRPUTEC (05/11/87)

filed: May 11, 1987.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
FRANK TRPUTEC, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Lawrence County, Criminal Division, at No. 803 of 1984.

COUNSEL

Michael J. Healey, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Andrea F. McKenna, Harrisburg, for Com., appellee.

Brosky, Del Sole and Johnson, JJ.

Author: Brosky

[ 363 Pa. Super. Page 240]

This is an appeal from a judgment of sentence entered against appellant after being convicted in a jury trial on one count each of criminal solicitation to commit murder and criminal conspiracy to commit murder. The appellant has raised eleven issues, included among them is the issue of whether the Office of the State Attorney General lacked authority to prosecute this case. Because we find that the

[ 363 Pa. Super. Page 241]

Attorney General lacked the requisite authority to prosecute the case we vacate the judgment of sentence.*fn1

Appellant was implicated in criminal activity by one Ron Arnold who was arrested in 1984 by Pennsylvania State Police and charged with 18 counts pertaining to four stolen tractor-trailers. As a result of that arrest, Arnold entered into a plea agreement in which he pled guilty to four counts of receiving stolen property. In addition to the crimes charged, Arnold admitted to the police his involvement in other crimes including the theft of some 40 tractor-trailer units, alteration of vehicle titles and arson. As to his part of the plea agreement, Arnold agreed to cooperate with the Attorney General in the prosecution of criminal activities of which he had knowledge. Arnold cooperated in these investigations in the hope that his sentence would be shortened and had been told that any cooperation he rendered would be brought to the attention of the sentencing judge, although he had received no promises that the Attorney General would make specific sentence recommendations.

One of the crimes in which Arnold admitted an involvement was an arson at F & H Equipment, a truck repair shop, located in Beaver County and owned by Frank Trputec. At the request of Francis H. Grolemund, a criminal investigator with the Pennsylvania State Police, Arnold arranged a meeting with Trputec. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the fire at F & H Equipment. To elicit information about the arson which had occurred in 1981 Arnold introduced the name of Bill Hilton into the conversation. Hilton had worked with Trputec to set the fire. The basis of Arnold's fabrication was that he was growing fearful that Hilton would talk about the fire as the police were reopening their investigation of the arson.

The initial meeting between Arnold and Trputec took place July 24, 1985. Arnold voluntarily consented to the recording of the meeting. The conversation between the two men was recorded by means of a recording device

[ 363 Pa. Super. Page 242]

    concealed on Arnold and monitored from a remote location ...


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