Original Jurisdiction in case of Thomas H. Yarmoski, Jr. v. Honorable Betty Lloyd and Allegheny County Night Court.
Arnold H. Cantor, for petitioner.
Nancy E. Gilberg, with her, David R. Weyl, and Howland W. Abramson, for respondents.
Judges Doyle and Palladino, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.
[ 110 Pa. Commw. Page 98]
Before us in our original jurisdiction are preliminary objections to a Petition for Review filed by Thomas H. Yarmoski, Jr. (Petitioner). Petitioner alleges that he is a deputy constable in Allegheny County and seeks from this Court a declaration that constables and deputy constables possess the power of arrest on view without a warrant when acting within the scope and course of their duties, and further seeks an order enjoining the Allegheny County Night Court*fn1 (Night Court) and District Justice Betty Lloyd (D.J. Lloyd) from refusing to process and arraign prisoners arrested by constables and deputy constables without warrants.
The following factual allegations are pertinent. On or about January 9, 1987 Petitioner attempted to arrest one Joseph Michael Spanbauer for whom he held an arrest
[ 110 Pa. Commw. Page 99]
warrant issued by District Justice Elverda Dew (D.J. Dew). Upon attempting to effectuate the arrest, Petitioner encountered resistance from one Irene Mellars. Further, Petitioner observed Spanbauer attempting to flee. Accordingly, Petitioner arrested both Mellars and Spanbauer for offenses committed in his view, i.e., escape, hindering apprehension, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. Petitioner then took the two individuals to D.J. Lloyd who refused to file a complaint or conduct a preliminary arraignment and who advised Petitioner that constables had no power of arrest without a warrant. Petitioner then transported the two prisoners to D.J. Dew who gave Petitioner a commitment order for the charge against Spanbauer for the offense for which Petitioner held a warrant, but refused to arraign the two prisoners on the other charges because the alleged activities occurred outside of her jurisdiction.
Petitioner, in a further attempt to process charges, held the two individuals in his custody until the Night Court opened at 9:00 a.m. Upon arrival at the Night Court building, Petitioner was informed by the senior district justice that the prisoners could not be arraigned because constables had no power or authority to effect an arrest without a warrant. Petitioner then released Mellars and transported Spanbauer for commitment in accordance with D.J. Dew's order.
Petitioner asserts that pursuant to Section 1 of the Act of June 4, 1897, P.L. 121, 13 P.S. § 45 (Act) he is authorized to arrest without warrant if he views the crime. Section 1 reads as follows:
Arrest of Offenders on View
The policemen and constables of the several boroughs of this commonwealth, in addition to the power already conferred upon them, shall and may, ...