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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. GARY W. KIESSLING (09/26/88)

submitted: September 26, 1988.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
GARY W. KIESSLING, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of February 24, 1988, in the Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County, Criminal Division, at No. 87-10298.

COUNSEL

G. Scott Gardner, Williamsport, for appellant.

Kenneth A. Osokow, Assistant District Attorney, Williamsport, for Com., appellee.

Rowley, Del Sole, and Beck, JJ.

Author: Beck

[ 380 Pa. Super. Page 443]

The issue on appeal is whether a search warrant which misidentifies the location of the premises to be searched in a multi-dwelling building is invalid. Under the circumstances of this case, we find that the warrant was not invalid and affirm the trial court's denial of the appellant's suppression motion.

Gary Kiessling appeals a judgment of sentence imposed following his convictions for possession of cocaine, possession with intent to deliver cocaine, and possession of marijuana.

At the time of the search which led to his arrest, Kiessling lived in a house divided into a top floor and a bottom floor residence. Kiessling lived in the first floor residence. The search warrant issued in this case described the dwelling to be searched as follows:

The home is divided into two dwellings. The owner named Eisworth resides in the bottom, and Gary Kiessling resides in the top. Entrance is gained to the Kiessling dwelling by a door on the outside located on the north of the home . . . After entering the door, a stairway leads up to the Kiessling dwelling.

Kiessling attempted to have the evidence seized from his residence suppressed based upon the fact that the warrant mistakenly stated that he lived on the second floor of the dwelling when in fact he resided on the first floor. The trial court held that despite the slight error, the warrant

[ 380 Pa. Super. Page 444]

    was sufficiently specific and therefore valid. Furthermore, the court noted that the execution of the warrant was constitutional as the officers, upon realizing the error, proceeded directly to the Kiessling residence on the first floor.

The Fourth Amendment standard under which we review the warrant is whether the officers' error in obtaining and executing the warrant was reasonable under the circumstance. On appeal, Kiessling does not address the reasonableness standard but urges that any warrant which incorrectly describes a premises is invalid. Citing Commonwealth v. Carlisle, 517 Pa. 36, 534 A.2d 469 (1987), appellant argues that a search warrant for a multiple-unit dwelling is invalid for lack of specificity where it fails ...


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