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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. BARRY GIBBS (02/02/89)

decided: February 2, 1989.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
BARRY GIBBS, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Pike County, Entered on June 24, 1986, and November 4, 1986, at No. 89-1984-Criminal Division.

COUNSEL

Ronald M. Bugaj, Honesdale, Barry Gibbs, I.P.P., for appellant.

Michael E. Weinstein, Matamoras, for appellee.

Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Zappala, Papadakos and Stout, JJ. Larsen, J., files a dissenting opinion in which Flaherty and McDermott, JJ., join.

Author: Papadakos

[ 520 Pa. Page 152]

OPINION OF THE COURT

This case involves the imposition of a death sentence. The Appellant alleges seventeen errors below. We conclude on one issue that his right to request an attorney pursuant to the warnings required by Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966) and its progeny was impaired by the authorities and his subsequent statements were admitted improperly into evidence. For this reason, we order a new trial following automatic review by this Court pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. ยง 9711(h), (i).

Appellant was convicted in the shooting death of a security guard. Evidence at the guilt stage of the trial demonstrated that a co-defendant had hired Appellant to kill her

[ 520 Pa. Page 153]

    husband. The shooting, however, actually resulted in the death of a co-worker guard for which Appellant and several others were arrested two days later. The following testimony relevant to this opinion was given by the State Police Trooper describing his administering of the Miranda warnings:

Q. O.K. Can you continue? Just tell us what happened when you first started the interview.

A. O.K. I read the Miranda warnings to him. He indicated that he understood. At that particular point he then asked or he made the statement, "Maybe I should talk to a lawyer. What good would it do me to tell you?" I responded by telling him, "I really don't know what good it would do. The only thing is I would tell the District Attorney you cooperated for ...


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