Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court, No. 955 Philadelphia 1986, dated November 3, 1986, affirming the Suppression Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, Bucks County, No. 4683 of 1985.
Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Zappala and Papadakos, JJ. Nix, C.j., files a concurring and dissenting opinion.
This appeal compels us to resolve a very limited issue as to whether or not a defendant's extemporaneous statements made after being given and invoking his Miranda*fn1 rights, may be introduced by the Commonwealth as evidence to rebut an insanity defense.
The chronicle of this case, as disclosed by stipulated facts presented at the suppression hearing prior to trial, disclose that State Police arrested Appellee on October 14, 1985 at the home of his parents. He was charged with the shooting of his mother. He was subsequently taken to State Police barracks in Dublin and formally advised of his Miranda rights. In response, Appellee stated that he wished to speak with an attorney. All questioning of Appellee thereafter ceased.
After invoking his rights, Appellee made various spontaneous, voluntary comments, the majority of which were not challenged as inadmissible by Appellee's counsel. Three of those statements, however, comprise the basis for the suppression request, on the predicate that their introduction would constitute an impermissible comment on Appellee's invocation of his right to remain silent. The statements in question are:
1. Appellee's question to First District Attorney Alan Rubenstein after being advised that he would be able to
receive a public defender, "Are public defenders as good as money lawyers?";
2. Appellee's question to District Justice Kathryn Stump at the time of his preliminary arraignment in which he asked, "How can I get to see the public defender on the sixth floor of the courthouse if I am in jail?"; and
3. Appellee's question to Deputy District Attorney Rea Mabon when she approached him in the Dublin Barracks of the Pennsylvania State Police as to whether she was his lawyer, and when she replied in the negative, his statement that he did not want to speak to her.
It was the intention of the Commonwealth to use these statements as probative of Appellee's state of mind immediately following the crime and therefore be relevant to its burden of rebutting Appellee's insanity defense.
Appellee's counsel filed a motion to suppress these statements and, following a hearing on April 7, 1986, the motion was sustained. The Commonwealth, pursuant to our holding in Commonwealth v. Dugger, 506 Pa. 537, 486 A.2d 382 (1985), filed a timely interlocutory appeal to the Superior Court. The Court affirmed the determination below. 358 Pa. Super. 207, 516 A.2d 1257. The Commonwealth then filed a Petition for Allocatur to this Court. We granted the petition to resolve what we perceive to be a question heretofore never addressed in this jurisdiction. Following a thorough analysis of this matter, and for the reasons which follow, we now reverse in part the determination of the Superior Court and lower court.
The theory underlying the Superior Court's affirmance of, and the trial court's decision to suppress Appellee's voluntary statements, is that the case sub judice is indistinguishable from the decisions rendered by the U.S. Supreme Court in Doyle v. Ohio, 426 U.S. 610, 96 S.Ct. 2240, 49 L.Ed.2d 91 (1976) ...