290 A.2d 417 (Pa. 1972), Commonwealth v. Futch

Citation290 A.2d 417, 447 Pa. 389
Opinion JudgeAuthor: Roberts
Party NameCOMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania v. Clifford FUTCH, Appellant.
Case DateApril 20, 1972
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

Page 417

290 A.2d 417 (Pa. 1972)

447 Pa. 389

COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania


Clifford FUTCH, Appellant.

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

April 20, 1972.

Rehearing Denied May 22, 1972.

[447 Pa. 390] John J. Dean, Sallie Ann Radick, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Page 418

Robert W. Duggan, Dist. Atty., Carol Mary Los, Asst. Dist. Atty., Pittsburgh, Robert L. Campbell, Pittsburgh, for appellee.



ROBERTS, Justice.

We are asked to consider the effect of a claimed violation of Rule 118 1 of the Pennsylvania Rules of [447 Pa. 391] Criminal Procedure, 19 P.S. Appendix which prohibits 'unnecessary delay' between arrest and the filing of a complaint and 'preliminary arraignment' of a defendant. Defendant argues that as a result of the failure to comply with Rule 118, in-court identifications which he contends were based upon a lineup prior to being taken 'before the proper issuing authority' were improperly admitted at trial. While agreeing with defendant that in-court identifications based on a lineup held in violation of the 'unnecessary delay' provision of Rule 118 become inadmissible at trial, nevertheless we affirm appellant's judgment of sentence. We reach this result because the record establishes that in-court identifications of defendant by several eyewitnesses were not based on the challenged lineup but rather had an independent origin. 2

On August 22, 1970, at approximately 11:30 p.m., appellant Clifford B. Futch and an accomplice allegedly entered a Pittsburgh bar with the intention of committing a robbery. Their entrance and subsequent two to five minute stay in the bar was observed by most of the bar's approximately twelve patrons. During the course of the robbery several shots were fired and a patron of the bar was killed.

Futch was arrested without a warrant at 11:00 p.m., on the evening of August 25, 1970, three days after the robbery-murder. Without the assistance of counsel he was placed in a lineup the following afternoon at 12:15 p.m., some thirteen hours after his arrest. Thereafter at 1:00 p.m., defendant was finally taken before the 'issuing authority.'

[447 Pa. 392] The Commonwealth first argues that Rule 118 is inapposite to the facts of this case because there was no 'unnecessary delay' in presenting defendant before a magistrate. Such an assertion is difficult to square with the facts. Defendant was arrested at 11:00 p.m. and was held in custody some fourteen hours, placed in a lineup, and finally brought before a magistrate. Permissible delay between arrest and arraignment has been defined by Judge, now Chief Justice Burger, in the following fashion:

'Necessary delay can reasonably relate to time to administratively process an accused with booking, fingerprinting and other steps and sometimes even to make same (sic) limited preliminary investigation into his connection with the crime for which he was arrested, especially when it is directed to possible exculpation of the one arrested.'

Adams v. United States, 130 U.S.App.D.C. 203, 399 F.2d 574, 579 (1968) (concurring opinion).

The Commonwealth concedes that it had ample probable cause to arrest defendant, thus there existed no necessity for

Page 419

additional time to ascertain whether the police did indeed have the right man. Nor were the police warranted or even constitutionally able to take additional time to interrogate defendant; the record reveals that defendant specifically refused to give a statement at the time of his arrest and repeatedly thereafter and indeed said that he would not answer any questions without the presence of a lawyer. Compare Commonwealth v. Koch, 446 Pa. 469, 288 A.2d 791 (1972). In view of the uncontested availability of a magistrate during much of this fourteen hour interim, the record can only support a conclusion that defendant's lengthy custody prior to presentment before a magistrate constituted 'unnecessary delay' contrary to Rule 118.

It must now be determined what is the effect of a fourteen hour 'unnecessary delay' between arrest and [447 Pa. 393] arraignment on identification evidence obtained by the police during the 'unnecessary delay.' Rule 118 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure parallels Rule 5(a) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure which provides that '(a)n officer making an arrest . . . shall take the arrested person without unnecessary delay before the nearest available commissioner.' The United States Supreme Court in the exercise of its supervisory powers 3 has fashioned the so-called McNabb-Mallory rule 4 which precludes the use of any evidence obtained during an 'unnecessary delay.' This is subject to the common sense caveat that the 'unnecessary delay' must have contributed to the securing of the evidence. In United States v. Mitchell, 322 U.S. 65, 64 S.Ct. 896, 88 L.Ed. 1140 (1944), for example, a confession given within minutes of arrest was held admissible despite a subsequent eight day delay before presentment to a committing magistrate because the Court found that the delay did not contribute in anyway to securing the challenged confession. Compare Upshaw v. United States, 335 U.S. 410, 69 S.Ct. 170, 93 L.Ed. 100 (1948).

This Court has similarly been conscious of the possible adverse effects of police conduct which deviates from the unequivocal language of Rule 118. We have held that failure to comply with Rule 118 does not ipso facto render inadmissible evidence obtained by the police during the 'unnecessary delay' and that it is incumbent upon defendant to show some prejudice from the delay. Commonwealth v. Koch, 446 Pa. 469, 474, 288 A.2d 791, 793--94 (1972); Commonwealth ex rel. Butler v. Rundle, 429 Pa. 141, 155, 239 A.2d 426, 432--33 [447 Pa. 394] (1968); Commonwealth ex rel. Staino v. Cavell, 425 Pa. 365, 376, 228 A.2d 647, 653 (1967); Commonwealth ex rel. Wilkes v. Maroney, 423 Pa. 113, 120, 222 A.2d 856, 860 (1966). While this Court has never articulated precisely what constitutes 'prejudice' in the context of 'unnecessary delay' proscribed by Rule 118, we think it appropriate to follow the federal approach and exclude all evidence obtained during 'unnecessary delay' except that which, as in Mitchell, supra, has no reasonable relationship...

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