Com. ex rel. Linde v. Maroney

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtBefore BELL; DAGEN; ROBERTS; COHEN; ROBERTS
Citation206 A.2d 288,416 Pa. 331
Decision Date12 January 1965
PartiesCOMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania ex rel. Elmer Carl LINDE, Appellant, v. James F. MARONEY, Superintendent, State Correctional Institution.

Page 288

206 A.2d 288
416 Pa. 331
COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania ex rel. Elmer Carl LINDE, Appellant,
v.
James F. MARONEY, Superintendent, State Correctional Institution.
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
Jan. 12, 1965.

[416 Pa. 333]

Page 289

Elmer Carl Linde, in pro. per.

Edward B. Doran, Asst. Dist. Atty., Greensburg, for appellee.

[416 Pa. 332] Before BELL, C. J., and MUSMANNO, JONES, COHEN, EAGEN, O'BRIEN and ROBERTS, JJ.

[416 Pa. 333] DAGEN, Justice.

On September 6, 1958, the appellant, Elmer Carl Linde, was convicted by a jury of murder in the first degree. He was represented during the proceedings by court-appointed counsel. Punishment was fixed at life imprisonment. A motion for a new trial was dismissed and judgment of sentence imposed in accordance with the verdict. No appeal was filed.

On December 12, 1963, an action in habeas corpus was instituted which the lower court dismissed without hearing. An appeal from that order is presently before us.

The evidence at trial established that the appellant and one Ruth Nolan were close personal friends; that she was desirous of ending their relationship and requested him to remain away from her home; that on June 13, 1958, after consuming a quantity of alcohol and stealing a gun from his rooming house, the appellant went to the home shared by Ruth Nolan and her mother about 1:30 o'clock in the morning; that he tried to shoot her by firing the gun through a bedroom window; that he then broke into the house and fired five bullets into her body causing wounds from which death resulted in minutes; that in the melee, he himself received a serious gunshot wound in the side of his body.

Appellant first complains that he was not afforded the assistance of counsel at the hearing before the [416 Pa. 334] committing magistrate. The record discloses that at this hearing the accused plead 'not guilty', and that nothing that occurred at that time was introduced in evidence at trial on the indictment or in any way entered into the jury's determination of his guilt or innocence. Under the circumstances, no violation of constitutional rights occurred. See, Commonwealth ex rel. Maisenhelder v. Rundle, 414 Pa. 11, 198 A.2d 565 (1964); Commonwealth ex rel. Herge v. Rundle, 415 Pa. 36, 202 A.2d 24 (1964).

Appellant next complains that a coroner's inquest was conducted in his absence

Page 290

which violated his constitutional right to be present 'at every stage of the proceedings.' The record does not disclose whether or not such an inquest took place, but assuming such to be the fact, the complaint is without merit.

In the instant case, the appellant was taken before a magistrate following the issuance of a warrant, given a preliminary hearing and held for the grand jury. The coroner's inquest was not any part of the proceedings whereby the appellant was brought to justice. It was not an adversary proceeding and, at most, it served as an aid in the detection of crime and was merely advisory to those charged with the administration of the criminal law. See, Commonwealth ex rel. Czako v. Maroney, 412 Pa. 448, 194 A.2d 867 (1963) and Commonwealth ex rel. Tanner v. Ashe, 365 Pa. 419, 76 A.2d 210 (1950). The appellant suffered no prejudice as a result and his rights were not infringed upon because he did not have the opportunity to be present: See, Act of August 9, 1955, P.L. 323, § 1248, 16 P.S. § 1248: 'The coroner may, in his discretion, admit or exclude members of the public from any inquest or part thereof, and admit or exclude any person interested or suspected * * *. No person excluded may appear by attorney * * *.' See also, Commonwealth ex rel. Bishop v. Claudy, 373 Pa. 523, 97 A.2d 54 (1953), affirming 2 [416 Pa. 335] Cumb. 105 (1952); Commonwealth ex rel. Huffman v. Claudy, 36 Erie 159 (1952); and 8 P.L.E. Coroners § 6 (1958).

Appellant next complains that his constitutional rights were violated when he was not afforded counsel immediately following his arrest, and particularly before and at the time he was interrogated by the investigating police officers.

No eyewitnesses saw the actual shooting involved. 1 When the police first arrived on the scene, Ruth Nolan was dead. The appellant was lying seriously wounded at or near her feet. The murder weapon was found in an adjoining room. The appellant was immediately taken to a hospital where an emergency operation was performed. Later that morning, he was interrogated by the police at which time he was first and immediately warned that anything he said would be recorded and used against him in court. However, the assistance of counsel was not offered nor requested. His description of the event was stenographically recorded. Subsequently, it was typewritten and four days later presented to the appellant to read. After suggesting an important correction, he signed it. This statement was admitted in evidence at trial. 2 The question immediately arises: Were the police required to afford or at least offer the assistance of counsel before proceeding with the questioning. Since this admittedly did not happen, does this failure constitute a denial of [416 Pa. 336] 'the assistance of counsel' in violation of the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and, therefore, render inadmissible the incriminating statement? Our conclusion is to the contrary.

The statement here involved was obtained through a perfectly legitimate, police investigation of what was then an unsolved murder. While the circumstances undeniably indicated the guilt of the appellant, this conclusion was far from being exclusive. Before an arrest was made, the police were not only justified in their actions, but were required in fulfillment of their responsibilities to hear 'the other side' and to give the suspected individual the...

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21 practice notes
  • State v. Ussery, No. 40606
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 13, 1970
    ...retroactive include People v. Huntley, 15 N.Y.2d 72, 255 N.Y.S.2d 838, 204 N.E.2d Page 151 179; Commonwealth ex rel. Linde v. Maroney, 416 Pa. 331, 206 A.2d 288; Commonwealth ex rel. Butler v. Rundle, 416 Pa. 321, 206 A.2d 283; Commonwealth v. Tabb, 417 Pa. 13, 207 A.2d 884; State v. Winset......
  • Miranda v. State, No. 759
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • October 10, 1966
    ...44 N.J. 151, 207 A.2d 542; People v. Gunner, 15 N.Y.2d 226, 257 N.Y.S.2d 924, 205 N.E.2d 852; Commonwealth ex rel. Linde v. Maroney, 416 Pa. 331, 206 A.2d 288; Browne v. State, 24 Wis.2d 491, 129 N.W.2d 175, 131 N.W.2d 169.An ample reading is given in: United States ex rel. Russo v. State o......
  • Miranda v. State of Arizona Vignera v. State of New York Westover v. United States State of California v. Stewart 8212 761, 584, Nos. 759
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 13, 1966
    ...44 N.J. 151, 207 A.2d 542; People v. Gunner, 15 N.Y.2d 226, 257 N.Y.S.2d 924, 205 N.E.2d 852; Commonwealth ex rel. Linde v. Maroney, 416 Pa. 331, 206 A.2d 288; Browne v. State, 24 Wis.2d 491, 129 N.W.2d 175, 131 N.W.2d 169. An ample reading is given in: United States ex rel. Russo v. State ......
  • United States v. State of New Jersey, No. 14833
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • May 20, 1965
    ...85 S.Ct. 730, 13 L.Ed.2d 706 (1965). The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, in three recent cases, Commonwealth ex rel. Linde v. Maroney, 416 Pa. 331, 206 A.2d 288 (1965); Commonwealth ex rel. Storch v. Maroney, 416 Pa. 55, 204 A.2d 263 (1964) and Commonwealth v. Coyle, 415 Pa. 379, 203 A.2d 78......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
21 cases
  • State v. Ussery, No. 40606
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 13, 1970
    ...retroactive include People v. Huntley, 15 N.Y.2d 72, 255 N.Y.S.2d 838, 204 N.E.2d Page 151 179; Commonwealth ex rel. Linde v. Maroney, 416 Pa. 331, 206 A.2d 288; Commonwealth ex rel. Butler v. Rundle, 416 Pa. 321, 206 A.2d 283; Commonwealth v. Tabb, 417 Pa. 13, 207 A.2d 884; State v. Winset......
  • Miranda v. State, No. 759
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • October 10, 1966
    ...44 N.J. 151, 207 A.2d 542; People v. Gunner, 15 N.Y.2d 226, 257 N.Y.S.2d 924, 205 N.E.2d 852; Commonwealth ex rel. Linde v. Maroney, 416 Pa. 331, 206 A.2d 288; Browne v. State, 24 Wis.2d 491, 129 N.W.2d 175, 131 N.W.2d 169.An ample reading is given in: United States ex rel. Russo v. State o......
  • Miranda v. State of Arizona Vignera v. State of New York Westover v. United States State of California v. Stewart 8212 761, 584, Nos. 759
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 13, 1966
    ...44 N.J. 151, 207 A.2d 542; People v. Gunner, 15 N.Y.2d 226, 257 N.Y.S.2d 924, 205 N.E.2d 852; Commonwealth ex rel. Linde v. Maroney, 416 Pa. 331, 206 A.2d 288; Browne v. State, 24 Wis.2d 491, 129 N.W.2d 175, 131 N.W.2d 169. An ample reading is given in: United States ex rel. Russo v. State ......
  • United States v. State of New Jersey, No. 14833
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • May 20, 1965
    ...85 S.Ct. 730, 13 L.Ed.2d 706 (1965). The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, in three recent cases, Commonwealth ex rel. Linde v. Maroney, 416 Pa. 331, 206 A.2d 288 (1965); Commonwealth ex rel. Storch v. Maroney, 416 Pa. 55, 204 A.2d 263 (1964) and Commonwealth v. Coyle, 415 Pa. 379, 203 A.2d 78......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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