Com. ex rel. Shadd v. Myers

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtBefore BELL; EAGEN; COHEN; ROBERTS; Maxey's
Citation223 A.2d 296,423 Pa. 82
Decision Date07 October 1966
PartiesCOMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania ex rel. Ronald SHADD, Appellant, v. David N. MYERS, Supt., State Correctional Institution, Graterford, Pa.

Page 296

223 A.2d 296
423 Pa. 82
COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania ex rel. Ronald SHADD, Appellant,
v.
David N. MYERS, Supt., State Correctional Institution, Graterford, Pa.
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
Oct. 7, 1966.
Rehearing Denied Nov. 7, 1966.

[423 Pa. 84]

Page 298

David C. Harrison, Philadelphia, for appellant.

John A. McMenamin, Asst. Dist. Atty., Philadelphia, for appellee.

Before BELL, C.J., and MUSMANNO, JONES, COHEN, EAGEN, O'BRIEN and ROBERTS, JJ.

OPINION

EAGEN, Justice.

On May 19, 1960, the appellant, Ronald Shadd, was convicted by a jury of murder in the first degree and sentence was fixed at life imprisonment. Admittedly, throughout the proceedings, Shadd was represented by very competent court-appointed counsel. A motion for a new trial was duly filed and later withdrawn. Sentence was then imposed in accordance with the jury's verdict. No appeal from the judgment was filed.

In October 1965, Shadd instituted an action in habeas corpus which the court below dismissed. An appeal from that order is now before us.

In this collateral attack upon his conviction, sentence and confinement, Shadd's prime contention is, that constitutionally tainted evidence was improperly admitted against him over objection at trial which constituted a denial of due process.

[423 Pa. 85] The crime involved the fatal beating of one Albert J. Wahl during the burglary of a commercial store, which he managed in the city of Philadelphia. Shadd and one Felder were taken into police custody and questioned concerning participation in the crime. Shadd's constitutional rights, consisted of asserted was received at trial in violation of Shadd's constitutional rihts, consisted of testimony elicited from police witnesses, which may be summarized as follows:

During questioning, Felder made oral statements to the police, which were typewriter recorded, wherein he stated that he and Shadd committed the burglary and that he (Felder) held Wahl while Shadd beat him over the head with a rock. Shadd was then confronted with Felder in the presence of police investigating officers. One of the latter informed Shadd in detailed fashion of Felder's admissions and accusations. Shadd was asked if he had anything to say. He remained mute and made no denial.

This testimony was admitted in evidence as proof of a tacit acquiescence on the part of Shadd in the truth of Felder's statements. Pennsylvania has long adhered to the rule of evidence that when a statement made within the hearing and in the presence of a person (except in judicial proceedings) is incriminating in character and naturally calls for a denial, but is not challenged by the accused despite full opportunity and liberty to speak, the statement and the fact of his failure to deny are proper evidence of an implied admission of the truth of the accusatory statement. See, Commonwealth v. Vento, 410 Pa. 350, 189 A.2d 161 (1963); Commonwealth ex rel. Stevens v. Myers, 398 Pa. 23, 156 A.2d 527 (1959); Commonwealth v. Bolish, 381 Pa. 500, 113 A.2d 464 (1955); Commonwealth v. Shupp, 365 Pa. 439, 75 A.2d 587 (1950); Commonwealth v. Vallone, 347 Pa. 419, 32 A.2d 889 (1943); Commonwealth v. Aston (No. 2), 227 Pa. 112, 75 A. [423 Pa. 86] 1019 (1910); and, Ettinger v. Commonwealth, 98 Pa. 338 (1881). 1

Page 299

However, the United States Supreme Court in the recent decision of Miranda v. State of Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966), emphasizing the protection afforded a person accused of crime against self incrimination by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, definitely ruled that such evidence is not constitutionally permissible against an accused in state court criminal trials. Therefore, previous decisions of this Court to the contrary notwithstanding, it is now the law that the prosecution may not use, at trial, evidence that an accused stood mute or failed to deny incriminating accusations, or statements made in his presence. In short, the accused may not now be penalized for exercising his constitutional right to remain silent under such circumstances. The questions then follow: Must the particular ruling of Miranda be applied retroactively? Or in terms of this case: Does the admission at Shadd's trial of the evidence under discussion now render a new trial mandatory? We conclude not.

Johnson v. State of New Jersey, 384 U.S. 719, 86 S.Ct. 1772, 16 L.Ed.2d 882 (1966), clearly ruled that the new constitutional standards governing in-custody police interrogation of individuals accused, of crime, enunciated in Escobedo v. State of Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, 84 S.Ct. 1758, 12 L.Ed.2d 977 (1964), and Miranda v. State of Arizona, supra, do not require retroactive application. While the Court did not specifically discuss the situation herein present, it did pertinently say in Johnson v. State of New Jersey, supra, 86 S.Ct. at 1777 & 1778:

'In the past year we have twice dealt with the problem of retroactivity in connection with other constitutional rules of criminal procedure. Linkletter v. Walker, 381 U.S. 618, 85 S.Ct. 1731, 14 L.Ed.2d 601 (1965); [423 Pa. 87] Tehan v. United States ex rel. Shott, 382 U.S. 406, 86 S.Ct. 459, 15 L.Ed.2d 453 (1966). These cases establish the principle that in criminal litigation concerning constitutional claims, 'the Court may in the interest of justice make the rule prospective * * * where the exigencies of the situation require such an application.' 381 U.S., at 628, 85 S.Ct., at 1737; 382 U.S., at 410, 86 S.Ct. at 461. These cases also delineate criteria by which such an issue may be resolved. We must look to the purpose of our new standards governing police interrogation, the reliance which may have been placed upon prior decisions on the subject, and the effect on the administration of justice of a retroactive application of Escobedo and Miranda. See 381 U.S., at 636, 85 S.Ct. at 1741; 382 U.S., at 413, 86 S.Ct., at 464.

'In Linkletter we declined to apply retroactively the rule laid down in Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 81 S.Ct. 1684, 6 L.Ed.2d 1081 (1961), by which evidence obtained through an unreasonable search and seizure was excluded from state criminal proceedings. In so holding, we relied in part on the fact that the rule affected evidence 'the reliability and relevancy of which is not question.' 381 U.S., at 639, 85 S.Ct., at 1743. Likewise in Tehan we declined to give retroactive effect to Griffin v. State of California, 380 U.S. 609, 85 S.Ct. 1229, 14 L.Ed.2d 106 (1965), which forbade prosecutors and judges to comment adversely on the failure of a defendant to testify in a state criminal trial. In reaching this result, we noted that the basic purpose of the rule was to discourage courts from penalizing use of the privilege against self-incrimination. 382 U.S., at 414, 86 S.Ct., at 464.'

In Johnson, supra, the Court also noted that, while it gave retroactive application to...

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43 practice notes
  • United States ex rel. Johnson v. Cavell, No. 19299.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • October 3, 1972
    ...Pa. 558, 225 A.2d 540 (1967); Commonwealth ex rel. Newsome v. Myers, 422 Pa. 240, 220 A.2d 886 (1966); Commonwealth ex rel. Shadd v. Myers, 423 Pa. 82, 223 A.2d 296 23 Douglas v. California, 372 U.S. 353, 83 S.Ct. 814, 9 L.Ed.2d 811 (1963); Griffin v. Illinois, 351 U.S. 12, 76 S.Ct. 585, 10......
  • Com. ex rel. Staino v. Cavell
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • April 24, 1967
    ...of tacit admissions was judicially accepted in our Commonwealth. As this Court recently stated in Commonwealth ex rel. Shadd v. Myers, 423 Pa. 82, 85, 223 A.2d 296, 298 (1966): 'Pennsylvania has long adhered to the rule of evidence that when a statement made within the hearing and in the pr......
  • Com. v. Williams
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • November 27, 1968
    ...What is or is not a tacit admission is sometimes clear and sometimes uncertain and vague. However, in Commonwealth ex rel. Shadd v. Myers, 423 Pa. 82, 223 A.2d 296, this Court held that the tacit admission rule was no longer valid in Pennsylvania under the decision in Miranda v. Arizona, 38......
  • Com. v. Schmidt
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • January 19, 1973
    ...supra, 384 U.S. at 468 n. 37, 86 S.Ct. at 1625 (emphasis added). Responding to this pronouncement in Commonwealth ex rel. Shadd v. Myers, 423 Pa. 82, 223 A.2d 296 (1966), we held inadmissible Shadd's silence in the face of an accusation by a co-felon during a police interrogation. We denied......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
43 cases
  • United States ex rel. Johnson v. Cavell, No. 19299.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • October 3, 1972
    ...Pa. 558, 225 A.2d 540 (1967); Commonwealth ex rel. Newsome v. Myers, 422 Pa. 240, 220 A.2d 886 (1966); Commonwealth ex rel. Shadd v. Myers, 423 Pa. 82, 223 A.2d 296 23 Douglas v. California, 372 U.S. 353, 83 S.Ct. 814, 9 L.Ed.2d 811 (1963); Griffin v. Illinois, 351 U.S. 12, 76 S.Ct. 585, 10......
  • Com. ex rel. Staino v. Cavell
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • April 24, 1967
    ...of tacit admissions was judicially accepted in our Commonwealth. As this Court recently stated in Commonwealth ex rel. Shadd v. Myers, 423 Pa. 82, 85, 223 A.2d 296, 298 (1966): 'Pennsylvania has long adhered to the rule of evidence that when a statement made within the hearing and in the pr......
  • Com. v. Williams
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • November 27, 1968
    ...What is or is not a tacit admission is sometimes clear and sometimes uncertain and vague. However, in Commonwealth ex rel. Shadd v. Myers, 423 Pa. 82, 223 A.2d 296, this Court held that the tacit admission rule was no longer valid in Pennsylvania under the decision in Miranda v. Arizona, 38......
  • Com. v. Schmidt
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • January 19, 1973
    ...supra, 384 U.S. at 468 n. 37, 86 S.Ct. at 1625 (emphasis added). Responding to this pronouncement in Commonwealth ex rel. Shadd v. Myers, 423 Pa. 82, 223 A.2d 296 (1966), we held inadmissible Shadd's silence in the face of an accusation by a co-felon during a police interrogation. We denied......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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