Criminal division



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COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

vs
STEVEN FRANKLIN MORDEN

Defendant

IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS FOR THE 26TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT, COLUMBIA COUNTY BRANCH, PENNSYLVANIA

CRIMINAL DIVISION

CASE NO: 754 of 2000





RICHARD KNECHT, ESQUIRE, Attorney for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

HUGH SUMNER, ESQUIRE, Attorney for Defendant



FINDINGS

After hearing held on May 8, 2002, regarding defendant’s Motion to Suppress Statements to Police, the court makes the following findings:




  1. Pursuant to a crime investigation, Briar Creek police officer Thomas Frace called the 18 year old high school student defendant and asked him to come to the Briar Creek Police station for an interview. The officer did not say what the interview concerned.




  1. On July 17, 2000, defendant came to the police station willingly with his parents. Defendant willingly signed a form (Com. Exhibit #1) on police stationery which indicated that he understood that he was free to leave the non-custodial interrogation at any time.




  1. Defendant asked if his parents could be present for the interview, and the officer permitted them to be present.




  1. Defendant then willingly signed a “Miranda Warning and Waiver” (Com. Exhibit #2).




  1. With defendant’s parents present, Officer Frace started the interview and told defendant about the allegations against him. Defendant consistently denied any of the accusations.




  1. Twenty-five minutes into the interview, the parents indicated a desire to leave the room, and they in fact left. Defendant did not object. Defendant himself was free to leave and terminate the interview, but he stayed and the interview continued.




  1. Officer Frace then advised defendant that he knew defendant was lying and that if he were honest, the officer would be “fair” to him. He also said that if defendant “came clean” with everything, he would inform the D.A. and the judges that he was cooperative and would mention the cooperation to the Magistrate to help with bail so that he could finish high school. He also told defendant that he may have to go to jail.




  1. Approximately five minutes after his parents left, defendant put his head down, started to cry, and said “I did it.” He then elaborated on the details, and reduced them to writing on a form entitled “Voluntary Statement.” (Com. Exhibit #3).




  1. Defendant always knew he had a right to leave the room and the interrogation. The interview lasted approximately one and one-half hours.




  1. Officer Frace performed the interview in good faith

and was not oppressive or misleading.


  1. Defendant’s statements given to the police, in



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