A blog of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section

 

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By BURT ROSE

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On September 28, 2016, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued its decision in the matter ofCommonwealth v Fant, No. 66 MAP 2015. This is a case that required interpretation of 18 PACS section 5704(14). The court held that recorded telephone visit conversations at a county prison were not subject to the exception set forth in section 5704(14) of the wiretap act. Therefore the decision of President Judge Craig Miller of the Court of Common Pleas of Clinton County to suppress conversations between an inmate and a visitor over a phone line that did not involve the outside telephone company was affirmed because the conversations were not subject to the county correctional facility telephone exception under the wiretap act.

 

This opinion was written by Justice Donohue joined by Chief Justice Saylor and Justice Dougherty. Justice Todd and Justice Todd joined the opinion except for certain minor discrepancies. Justice Baer wrote a dissenting opinion joined by Justice Mundy.

 

Please note that this decision was a reversal of the ruling of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania in Com v Fant, 109 A3d 775 (Pa. Super. 2015), which had reversed the suppression court.

 

Counsel for the Appellant was Robert Thompson of Rosamilia & Brungard of Lock Haven, PA.

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