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COMMONWEALTH v. KUMITIS (07/20/50)

July 20, 1950

COMMONWEALTH
v.
KUMITIS



COUNSEL

Albert Kumitis, in pro. per.

Warren S. Sharpless, Dist. Atty., Hervey B. Smith, Asst. Dist. Atty., Bloomsburg, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross and Arnold, JJ.

Author: Dithrich

[ 167 Pa. Super. Page 185]

DITHRICH, Judge.

Defendant, appearing in propria persona in this appeal from a conviction and sentence for aggravated robbery, has filed 18 assignments of error and a 70-page statement of the question involved, which boils down to Whether the conduct of the trial judge met with the

[ 167 Pa. Super. Page 186]

    fundamental standards of fairness and decency imposed by the Bill of Rights as secured by the Constitution of Pennsylvania P.S., and whether the manner in which it was conducted, ran afoul of the basic standards of fairness which is involved in the constitutional concept of due process of law.'

After considering all of the assignments very carefully, we have reached the conclusion that they are, with one possible exception, without merit.

Defendant was indicted and convicted of having committed, with accomplices unnamed and unapprehended, an armed robbery of the B. P. O. Elks Lodge Club in Berwick, Pennsylvania, and of having stolen and carried away approximately $1,500 in cash, a quantity of liquor, and a number of slot machines.

Roy Croop, night steward at the Club, stated that about 4 o'clock in the morning of September 23, 1944, some one rang the doorbell at the rear entrance of the Club. When he opened the door he was confronted with three masked and armed men, who forced him back into the building, bound his hands and feet with rope, and placed a blindfold over his eyes. He was forced to remain in that position on the floor of the banquet hall adjoining the grill for a period of approximately an hour, during which time he could hear four persons -- the three whom he saw were later joined by a fourth, whose voice he recognized as that of the defendant -- ransack the building, most of the time being occupied in removing eleven slot machines, which were quite heavy. As soon as he was able to free himself, he reported the robbery to the Berwick police. After an investigation, in which the local police were aided by the State Police, two of the slot machines were recovered from a hotel in Mt. Carbon, Schuylkill County. The proprietor testified that they had been left at his place by the defendant on or about October 10, 1944.

[ 167 Pa. Super. Page 187]

On October 21 the defendant was arrested in front of the residence of Frank Markunas and his wife, Violet Markunas, in Mahanoy City, where the defendant had a room. In his room the officers found a fountain pen, which was identified as having been stolen in the robbery, and in a shed at the rear of the premises one of the missing slot machines was found. On the same day the officers, armed with a search warrant for premises rented by Mrs. Markunas in Ryan Township, where defendant maintained a headquarters and repair shop for the pinball machine business in which he was engaged, found a pair of pliers and a screw driver which had been stolen from the Club, keys which opened the locks of the slot machines, keys to ...


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