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UNITED STATES EX REL. RUSSELL v. COMMONWEALTH

July 24, 1951

UNITED STATES ex rel. RUSSELL
v.
COMMONWEALTH et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARSH

The petitioner urges that this court grant his petition on the grounds that:

 'a. His signature was obtained to District Attorneys bills of indictments, while under influence of 'Duress.'

 'b. His signature was obtained to said bills, without the privilege and right for Counsel or/and Counsels presence.

 'c. His signature was obtained to said bills outside of a Court, within the County Prison.

 'd. That two names appears (sic), on said indictments, each name carrying the burden of equal guilt, yet one defendant received a double sentence.

 'e. In crime of felony is it lawful to try and sentence a citizen without a grand inquest indictment, upon a District Attorney's Indictment, which is merely a bill of information.'

 The answer of the District Attorney of Blair County contains the photostatic copies of the indictments. The indictments are in proper form and the petitioner waived presentment to the grand jury and entered a plea of guilty on each indictment. *fn1" The answer also contains a copy of the official transcript of the court proceedings from which the following appears:

 'By the Court: Q. Do you have an attorney? A. No. Sir.

 'Q. Do you desire the Court to appoint one for you? A. No Sir.'

 And on page 4 of the transcript the following appears:

 'Q. You are George E. Russell one of the defendants in this case? A. Yes.

 'Q. About these two checks, were they made out by you? That is the check dated November 14, 1949, drawn on the Altoona Trust Company in the amount of $ 54.00, made payable to Patrick J. O'Reily, fraudulently signed by Otto F. Epple and was endorsed by you and cashed you you? (sic.) A. Yes.

 'Q. And the other one was dated November 5, 1949, drawn on the Altoona Trust Company in the amount of $ 85.00 made payable to Mrs. Dorothy L. Williams and fraudulently endorsed Mrs. Dorothy L. Williams and ...


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