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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. WING v. CLAUDY (04/22/52)

April 22, 1952

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. WING, APPELLANT
v.
CLAUDY



Appeal, No. 12, March T., 1952, from refusal of petition for writ of habeas corpus, Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Sept. T., 1951, No. 425, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ex rel. George Wing, v. Quarter Sessions Court Officials of Erie County and Dr. J. W. Claudy, Warden, Western State Penitentiary. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Valera Grapp, for appellant.

Damian McLaughlin, District Attorney, with him Lindley R. McClelland, Assistant District Attorney, for appellees.

Before Drew, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey and Musmanno, JJ.

Author: Bell

[ 370 Pa. Page 367]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BELL

In this appeal from an Order of the court below dismissing a petition and rule for a writ of habeas corpus, the only important question to be resolved is whether the record affirmatively shows the presence of the petitioner at all stages of the proceedings against him.

In November, 1929, petitioner, while represented by two counsel, was arraigned and pleaded guilty to murder. The crime was determined to be murder in the first degree and he was sentenced to life imprisonment. In August, 1951, he filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus alleging many reasons, all but two of which were abandoned. Only one contention merits discussion, viz.: that the record does not affirmatively show that he and his counsel were present at the time of the arraignment, plea and sentence.

The law is clearly settled as stated by Chief Justice MAXEY in Commonwealth v. Johnson, 348 Pa. 349, 35 A.2d 312: "The principle has long been established in our criminal jurisprudence that in capital cases the record must show that the prisoner was present at the trial, verdict and at the passing of the sentence: Dunn v. Com., 6 Pa. 384.... This principle was reiterated in

[ 370 Pa. Page 368]

Com. v. Silcox, 161 Pa. 484, 496, 29 A. 105, where we said: 'In capital cases the record must show affirmatively that the prisoner was present at every stage of the proceedings against him.'" We must therefore examine the record to determine whether it affirmatively shows that the prisoner was present at the arraignment, trial, verdict, sentence and at every stage of the proceedings against him.

"Arraignment" is thus defined in 22 C.J.S. Criminal Law, ยง 406, page 625: "To arraign a prisoner is to call him to the bar of the court to answer the accusation contained in the indictment, and the arraignment consists of calling the prisoner to the bar and identifying him, reading the indictment to him, or furnishing him with a copy of it and taking his plea".

"Arraignment" according to Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Third Revision, Eighth Edition, Volume 1, page 239, is: "Calling the defendant to the bar of the court to answer ...


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