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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. HAINES v. BURKE (07/14/53)

July 14, 1953

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. HAINES
v.
BURKE



COUNSEL

Conrad G. Moffett, Philadelphia, Donald E. Wieand, Allentown, Pa., for appellant.

Robert V. Ritter, Asst. Dist. Atty., M. Jack Morgan, Dist. Atty., Allentown, for appellee.

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

Author: Rhodes

[ 173 Pa. Super. Page 478]

RHODES, President Judge.

Relator's petition for writ of habeas corpus was filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County, and on March 10, 1952, President Judge Henninger, in a comprehensive opinion, refused the writ. Relator appealed from the order of the court, which will be affirmed.

On January 5, 1943, relator was indicted by a grand jury in Lehigh County at Nos. 50, 51, 52, and 53, January Sessions, 1943. He was charged in the four bills of indictment with armed robbery, robbery, assault with intent to rob, demanding property by means of force, assault and battery, larceny, and receiving stolen

[ 173 Pa. Super. Page 479]

    goods. The first three bills also contained counts charging rape and assault with intent to ravish. It was alleged that relator held up four different couples in parked cars between August 11, 1942, and September 24, 1942. In three instances he was charged with having bound the man and raped the woman.

The four indictments were consolidated for trial before the same jury, and relator was convicted on each bill. On January 8, 1943, he was sentenced by the Court of Oyer and Terminer of Lehigh County to the Eastern State Penitentiary. Separate sentences for terms of not less than seven and one-half years nor more than fifteen years were imposed on bills Nos. 50, 51, and 52. On bill No. 53 the sentence was for a term of not less than five years nor more than ten years. The sentences were to run consecutively.

In his present petitioner relator makes two contentions which he argues require the granting of a writ of habeas corpus. He first complains that counsel was appointed for him by the trial court only fifteen minutes before the trial began, and that consequently he did not have adequate time to confer with his counsel, to prepare his defense, or to summon witnesses. In this connection we observe from the trial record that relator was not brought to trial for more than three months after his arrest; that he had a preliminary hearing at which he was confronted by his accusers; and that his trial lasted three days. Secondly, he contends that he was denied due process of law because he was not tried separately on each indictment.

Relator had filed a petition on October 3, 1950, for writ of habeas corpus in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania at No. 392, Miscellaneous Docket No. 9, Eastern District. The matter of the consolidation for trial of the four indictments was not raised ...


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