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HOLMES. (HOLMES APPEAL.) (03/16/54)

March 16, 1954

IN RE HOLMES. (HOLMES APPEAL.)


COUNSEL

William J. Woolston, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Samuel Dash, Asst. Dist. Atty., Michael von Moschzisker, First Asst. Dist. Atty., Richardson Dilworth, Dist. Atty., Philadelphia, Frank P. Lawley, Jr., Deputy Atty. Gen., Harry F. Stambaugh, Sp. Counsel, Pittsburgh, Harrington Adams, Acting Atty. Gen., for appellee.

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

Author: Rhodes

[ 175 Pa. Super. Page 140]

RHODES, President Judge.

This appeal questions the legality of an order of the Municipal Court of Philadelphia, Juvenile Division, committing Joseph Holmes, aged 16, to the Pennsylvania Industrial School at White Hill, as a delinquent child under The Juvenile Court Law of June 2, 1933, P.L. 1433, as amended, 11 P.S. § 243 et seq.

Joseph Holmes was born on May 7, 1936. He was adjudged delinquent on August 19, 1949, by the Municipal Court of Philadelphia, Juvenile Division, upon a petition alleging that he was involved in a highway

[ 175 Pa. Super. Page 141]

    robbery. At that time he was placed on probation. Subsequently, on January 19, 1951, he was exonerated of participation in a burglary, and allowed to continue on probation, although his record showed absence from school for sixty-seven days of the current school year. Between January of 1951 and August of 1952, the school authorities advised the Juvenile Court of Holmes' persistent absence from school and the continuation of his truancies. Holmes was again taken into custody on August 18, 1952, for a delinquency involving highway robbery and assault and battery. After a hearing he was committed to Pennypack House for training, where he remained for two months, or until November 12, 1952, at which time he was discharged and placed on probation.

On December 23, 1952, Holmes was taken into custody on a delinquency petition alleging larceny of an automobile, operating an automobile without the owner's consent, and operating an automobile without a driver's license. He was given a hearing before the Juvenile Court on January 7, 1953. At this hearing Holmes denied knowledge that the car was stolen and stated that he was told it belonged to an uncle of one of his companions. Holmes, however, admitted driving the car without a license. The Juvenile Court adjudged Holmes delinquent on the charge of operating a motor vehicle without a license, although in so doing the court inadvertently used the words 'We will mark him guilty on this charge.' Holmes was committed to the county prison pending a hearing on other charges.

On January 12, 1953, a petition was filed setting forth Holmes's delinquency by reason of his participation in an armed robbery of Our Lady of Victory Church at 54th and Vine Streets, Philadelphia. Wideman, a companion of Holmes in the stolen automobile, signed a confession and, upon a criminal trial, was convicted

[ 175 Pa. Super. Page 142]

    on the charge of armed robbery at the church. Wideman's signed confession, used against Wideman at the trial, implicated Holmes, Richard Hodges, and Charles Clark as participants in the robbery. However, at a hearing held on January 23, 1953, before Judge Propper on the delinquency petition, Hodges and Holmes denied knowledge that the car was stolen and denied participation in the robbery. At the conclusion of this hearing Judge Propper revoked Holmes' probation and ordered him committed to the Pennsylvania Industrial School at White Hill. In making the commitment Judge Propper referred to Holmes' prior record in the Juvenile Court. Meanwhile, counsel entered an appearance for Holmes. Appellant's attorney then sought permission to inspect the Juvenile Court file, including the reports of court investigators. The court permitted inspection of the notes of testimony and records of the Juvenile Court relating to Holmes, but denied the right of appellant's attorney to inspect the reports of court investigators. At the request of appellant and his attorney, the court granted Holmes a rehearing, which was held on March 6, 1953. Over objection of appellant's attorney, the Commonwealth offered additional evidence in an attempt to establish Holmes' delinquency as to the theft of the automobile and participation in the church robbery. However, the Commonwealth's witnesses, Wideman and Clark, repudiating prior confessions, testified that Holmes, who was with them at the time, did not know the ...


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