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COMMONWEALTH v. SAVOR (11/12/56)

November 12, 1956

COMMONWEALTH
v.
SAVOR, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 129, March T., 1956, from judgment of sentence of Court of Oyer and Terminer of Allegheny County, Feb. T., 1955, No. 20, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Peter Savor. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Peter Savor, appellant, in propria persona.

Edward C. Boyle, District Attorney, and William Claney Smith, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.

Before Stern, C.j., Jones, Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.

[ 386 Pa. Page 523]

OPINION PER CURIAM

Affirmed on the opinion of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania as reported in 180 Pa. Superior Ct. 469, 119 A.2d 849.

ING OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO:

I approach the writing of this Dissenting Opinion with some weariness because it seems incredible that this Court could affirm a criminal conviction resulting from a trial tainted with so palpably flagrant an error, as the one which will quickly be related. I am unhappy also that the Superior Court would seem to have withdrawn

[ 386 Pa. Page 524]

    from the position it has so staunchly defended in the past, namely, that a defendant may not be compelled to meet a charge of which he has no notice and which is irrelevant to the offense on which he is presently being tried. I further regret that the Majority Opinion in the Superior Court should have been written by a jurist who commands admiration and respect for his ability, learning, and deep sense of fairness, but who in this case arrives at a conclusion which may in the future be used as authority to support unfairness and injustice.

The defendant in this case, Peter Savor, was indicted for armed robbery. At his trial in the Court of Oyer and Terminer in Allegheny County a Commonwealth witness, Joseph Reese, was asked: "How long have you known Mr. Clegg [a co-defendant] and Mr. Savor?" Reese replied: "Well, I met Mr. Savor in 1943 in Western State Penitentiary ..."

The trial judge, instead of at once declaring a mistrial, allowed the assistant district attorney representing the prosecution to emphasize the outrageously improper statement by a second question which was in reality an affirmation, namely, "You met Mr. Savor in 1943 in the Western State Penitentiary?"

At this point, Savor's lawyer interposed: "Your Honor, I object to the answers being given by the witness, as being ...


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