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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. WILLIAMS v. COLLINS (06/11/57)

June 11, 1957

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. WILLIAMS
v.
COLLINS, APPELLANT.



Appeal No. 112, Oct. T., 1957, from judgment of Municipal Court of Philadelphia, Women's Criminal Division, May T., 1954, No. 4102, W.C. No. 23910, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Constance Williams v. Robert Collins. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

David H. Kubert, for appellant.

Joseph P. McLaughlin, Assistant District Attorney, with him Thomas M. Reed, Assistant District Attorney, James N. Lafferty, First Assistant District Attorney, and Victor H. Blanc, District Attorney, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ. (hirt, J., absent).

Author: Woodside

[ 183 Pa. Super. Page 535]

OPINION BY WOODSIDE, J.

The appellant was convicted before a jury, and sentenced in the Municipal Court of Philadelphia, on the charge of neglecting to support a child born out of wedlock. He appeals from the refusal of the court below to grant him a new trial.

Counsel for the defendant complains about a number of insignificant occurrences during the trial which neither alone nor collectively warrant the granting of a new trial.

First, he objects to a reference to the defendant as "father" which the trial judge made in his charge. Counsel admits in his brief that the judge's reference was a "slip of the tongue." The slip appears in the following part of the charge: "And she testified that he told her then that he would not contribute to the child's support because, the mother said, that the father told her that he had heard from somebody else that he was not the father of the child. Therefore, if

[ 183 Pa. Super. Page 536]

    the jury finds that the defendant is the father of this child, then there had been made out a case of neglect to support a child born out of lawful wedlock. I say the essential feature in this case is the determination is this defendant the father of that child."

After completion of the charge the defense counsel properly called the attention of the trial judge to the erroneous reference, and stated that "an unfortunate statement was made which you did not intend." To this the trial judge replied, "The defendant in place of the father."

Taking the charge as a whole this reference could not possibly have confused the jury, and is no ground for the granting of a new trial. It did not indicate that the judge thought that the defendant was guilty, and it would not be ground for a new trial even if ...


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