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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. SAVOR v. JOHNSTON. (06/10/59)

June 10, 1959

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. SAVOR, APPELLANT,
v.
JOHNSTON.



Appeal, No. 84, April T., 1959, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Oct. T., 1958, No. 830, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ex rel. Peter E. Savor v. Frank C. Johnston, Warden. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Marjorie Hanson Matson, for appellant.

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

Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ.

Author: Woodside

[ 189 Pa. Super. Page 641]

OPINION BY WOODSIDE, J.

This is an appeal from the refusal of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County to grant a writ of habeas corpus to Peter G. Savor, a prisoner in Rockview State Penitentiary.

Savor, James Clegg, and Joseph Reese were indicted in the Court of Oyer and Terminer of Allegheny County on a charge of armed robbery. Reese pleaded guilty and was a witness for the prosecution at the trial of Savor and Clegg. He testified that the three of them selected a drug store as a place to rob and drove around the block to "case the place;" that Savor owned and drove the car, and was fully cognizant of the plans; that Savor owned the gun which was used and gave it to Reese before Reese and Clegg entered the drug store; that Savor waited in the car while they robbed the store; and that the proceeds of the robbery were split between Savor, Clegg and Reese in the automobile following the robbery.

Reese was questioned by the district attorney as follows: "Q. How long have you known Mr. Clegg and Mr. Savor? A. Well I met Mr. Savor in 1943 in the

[ 189 Pa. Super. Page 642]

Western State Penitentiary..." Objection was made to the answer as prejudicial to Savor because it indicated that he had committed a prior serious crime. The objection was sustained, the answer stricken, and the jury warned by the trial judge to ignore it. Subsequently, a motion to withdraw a juror was made and denied.

Savor and Clegg were convicted and sentenced. Savor appealed to this Court contending then, as he does again at this time, that he should be granted a new trial because the trial judge refused to withdraw a juror after the reference of Reese to meeting him in the Western State Penitentiary. In an opinion written by Judge WRIGHT, 180 Pa. Superior Ct. 469, 119 A.2d 849 (1956), we held that the appellant had a fair trial, and we sustained the conviction. An allocatur was sought and obtained from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. That Court affirmed the conviction on the opinion of Judge WRIGHT. 386 Pa. 523, 126 A.2d 444. Certiorari was denied by the Supreme Court of the United States. 353 U.S. 958.

The fairness of his trial was thus examined by three appellate courts including the Supreme Court of the United States. After the highest Court of this Commonwealth and the Supreme Court of the United States examined his case and denied him relief, the appellant then attempted to have the same question again examined by the courts. He filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. That court refused to grant the writ. He then filed the petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. From the refusal of that court to ...


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