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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. LOCKHART v. MYERS. (11/16/60)

November 16, 1960

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. LOCKHART, APPELLANT,
v.
MYERS.



Appeal, No. 296, Oct. T., 1960, from order of Court of Common Pleas No. 5 of Philadelphia County, March T., 1960, No. 453, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Sylvester Lockhart, Jr. v. David N. Myers, Superintendent. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Sylvester Lockhart, Jr., appellant, in propria persona.

Domenick Vitullo, Assistant District Attorney, Paul M. Chalfin, First Assistant District Attorney, and Victor H. Blanc, District Attorney, for appellee.

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

Author: Wright

[ 193 Pa. Super. Page 534]

OPINION BY WRIGHT, J.

Sylvester Lockhart, Jr. has appealed from an order of Court of Common Pleas No. 5 of Philadelphia County, entered April 28, 1960, dismissing his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. We have carefully reviewed the voluminous original trial record, which discloses the following factual situation:

On February 5, 1954, appellant, in company with Nathanial R. Spencer, Emmit Bethea, and Robert W. Batchelor, committed an armed robbery on the premises of the United Provision Company, 221 Noble Street, in the City of Philadelphia. It is a fair inference from the testimony that appellant was the ringleader. It was he who carried the gun, threatened the employes and customers, and personally took the payroll money and the wallets of the individual victims. Appellant was apprehended on February 18, 1954. On February 19, 1954, he was given a preliminary hearing, which was continued until February 24, 1954. At

[ 193 Pa. Super. Page 535]

    that hearing, he was identified by several witnesses. As a result, appellant was held without bail for court. At March Sessions 1954, the grand jury returned true bills against appellant as follows: Bill No. 138 charging robbery of Samuel Skversky, Bill No. 139 charging robbery of Samuel Cohen, Bill No. 140 charging robbery of the company payroll funds, Bill No. 141 charging robbery of Emanuel Gordon, and Bill No. 142 charging robbery of Lamar Collins. At arraignment, appellant pleaded not guilty to these five bills of indictment. On July 1 and 2, 1954, he was tried before President Judge SLOANE and a jury. Related indictments against Spencer, Bethea and Batchelor, were tried at the same time. Each defendant was represented by his own attorney. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury found appellant guilty on each indictment. There were no motions for new trial or in arrest of judgment. Appellant was sentenced on Bills Nos. 138 and 139 to consecutive terms of 10 to 20 years. Sentence was suspended on the other bills. Appellant is presently confined in the State Correctional Institution at Graterford. It should be noted that, at the time of the United Provision Company robbery, he was on parole from a previous sentence. Upon his commitment on the present sentences, it was first necessary for him to serve the unexpired portion of the prior sentence. Cf. Commonwealth ex rel. Cooper v. Banmiller, 193 Pa. Superior Ct. 524, 165 A.2d 397.

The instant petition covers some 40 pages, and the brief on this appeal is of equal length. Both are prolix, verbose, and redundant. While strict rules of pleadings do not apply to petitions for habeas corpus, some legal definiteness and certainty are required: Commonwealth ex rel. Kennedy v. Mingle, 388 Pa. 54, 130 A.2d 161. Appellant's statement of the nine questions allegedly involved covers four typewritten pages.

[ 193 Pa. Super. Page 536]

None of his contentions reveal any merit. They are mainly concerned with purported trial errors which should have been tested by a motion for new trial or in arrest of judgment. It is well established that relief from alleged trial errors may not be obtained by habeas corpus. The writ is not a substitute for a motion for new trial or an appeal.*fn1 Nevertheless, and with the hope that ...


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