Appeal, No. 205, April T., 1960, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, April T., 1960, No. 3157, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. John Simon v. James F. Maroney, Warden. Order affirmed.
Martin Lubow, for appellant.
Samuel Strauss, Assistant District Attorney, with him Edward C. Boyle, District Attorney, for appellee.
Thomas M. Cooley, II and Majorie Hanson Matson, for amicus curiae.
Before Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ. (rhodes, P.j., absent).
[ 195 Pa. Super. Page 615]
When 18 years of age, John Simon, the petitioner in this habeas corpus case, raped two young girls and robbed three women, brutally clubbing two of them. He made a hood of overalls, and wore it over his head while committing the crimes. He had previously been in Juvenile Court as a result of his involvement in other serious law violations. He was apprehended, and on June 18, 1942, he was sentenced to a total of 20 to 40 years. Simon had an I.Q. of 59. He was, and is, recognized by the court and prison psychologists and psychiatrists as a potentially dangerous person of high moron intelligence.
When sentenced, he was not represented by counsel. The question here is whether he was deprived of due process of law by the acceptance of his uncounseled plea.
The Sixth Amendment to the Federal Constitution requires the assignment of counsel to defendants charged with crime in the federal courts, but neither the federal nor the State constitution requires that counsel be furnished to defendants charged in Pennsylvania courts with non-capital offenses. Commonwealth
[ 195 Pa. Super. Page 616]
the thorough independent examination always made by the board, his petition was denied. Three times his petition for commutation was argued by counsel who had extensive experience before the board. Numerous exhibits and over 300 pages of testimony were taken in the habeas corpus hearing now before us. From the day of this petitioner's arrest to the present time, numerous officials of this Commonwealth have checked and rechecked, investigated and reinvestigated, reviewed and rereviewed, examined and reexamined every fact and every circumstance of these crimes, and every circumstance of the proceedings in which he pleaded guilty and was sentenced, and every physical, mental and emotional characteristic of the petitioner.
Considering the "totality of facts" in this case - the unquestioned guilt of the prisoner, and the endless efforts of the courts and other officials to see that the petitioner was fairly treated and sentenced, - it would be error to release this dangerous prisoner to again prey upon the women and children of our Commonwealth. The courts have a duty to protect helpless ...