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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. HOLLINGER v. SHAEFFER (11/16/61)

November 16, 1961

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. HOLLINGER
v.
SHAEFFER, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 307, Oct. T., 1961, from order of Court of Quarter Sessions of Lancaster County, No. 241 of 1961, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Shirley A. Hollinger, mother and natural guardian of Judith Ann Kise, v. Albert R. Shaeffer. Order reversed.

COUNSEL

Harold E. Martin, for appellant.

No argument was made nor brief submitted for appellee.

Before Ervin, Weight, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ. (rhodes, P.j., absent).

Author: Ervin

[ 196 Pa. Super. Page 302]

OPINION BY ERVIN, J.

The single question raised in this appeal is whether a court of quarter sessions of the peace in a support hearing is obliged to employ the official court stenographer to report the proceedings when requested so to do by the defendant or his counsel before or during the trial of the case.

The record shows that the attorney for the defendant in the court below requested that the notes of testimony be taken and that the court refused the request, stating that the facts were not in dispute. An exception was taken to the ruling and after the imposition of an order of $10.00 a week for the support of a minor child, this appeal was taken.

While there was no testimony taken in the court below we were informed by appellant's counsel that he intended to endeavor to prove that he was not the father of Judith Ann Shaeffer. We were also told that he had a letter which purported to be in the handwriting of Shirley A. Hollinger, the mother of the child, addressed to her mother in which she stated that "Whitie [the appellant] isn't the father of Judy [Judith Ann Shaeffer]." We were also told that he desired to cross-examine the mother and to present

[ 196 Pa. Super. Page 303]

    other evidence to prove that he was not the father of Judith. The action of the court below prevented the appellant from presenting a defense.

Section 2 of the Act of May 1, 1907, P.L. 135, provided as follows: "The law judges of each of the several courts of oyer and terminer and general jail delivery, and of the courts of quarter sessions of the peace, are hereby authorized to employ the official stenographer, or stenographers, of the courts of common Pleas of the particular county, to report the proceedings of the said courts, whenever in the opinion of the trial judge such services shall be necessary."

The Act of May 5, 1911, P.L. 161, amended 2 of the Act of 1907 to read as follows: "The law judges of each of the several courts of oyer and terminer and general jail delivery, and of the courts of quarter sessions of the peace, shall employ the official stenographer or stenographers of the courts of common pleas of the particular county, to report the proceedings of the said court, whenever requested so to do by any defendant ...


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