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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. WEIGNER v. RUSSELL. (01/16/62)

January 16, 1962

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. WEIGNER, APPELLANT,
v.
RUSSELL.



Appeal, No. 145, April T., 1961, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, Nov. T., 1960, No. 372, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Henry F. Weigner v. Harry E. Russell, Superintendent. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Henry F. Weigner, appellant, in propria persona.

Michael A. Hanna, District Attorney, for appellee.

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

Author: Rhodes

[ 197 Pa. Super. Page 84]

OPINION BY RHODES, P.J.

This is an appeal by relator, Henry F. Weigner, from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County dismissing his petition for writ of habeas corpus without a hearing. Appellant was not represented by counsel when he entered pleas of guilty and was sentenced by the Court of Quarter Sessions and the Court of Oyer and Terminer of Washington County on January 29, 1960.

Appellant contends on this appeal that he was deprived of due process of law as a result of the dismissal of his petition without a hearing, and that he was deprived of due process of law as a result of not being afforded counsel prior to his pleas of guilty and sentence for the crimes with which he was charged.

In September and October, 1959, a series of burglaries of garages, bars, clubs, and a service station occurred in Washington County. Appellant and accomplices were arrested on sworn informations on October 24, 1959, and when confronted readily confessed to these crimes. A number of indictments charging burglary and larceny at different times, and one bill of indictment charging escape while en route to the county jail were returned against appellant by the grand jury on January 22, 1960. On January 29, 1960, appellant entered pleas of guilty to all indictments and was sentenced by the court after hearing on the pleas for a total of six to twelve years.

Appellant filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County alleging that his constitutional rights had been violated in that he was not represented by counsel at his arraignment

[ 197 Pa. Super. Page 85]

    and sentencing. He alleged that counsel should have been provided for him because he had only a fourth grade education, and because of the seriousness of the crimes with which he stood charged. He does not allege that he was innocent, that the court or prosecuting officials in any manner coerced him or acted improperly, that he was inexperienced in criminal procedure, or that he did not know of the obligation of the court to appoint counsel free upon his request. Moreover, he does not anywhere allege in what manner his failure to have counsel prejudiced him. We fail to see in what way counsel could have contributed to a different result.

Judge CUMMINS of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, who dismissed appellant's petition, was also the trial judge before whom the pleas of guilty were entered. He properly considered the court record of the pleas and sentences (Com. ex rel. Chambers v. Claudy, 171 Pa. Superior Ct. 115, 90 A.2d 383), and, upon considering the petition in the ...


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