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COMMONWEALTH v. STEVENSON (06/12/62)

June 12, 1962

COMMONWEALTH
v.
STEVENSON, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 104, Oct. T., 1962, from judgment of County Court of Philadelphia County, Feb. T., 1961, No. 4106, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Garrison Stevenson. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Cecil B. Moore, for appellant.

Arlen Specter, Assistant District Attorney, with him Charles Jay Bogdanoff, Assistant District Attorney, Paul M. Chalfin, First Assistant District Attorney, and James C. Crumlish, Jr., District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Ervin

[ 198 Pa. Super. Page 57]

OPINION BY ERVIN, J.

On March 17, 1960 the defendant, Garrison Stevenson, had a preliminary hearing before the Hon. THEODORE SPAULDING sitting as a committing magistrate in the Juvenile Division of the County Court of Philadelphia. At the time of this hearing Stevenson, who was born November 22, 1942, was 17 years old. Judge SPAULDING, sitting as a committing magistrate, held the defendant under $500.00 bail for a hearing in the Women's Criminal Division of the Municipal Court. While it might have been better for Judge SPAULDING to have certified the case to the district attorney, as is provided under § 18 of the Juvenile Court Act of June 2, 1933, P.L. 1433, 11 PS § 260, it was nevertheless a binding over for trial in accordance with § 11 of the Act of July 12, 1913, P.L. 711, as amended, 17 PS § 694. In this particular case it was not necessary for the district attorney to present a bill of indictment to the grand jury for the reason that the defendant signed a statement addressed to the district attorney advising him that he "is willing to waive an indictment by a Grand Jury and requests that a bill of Indictment be prepared and that his plea of Guilty be entered thereon." No harm resulted to the defendant because the case was certified to the Women's Criminal Division of the Municipal Court, which was the court in Philadelphia County which had jurisdiction to try this type of case. In all counties of the Commonwealth, with the exception of Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties, the court of quarter sessions is the only court which has jurisdiction to try this type of case.

Appellant, in his brief, states that Judge SPAULDING had not been certified as a Juvenile Court judge and therefore the Court of Quarter Sessions did not have jurisdiction of the case. There is nothing in the record to substantiate this charge. On the contrary, a certificate of the Clerk of the Juvenile Division of the Municipal

[ 198 Pa. Super. Page 58]

Court, now County Court, given March 13, 1962, states that on March 17, 1960 Judge SPAULDING was sitting in the Juvenile Court. In our opinion this was a proper certification by the Juvenile Court to the Criminal Division of the Municipal Court. Section 11 of the Act of July 12, 1913, P.L. 711, as amended, 17 PS § 694, provides: "The judges of the said Municipal Court shall be ex officio justices of the peace." That section further provides: "When defendants are bound over for trial in any case, indictments may be presented against them before the grand jury in accordance with existing laws, which indictments may be tried either in existing courts or in the Municipal Court as the case may be. ..." That section also provides that the Municipal Court shall have jurisdiction in all criminal actions and suits for penalties with the exception of certain major crimes, none of which are involved here.

Section 13 of the act imposes upon the Municipal Court the duty to try prosecutions which may be brought therein, those of which they have original jurisdiction "or which may be brought therein for trial by the district attorney. ..." See also Com. v. Weiner, 67 Pa. Superior Ct. 558.

The attorney for the appellant seems to think that the Court of Quarter Sessions was the proper court to hear this case. We cannot agree with him. In Philadelphia County the Municipal Court, now County Court, is the proper court to hear this type of case.

By §§ 1 and 2 of the Act of July 17, 1961, P.L. 781, 17 PS §§ 705, 706, the name of the Municipal Court of Philadelphia was changed to County Court of Philadelphia and it was provided that "All jurisdiction, powers and duties conferred upon the Municipal Court of Philadelphia by any act of ...


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