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COMMONWEALTH v. JAMES (03/17/64)

March 17, 1964

COMMONWEALTH
v.
JAMES, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 200, Oct. T., 1962, from judgment of Court of Oyer and Terminer of Philadelphia County, Oct. T., 1961, No. 2157, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Robert James. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Oscar S. Schermer, for appellant.

Arthur J. Marion, Burton Satzberg, and Arlen Specter, Assistant District Attorneys, F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, Jr., 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

[ 202 Pa. Super. Page 466]

OPINION BY ERVIN, J.

The appellant, Robert James, was tried before the Honorable BERNARD J. KELLEY, a jury having been waived, and convicted on the charge of possession of drugs: Act of July 11, 1917, P.L. 758, § 4, 35 PS § 854. He appeals after the imposition of sentence to a prison term.

The facts are as follows: Officer Martin Miller of the Philadelphia Police Force testified that armed with a search warrant he went to the premises 5731 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. He observed the appellant park his car and approach the house with a bag in his left hand. As the officer confronted the appellant, he threw the bag on an adjoining porch. It was recovered by Officer John Smith who turned it over to Officer Miller. Miller had the bag and contents examined by police chemist Charles Lampert, who found the contents to contain mixtures of heroin hydrochloride, quinine hydrochloride and reducing sugar.

Appellant's counsel raises the following points on this appeal:

1. A defendant in a criminal case has the right to discharge his counsel at any stage of the proceeding with or without cause where he is sui juris and mentally competent.

2. A defendant in a criminal case who is sui juris and mentally competent has the right to conduct his own defense without the assistance of counsel.

3. The trial court erred by allowing the district attorney charged with prosecuting the defendant to advise the defendant of his rights during the course of trial.

The record reveals that after two days of trial the attorney for the appellant advised the court that his client desired to have him dismissed as counsel and requested time to obtain other counsel. At the ...


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