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UNITED STATES EX REL. HAIRSTON v. MYERS

January 19, 1965

UNITED STATES of America ex rel. Eugene HAIRSTON
v.
David N. MYERS, Superintendent, State Correctional Institute, Graterford, Pennsylvania



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LORD, III

On December 9, 1957, relator was arraigned in the Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County on three bills of indictment, -- Nos. 1051, 1089 and 1090, August Sessions, 1957. He was represented by Robert J. Thompson, Esquire, a member of the staff of the Voluntary Defender. Bill No. 1051 charged defendant with aggravated robbery. Nos. 1089 and 1090 charged robbery and assault and battery with intent to murder. To these last two bills, defendant pleaded not guilty, was tried and convicted by a jury. As to No. 1051, the state record shows the following:

'Defendants Joseph B. Williams and Eugene R. Hariston arraigned at the Bar of the Court on Bill No. 1051, plead as follows: Joseph B. Williams pleads guilty.

 'MR. THOMPSON: The defendant, Eugene Hariston, pleads guilty except as to the amount taken, Your Honor.'

 Relator urges constitutional infirmities in connection with the convictions (by plea on No. 1051) and sentences imposed under all three bills. However, the sentences on Nos. 1089 and 1090 have not yet commenced, so that relator is not presently in custody under those sentences. A district court has no power to consider the merits of a habeas corpus petition challenging a conviction on which service of sentence has not yet begun ( Palumbo v. State of New Jersey, 334 F.2d 524 (C.A. 3, 1964); Gailes v. Yeager, 324 F.2d 630 (C.A. 3, 1963)) even though the relator's contentions as to the later sentences may be correct. Ingenito v. State of New Jersey,238 F.2d 935 (C.A. 3, 1956). Hence, I may consider only the attack on the conviction by plea under Bill No. 1051. *fn1"

 Relator urges several grounds which he says invalidate the conviction and sentence under that Bill:

 1. That he was coerced by Philadelphia County detectives into signing a statement admitting his guilt under the mistaken belief that he was admitting only to receiving stolen goods;

 2. That his plea of guilty was brought about by psychological pressure, fraud, coercion and the promise of leniency;

 3. That his plea was entered under the mistaken belief that he was pleading guilty to receiving stolen goods;

 4. That his plea was entered by his counsel and not by himself;

 5. That the judge heard no evidence, and there is none in the record, as to the facts or nature of the crime.

 1. The Confession

 Hairston testified before me that he was interviewed by Detectives Washington and Bullock in Mocksville, S.C. When he denied being involved in a robbery with one Joe Williams, Washington tightened his handcuffs and Bullock smacked him on the side of the head. Finally, he said, Washington reached into his briefcase and pulled out a paper with typing on its which Hairston signed, believing he was admitting to receiving stolen goods. This evidence was contradicted by the testimony of Detective Washington, who testified that Hairston was not struck and that he was not handcuffed during the interrogation.

 I accept as true the testimony of Detective Washington, and find that Hairston's confession was not coerced. I further find that the statement was read to the relator, that he made and initialed certain corrections ...


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