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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. CORBIN v. MYERS (09/29/65)

decided: September 29, 1965.

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. CORBIN, APPELLANT,
v.
MYERS



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of York County, Jan. T., 1965, No. 80, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Robert Corbin v. David N. Myers, Superintendent.

COUNSEL

Robert L. Corbin, in propria persona, and Gerald E. Ruth, for appellant.

John T. Miller, First Assistant District Attorney, with him Lewis H. Markowitz, Assistant District Attorney, and Daniel W. Shoemaker, District Attorney, for appellee.

Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Eagen. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Mr. Justice Musmanno joins in this opinion. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Cohen.

Author: Eagen

[ 419 Pa. Page 140]

On October 10, 1950, Robert Corbin, Harold J. Albright and Genevieve Heistand were indicted for the murder of one Anna R. Bittle. On January 5, 1951, Corbin, after a separate trial, was convicted by a jury of murder in the first degree, and sentence was fixed at life imprisonment. Following the denial by the court en banc of a new trial motion, sentence was imposed on June 25, 1951, in accordance with the jury's verdict. No appeal from the judgment was entered.

On November 30, 1964, the present action in habeas corpus was filed, which the lower court dismissed without hearing.*fn1 This appeal followed.

Several reasons assigned in support of the issuance of the writ are clearly without merit, or are of such

[ 419 Pa. Page 141]

    nature that they may not be properly raised in this collateral action. While these need not detain us, others require discussion.

Albright, indicted jointly with Corbin, but tried separately, was represented by the same lawyer. Corbin now contends that this constituted a conflict of interest on the part of counsel which precluded his receiving a fair trial in violation of the requirements of due process. No facts, aside from the dual representation itself, are alleged to support this contention, and an examination of the record fails to offer any substantiation.

Both Corbin and Albright testified at their individual trials. Each presented a similar defense, an alibi. Each denied any knowledge of, or participation in, the crime. Neither testified at the trial of the other. Under the circumstances, the dual representation did not jeopardize Corbin's interests and did not, in any manner, affect the effectiveness of his counsel's representation, or the fairness of his trial. The facts are materially different from those presented in Commonwealth v. Meehan, 409 Pa. 616, 187 A.2d 579 (1963); Commonwealth ex rel. Whitling v. Russell, 406 Pa. 45, 176 A.2d 641 (1962); and kindred cases.

Corbin also maintains that his counsel lacked adequate time and opportunity to prepare his defense for trial. The record discloses that a formal court order appointing counsel for Corbin was entered on January 2, 1951, under the provisions of the Act of March 22, 1907, P. L. 31, as amended, 19 P.S. ยง 784. On the same day, the trial began. However, the record also discloses that the same counsel appeared in court on Corbin's behalf on October 18, 1950, moved for and secured a postponement of the trial from the October to the January sessions in ...


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