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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. WRIGHT v. CAVELL (06/24/66)

decided: June 24, 1966.

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. WRIGHT, APPELLANT,
v.
CAVELL



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, May T., 1965, No. 68, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Dan Wright v. A. C. Cavell.

COUNSEL

Dan Wright, appellant, in propria persona.

William A. Peiffer, Assistant District Attorney, and Edward H. Carney, District Attorney, for appellee.

Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Bell. Mr. Justice Cohen took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Bell

[ 422 Pa. Page 254]

This appeal arose by the grant of an allocatur from an Order of the Superior Court which, by an equally divided Court, affirmed an Order of the Court of Common Pleas which had dismissed, without a hearing, relator's petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus. Commonwealth ex rel. Wright v. Cavell, 207 Pa. Superior Ct. 714, 214 A.2d 514 (1965).

Relator was arrested for alleged larceny. He gave an incriminating statement to the police and thereafter had a hearing before an Alderman on December 14,

[ 422 Pa. Page 2551959]

, and again on January 19, 1960. On none of these occasions was he represented by counsel.

On January 28, 1960, the Grand Jury found true bills against relator in both cases. On February 1, 1960, relator appeared in Court when the criminal list was called preliminarily, and pleaded guilty. At this time, according to the opinion of the lower Court, relator was asked if he wanted a Court-appointed attorney and his answer was "No." Relator specifically denies this and alleges that the District Attorney merely said, "You had better get yourself an attorney."

On February 11, 1960, relator was called for sentencing, at which time the following appears of record:

"February 11, 1960.

"The Defendant, Dan Wright, appeared in open court, and was not represented by counsel. On examination by the Court, defendant replied as follows: Q. Do you have an attorney to represent you? A. No, sir. Q. Do you want to hire an attorney of your own choosing? A. No, sir. Q. Do you want the Court to appoint an attorney to represent you? A. No, sir. Q. You realize the seriousness of entering a plea of guilty to the crime of larceny by bailee? A. Yes, sir. Q. You are still very willing to plead ...


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