The opinion of the court was delivered by: LORD, JR.
JOHN W. LORD, Jr., District Judge.
By order dated November 23, 1965 in this cause, counsel for petitioner was appointed, in response to petitioner's application, on grounds stated in that order which will appear further herein.
On January 7, 1966, a hearing took place before this Court, at which time the petitioner was present, accompanied by his counsel, Vincent J. Ziccardi, Esq. Abner H. Silver, Esq., Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia County, appeared for respondent.
The notes of that hearing have been transcribed, and references thereto will be indicated as "N. Hear." to avoid confusion with the transcript of the trial which resulted in petitioner's sentence, to which reference will be made as "N.T." in the usual way.
A crucial determinant in this matter was the then open question as to retroactivity of Escobedo v. State of Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, 84 S. Ct. 1758, 12 L. Ed. 2d 977 (1964). (N. Hear. 19) Decision was postponed, without objection from either party, pending resolution of that question by the Supreme Court of the United States. In view of the decision handed down on June 20, 1966, that question is no longer open. Johnson and Cassidy v. State of New Jersey, 384 U.S. 719, 86 S. Ct. 1772, 16 L. Ed. 2d 882 (1966).
1. Petitioner, Willie Blackshear, is presently confined at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, Pennsylvania.
2. He is there serving a life sentence imposed in 1946 by a court of Philadelphia County, upon being found guilty of murder in the first degree.
3. His plea of guilty is thus described in Commonwealth ex rel. Blackshear, Aplnt. v. Myers, 419 Pa. 151, 213 A.2d 378 (1965)
"* * * the appellant, Willie Blackshear, in the presence of court-appointed counsel, plead guilty generally to an indictment charging him with the murder of his mother-in-law.
Subsequently, a hearing was held before a three-judge court and he was found guilty of murder in the first degree and sentenced to life imprisonment. No appeal from the judgment was entered."
4. Evidence produced at the hearing demonstrates that the plea of guilty was made in accordance with the endorsement on the official and original bill of indictment (No. 343 of November Sessions 1945)
"* * * on the date 1-28-46 * * * "Present, the Honorable Curtis Bok, the Honorable James C. Crumlish, the Honorable Joseph Sloan, the defendant with his counsel. The defendant withdrew his plea of not guilty ...