The opinion of the court was delivered by: KRAFT
Calvin Milligan was convicted on October 10, 1960, in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, upon his plea of guilty to two indictments charging him with the crime of burglary. He was sentenced to consecutive prison terms of 8 to 16 years and 2 to 4 years on these bills.
No appeal was taken.
State habeas corpus remedies have been exhausted, Com. ex rel. Milligan v. Maroney, 207 Pa. Super. 711, 214 A.2d 518 (1965); allocatur denied by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on January 10, 1966.
The relator is presently serving the first of his two Mercer County sentences, which is the only confinement he may now attack under the federal rule of McNally v. Hill, 293 U.S. 131, 132, 55 S. Ct. 24, 79 L. Ed. 238 (1934).
However, the second Mercer County sentence is afflicted as well with the same due process infirmities which beset the first conviction. Therefore, while we may only consider the constitutionality of the criminal judgment which now restrains the relator - as a practical matter, every syllable of our opinion applies to both Mercer County convictions.
We find it necessary to consider but one ground raised by the relator; namely, that his plea of guilty was involuntarily induced by a fear that his coerced confession would be used against him at his trial.
From the evidence upon the hearing, which the Commonwealth made no effort to controvert, we find that:
The petitioner was arrested at his mother's home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on August 26, 1960. He was shuttled among various police stations in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, until about 9:00 p.m. on August 27, 1960. Later that evening, he was transported 65 miles to the town of Mercer in Mercer County. He was brought before a magistrate, charged with burglary and placed in the custody of the police.
The next morning, the relator was taken to the State Police Barracks in Butler County, some 35 miles distant from Mercer. There he was interrogated until approximately 3:30 in the afternoon. While in Butler, he appeared before a magistrate, and an information was sworn against him. He was then returned to the Mercer County Jail.
On August 29, 1960, he was again removed from the Mercer County jail and taken to the State Police substation in Mercer County. Questioning was resumed by the State Police and he was taken to the Butler State Police barracks. From Butler he was returned to the Mercer County jail later that night.
The next interrogation session commenced on the morning of September 1st when the relator was taken to Butler by the State Police. He was questioned there until about 10:00 p.m., and then transported 12 miles to the Ford City police station in Armstrong County. During much of that night he was prevented from sleeping by the prodding of a policeman.
Upon his arrival at the cabin the relator was questioned concerning a number of unsolved burglaries in the surrounding area. When he denied knowledge of the crimes, he was pushed against the wall by the Chief of the Ford City police. The Police Chief then took a pistol from a cabinet and fired two shots in the general direction of the relator, who ducked in fright. When the relator persisted in his refusal to confess, he was thrown to the floor and kicked and beaten by the three police officers who were present in the cabin.
When relator still refused to confess, his trousers were ripped from his body by the Chief of Police of Ford City. The Chief then took a rope, secured it around the relator's testicles, pulled and continued to pull on the rope until the relator lost consciousness. Upon regaining consciousness the relator was again questioned. His will then broken, he agreed to confess and the group returned to Ford City about 3:00 p.m. that same afternoon.
The relator then signed a confession which was limited to the crimes in Mercer County. His clothes were mended and returned to him and he was taken back to the Mercer County Jail about ...