the petitioner would place him in a potentially embarassing position, in that certain of the petitioner's allegations challenged the effectiveness of counsel who had represented the relator at his trial. Since this attorney was a close personal friend of Ryan he requested that he be permitted to withdraw from the case. Although the petitioner assured the Court that he was satisfied with Ryan's representation, in order to avoid creating a situation potentially productive of future charges of ineffectiveness of counsel, the Court decided to accept Mr. Ryan's withdrawal and to appoint instead Sheldon S. Toll, Esquire.
Mr. Toll proceeded diligently with his investigation of the large record in this case and in May, 1968, he moved to file an amended petition. On May 10, 1968, the motion to amend was granted, and the respondent and District Attorney of Philadelphia were ordered to make their respective responsive pleadings to the amended petition by May 25, 1968.
Because various proceedings, including the state post-conviction hearings, arising out of the activities involved in this case, already had produced in excess of 1000 pages of testimony covering all the issues which the relator advances currently, Mr. Toll, at the petitioner's own request, decided to submit the case to this Court "on the law". Subsequently he entered into a stipulation with Gordon Gelfond, Esquire, an Assistant District Attorney of Philadelphia representing the respondent, that the notes of testimony of all relevant proceedings in the state courts would be made a part of the record of this case. They stipulated also that "* * * because no additional evidence relevant to these matters was necessary * * *" these state records would constitute the record upon which the Court would resolve any controverted factual issues.
In view of this stipulation between counsel, and in view of the thoroughness of the state proceedings, See, Townsend v. Sain, 372 U.S. 293, 313, 83 S. Ct. 745, 9 L. Ed. 2d 770 (1963) the hearing scheduled for Monday, June 24, 1968, was to be confined to argument of the relevant legal issues. This hearing was conducted on June 24, and, with the Court's approval, counsel agreed to permit the relator himself to testify. Counsel were permitted twenty (20) days to brief their respective contentions.
The relator contends that his current detention is improper because it results from a trial allegedly tainted by three separate violations of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution:
(1) evidence introduced at the trial was obtained by an unconstitutional search and seizure;
(2) an involuntary confession of the defendant was introduced at trial; and,
(3) defendant's representation at trial by court-appointed counsel was so perfunctory as to substantially deprive him of his Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to the effective assistance of counsel.
For the reasons discussed below, the Court has concluded that relator was deprived of his right to be effectively represented by counsel and that, therefore, his writ of habeas corpus will be granted.
On the evening of Friday, April 14, 1961, in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, the relator was arrested with two other men, Carl Smith and David Stokes, who subsequently became his co-defendants in this case. All three men were taken to the Lower Merion Township police headquarters, in Montgomery County, and, on April 15, 1961, at a magistrate's hearing, they were charged with the commission of three separate misdemeanors, i.e. carrying deadly weapons, loitering at night-time, and violating the Uniform Firearms Act. The magistrate ordered them to be held without bail in the Montgomery County Prison until a further hearing scheduled for a week later, April 22, 1961.
In contravention of the magistrate's order the police officers took the relator and his co-defendants back to the Lower Merion police station where they kept them until at least Tuesday, April 18, 1961. On Monday, April 17, 1961, while the relator was detained in Lower Merion, without obtaining a search warrant, Detective Leo Spaeder of the Philadelphia Police Department and Detective William A. McNabb of the Lower Merion Police Department conducted a search of the Berean Manual Training School (hereafter referred to as the Berean School), 1926 South College Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the relator was employed as a custodian. At the Berean School these officers seized a number of items which allegedly were the fruit of crimes with which the relator and his co-defendants were subsequently charged.
Also, while the relator was detained at the police station, he claims that he was beaten by the investigating officers and thus coerced into signing the "confession" which ultimately was introduced at his trial. It is undisputed that this confession was signed by the relator after he had been confined in the police station without bail for at least a four day period, without the assistance of counsel, and after he had been subjected to a sporadic sequence of interrogations by the police officers.
After his second magistrate's hearing, on April 21, 1961, the relator was transferred to the Montgomery County Prison where he remained until his trial in Montgomery County on charges not directly relevant here. This trial consumed four full trial days, from June 20th to June 23rd, 1961. The relator was convicted on 16 separate indictments and sentenced by that Court to a four to twenty year term of imprisonment. Presently the relator is attacking the convictions resulting from this trial in a totally independent post-conviction proceeding in Montgomery County.
From the date of his Montgomery County trial until April 17, 1962, the relator was confined in the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution in Philadelphia serving the sentence imposed upon him by the Montgomery County Court. According to the undisputed testimony of the defendant, presented at the June 24 hearing here, for the first and only time he was notified of the listing for trial of his Philadelphia charges, sometime during the evening of April 16, 1962, the night before the trial commenced. (N.T. (4), p. 47.)
Between June, 1961 and April 1962, he neither had requested to have counsel appointed to represent him at his Philadelphia trial, nor did the trial court appoint counsel. N.T. (4), pp. 47-48. In fact, it was only after his initial arraignment on the morning of April 17, 1962, when he entered a partial plea of guilty, that counsel was appointed to represent him. N.T., Ibid., p. 52.
After the relator's arraignment the trial judge asked him if he wanted to be represented by counsel, and then he requested a member of the Voluntary Defenders Association of Philadelphia who was in the courtroom to talk to the defendant. (N.T. (1), p. 3). The attorney who had been assigned to the courtroom with a list of cases for the day, (N.T. (2) pp. 40-41), then conferred with the defendant for a period of from three to fifteen minutes. (Ibid., p. 20, and 41). There was a conflict in the testimony as to precisely what was discussed at this conference: according to the relator, counsel limited his advice to advocating that the relator enter a plea of guilty, (N.T. (4), pp. 53, 60); defense counsel himself, although generally conceding that he had only a vague recollection of the trial itself, (N.T. (2), pp. 40-42), testified that he discussed with the defendant at least the "* * * facts of the case * * *", (Ibid., p. 42), although not in any detail, (Ibid., p. 43), and also, perhaps, his decision that it would be best to stipulate to certain evidence. (Ibid., p. 42). At the state post-conviction hearing, defense counsel conceded that his method of preparation was "* * * not an ideal way to try a case * * *", (Ibid., p. 42).
After his short conference with the relator, which was carried out in open court in an atmosphere which clearly was not the optimal setting for a free interchange of information between attorney and client, defense counsel hastily perused the prosecuting attorney's file. Because the trial judge apparently desired to commence the trial as soon as possible, defense counsel was forced to limit his investigation of the case to these hurried inquiries. Unfortunately he did not even have the assistance of reviewing a Voluntary Defenders' file on the relator, because, evidently, there was none.
The relator begrudgingly accepted defense counsel's representation:
"MR. SPRAGUE: Mr. Williams, do you want * * * (defense counsel) * * * to represent you now?
CLARENCE WILLIAMS: I don't know. He don't not have the details (sic).