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COMMONWEALTH v. MINNICK (11/12/68)

decided: November 12, 1968.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
MINNICK, APPELLANT



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, Sept. T., 1962, No. 32/119, in case of Commonwealth v. Steve Minnick.

COUNSEL

Ben F. Wright, for appellant.

A. J. Kuzdenyi, First Assistant District Attorney, and Joseph Kovach, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Mr. Justice Musmanno did not participate in the decision of this case. Mr. Justice Cohen took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Roberts

[ 432 Pa. Page 463]

Appellant entered a plea of guilty to murder in 1962; after a degree of guilt hearing he was found

[ 432 Pa. Page 464]

    guilty of second degree murder and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of six to twelve years. In 1967 he filed a Post Conviction Hearing Act petition which was denied without his being represented by counsel. This Court reversed and remanded, 427 Pa. 399, 235 A.2d 150 (1967), for a new hearing with counsel. This second hearing was held, resulting in a denial of the requested relief; this appeal followed.*fn*

Petitioner's first set of claims all revolve around his contention that, because of his amnesia and alcoholic state, he should have either (1) been acquitted of the crime, (2) found incompetent to enter a plea or (3) been adjudged to have been ineffectively represented by counsel because his counsel failed to raise either (1) or (2).

After taking testimony, the hearing judge found as a fact "that Minnick knew what he was doing at the time the murder was committed, at the time he entered his plea of guilty, at the hearing to determine the degree of guilt, and at the sentence immediately following".

These findings if supported by evidence in the record may not be overturned. Indeed, this is the situation here. Most of petitioner's case is based on his own testimony. The hearing judge rejected this: "We find his testimony at the Post Conviction hearing unworthy of belief, as we previously found his testimony at the hearing on the guilty plea incredible . . . ." Further, there is more than adequate testimony by his trial

[ 432 Pa. Page 465]

    counsel and the police officers to support the ...


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