counsel at the magistrate's hearing, the relator must present these contentions to the state tribunals through any procedures available to him there. See, Title 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b). It is undisputed that the relator has satisfactorily exhausted all available state remedies in regards to his challenge upon the sufficiency of the evidence.
It is clearly established that a federal court, when collaterally reviewing a state conviction challenged on the basis that it was not supported by the evidence, is to inquire only whether there was any evidence to support the conviction. See, e.g. Garner v. Louisiana, 368 U.S. 157, 163, 82 S. Ct. 248, 7 L. Ed. 2d 207 (1961); United States ex rel. DeMoss v. Pennsylvania, 316 F.2d 841, 842-843 (C.A. 3, 1963); Young v. Boles, 343 F.2d 136, 138 (C.A. 4, 1965), and United States ex rel. Gaspero v. Pennsylvania, 267 F. Supp. 316, 319 (E.D.Pa.1966). The cases have held that federal jurisdiction is established only when the petitioner has alleged that there was a total absence of evidence to support a guilty verdict. See, e.g. Deham v. Decker, 361 F.2d 477 (C.A. 5, 1966), and Edmondson v. Warden, Maryland Penitentiary, 335 F.2d 608, 609 (C.A. 4, 1964). To permit a federal court acting upon a petition for a writ of habeas corpus to inquire further than this into allegations challenging the sufficiency of the evidence presented at a state criminal trial, would be to improperly convert the federal court into a substitute for a state appellate court. See, e.g. United States ex rel. Bower v. Banmiller, 232 F. Supp. 627, 628-629 (E.D.Pa., 1964).
In his petition the relator has not specifically alleged that there was a "total absence of evidence to support his state conviction." Therefore, it would be technically proper for this Court to summarily deny his petition on the basis that the complaints which he has advanced should not be considered in habeas corpus proceedings. See, e.g. United States ex rel. Bower, supra, 232 F. Supp. at 629. Because petitioners for habeas corpus relief often are uneducated and un-trained in the niceties of the law, however, petitions for habeas relief should be interpreted in a liberal fashion. Cf. Pembrook v. Wilson, 370 F.2d 37 (C.A. 9, 1966), and McKinney v. Taylor, 344 F.2d 854 (C.A. 10, 1965). Even if this petition is construed as advancing a contention that there was no evidence to support the relator's conviction, the petition is clearly without merit.
At the relator's trial the Commonwealth produced three witnesses whose testimony was directly relevant to the charge of burglary of a motor vehicle: Charles J. Coyle, the Director of a School of Aeronautics located near the scene of the crime, who was the only eye-witness to the crime and who identified the relator at trial; Officer Robert Chandler of the Philadelphia Police Department, who arrested the relator and his co-defendant; and, Frederick C. Eichorn, the owner of the burglarized car. The relator's evidence was limited to his own testimony, in which he denied any involvement in the crime and attempted to establish an alibi, and the testimony of Willis Outlaw, a gas-station attendant who was called for the purpose of verifying the defendant's alibi. There was, therefore, a direct contradiction in the relevant evidence, and, as Judge Bradley noted, the case against both the relator and the co-defendant tried with him, Frederick Sutton, turned "* * * to a large extent on the credibility of Mr. Coyle's testimony." (N.T. p. 123). Judge Bradley resolved this contradiction by finding the relator guilty and by acquitting Sutton.
Initially, it is clear that the trial judge properly exercised his function as the sole fact-finder by resolving the contradictions in the testimony by making determinations as to the relative credibility of the witnesses. His rejection of the credibility of the relator and of the relator's alibi witness was justified both by the internal contradictions in their testimony and by the strong rebuttal evidence presented by the Commonwealth.
Although no evidence suggested that the relator himself actually broke into the car, the evidence presented clearly provided a firm basis for concluding that he was culpable as a principal in the second degree. See, Act of June 24, 1939, P.L. 872, § 903, 18 P.S. § 4903, Act of June 24, 1939, P.L. 872, § 1105, as amended by Act of May 21, 1943, P.L. 306, § 1, 18 P.S. § 5105, and Commonwealth v. Coyle, 415 Pa. 379, 387, 203 A.2d 782 (1964). Hence there is no basis in the record for concluding that relator's conviction violated the Fourteenth Amendment. See, e.g. May v. Peyton, 268 F. Supp. 928, 930 (W.D.Va., 1967).
For all the reasons discussed above it is hereby ordered that the relator's petition for a writ of habeas corpus is denied. There is no probable cause for appeal.
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