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COMMONWEALTH v. TOMSKI (12/12/68)

SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: December 12, 1968.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
TOMSKI, APPELLANT

Appeal from order of Court of Quarter Sessions of Lawrence County, Sept. T., 1964, Nos. 26 and 96, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Chester Tomski.

COUNSEL

Robert D. George, for appellant.

Kenneth E. Fox, Jr., District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, and Hannum, JJ. Dissenting Opinion by Spaulding, J. Hoffman, J., joins in this dissent.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 213 Pa. Super. Page 416]

Order affirmed.

Disposition

Order affirmed.

Dissenting Opinion by Spaulding, J.:

I respectfully dissent. The docket in this appeal from the dismissal without hearing of a petition under the Post Conviction Hearing Act indicates that counsel has been appointed to represent the appellant in this Court. However, the only brief submitted on his behalf is a xerox copy of appellant's handwritten brief.

By statute and rule, appellant is entitled to the assistance of counsel in an appeal from the denial of

[ 213 Pa. Super. Page 417]

    post-conviction relief.*fn1 Assistance of counsel implies effective assistance. Submission by appointed counsel of a brief handwritten by a client is nominal representation only and should not be condoned. The right of an indigent to effective assistance of counsel has been jealously guarded by our courts because of the strong conviction that counsel, by virtue of his special skills and training, can present his client's case for adjudication in a far more effective manner than can a layman client. An indigent certainly derives no benefit from these special skills and training when counsel does no more than mechanically reproduce his client's work.


*fn1 Post Conviction Hearing Act, 19 P.S. ยง 1180-12; Commonwealth v. Walters, 431 Pa. 74, 244 A.2d 757 (1968); Pa. R. Crim. P. 1503 and 1504.

*fn2 Counsel is not required to present to the Court every conceivable argument suggested by his client and, as a matter of strategy, may elect to present only those arguments which he believes may possibly be successful.


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