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UNITED STATES EX REL. HUGHES v. RUNDLE

February 10, 1969

UNITED STATES of America ex rel. Ralph E. HUGHES
v.
Alfred T. RUNDLE, Superintendent, State Correctional Institution, Graterford, Pennsylvania



The opinion of the court was delivered by: KRAFT

 Relator, a state prisoner, seeks habeas corpus relief in this Court. He previously applied for relief under Miscellaneous No. 3425, which we denied because of his failure to exhaust state remedies.

 Thereafter, relator, represented by counsel, was afforded a full post-conviction hearing before the state court, which denied his application. This denial was affirmed by the Pennsylvania Superior Court and allocatur was denied by the State Supreme Court.

 On April 8, 1948, relator represented by the voluntary defender, pleaded guilty before Judge Harry S. McDevitt to robbery and to operation of a motor vehicle without the consent of the owner. He was sentenced to a term of 10 to 20 years' imprisonment. After completion of his minimum sentence, relator was released on parole, which he violated. He was returned to prison as a parole violator to serve the remainder of his maximum sentence.

 In his present petition, prepared by counsel, relator alleges the following grounds:

 
(a) The plea of guilty was induced by a coerced confession;
 
(b) The plea of guilty was predicated upon inadequate and ineffective advice by counsel;
 
(c) The trial court denied relator due process of law by failing to inquire whether or not the plea of guilty was a knowing and voluntary act;
 
(d) Relator was deprived of effective assistance of counsel.

 We have carefully reviewed the notes of testimony of relator's criminal proceeding *fn1" and his post-conviction hearing transcript.

 Relator claims that he was beaten by the police and forced to sign a false confession, which induced his guilty plea under fear of the introduction of the coerced confession at his trial.

 At the hearing following relator's plea, the arresting officer testified that he observed the relator operating the stolen car westbound on an eastbound street and that relator collided with a Ford truck. The officer stated that when he arrived at the scene of the collision, he requested the relator to exhibit his owner's card and driver's license. Relator replied that he had none and further stated "You got me. I stole the car." * * * "I held up a man and woman and took the car off of them and beat the man up." (n.t. pp. 3-4).

 A detective who interrogated the relator testified that the relator admitted beating the complainant and the young lady who was with him. No mention was made of any written confession ...


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