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WILSON APPEAL (03/20/69)

decided: March 20, 1969.

WILSON APPEAL


Appeal from order of Juvenile Court of Lancaster County, June T., 1968, No. 17, in the matter of Charles Wilson.

COUNSEL

Lois G. Forer, with her Daniel H. Shertzer, for appellant.

Theodore A. Parker, First Assistant District Attorney, with him James F. Heinly, Assistant District Attorney, and Clarence C. Newcomer, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Per Curiam

[ 214 Pa. Super. Page 161]

Order affirmed.

Disposition

Order affirmed.

Dissenting Opinion by Hoffman, J.:

Charles Laverne Wilson was adjudged delinquent by the Juvenile Court of Lancaster County and committed to the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill.

This appeal which attacks that commitment follows:

The adjudication of Wilson as a delinquent arose out of an inter-racial street fight in the City of Lancaster in which a group of boys attacked a group of men for reasons which are unclear from the record. Wilson, a 16 year old boy, was arrested and brought before the Juvenile Court where he was identified by two others as having punched each of them in the face. One complaining witness was 24 years old, 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed about 230 pounds. The other was 26 years of age. The record does not indicate his height and weight. No permanent damage was inflicted upon either as a result of the fight, and their injuries attributable to Wilson's direct participation in the fight are negligible.

After all testimony was given, the lower court immediately sentenced Wilson. The following colloquy with defense counsel and Wilson occurred.

"Mr. Hummer: Your Honor, I would like to say one thing. I think it is obvious from his testimony that this is not one of the leaders in whatever this gang consisted of, or what occurred here, and I don't even believe he was one of the main perpetrators. I think

[ 214 Pa. Super. Page 162]

    he was perhaps along with them, and as his own testimony was, he admitted that he did participate in the fracas. The Court: Well, of course he has been in trouble before. In 1965 he was charged with burglary and placed on probation. You also have some trouble in going to school, don't you? Defendant: Yes, sir. The Court: Were you suspended from school also? You seem to be in need of some stricter discipline. Isn't that about right? Defendant: I don't know. The Court: You don't know. Well, if you don't know, the court so finds from the testimony in this case and from your prior conduct. The court adjudges Charles Laverne Wilson a delinquent and commits him to the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. . . . If you apply yourself and work you can make a man out of yourself."

That commitment is now under attack on two grounds, (1) that it is unconstitutional, as a violation of equal protection, to commit Wilson to Camp Hill for a possible term of sentence in excess of the maximum term that he could serve were he sentenced pursuant to The Penal Code by the Court of Quarter Sessions for the same substantive offense; and (2) the commitment is subject to appellate review and, as such, must be stricken because it is disproportionate to the offense committed and inconsistent with the purposes of the Juvenile Court Act.

I will discuss each contention separately.

Violation of Equal Protection

It is conceded by the Commonwealth that were Wilson certified to the Court of Quarter Sessions and tried as a criminal offender, he could only have been convicted on two counts of simple Assault and ...


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