The opinion of the court was delivered by: KRAFT
Relator, a state prisoner, is presently serving a three to ten year sentence following his conviction, after a non-jury trial, for burglary in 1963. After being granted leave to appeal nunc pro tunc, relator's conviction was affirmed by the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
Subsequent to the filing of the instant petition, we appointed counsel for the relator, who in turn filed an amended petition setting forth three grounds:
I. Relator was denied due process by the failure to afford him counsel at his preliminary hearing.
II. Relator was not apprised by the indictment of the specific nature of the charge of burglary.
III. Relator received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial and sentencing.
The indictment, found to be sufficient by the state court, may not be tested in this Court unless it fails to afford a jurisdictional basis for the conviction. United States ex rel. Holly v. Com. of Pa., 81 F. Supp. 861, aff'd 174 F.2d 480 (3 Cir. 1948).
With regard to the relator's remaining ground that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel, a related and important aspect of this allegation is that he was prejudiced by the late appointment of the voluntary defender to represent him. It is undisputed that trial counsel met his client for the first time on the morning of the trial on August 19, 1963 in the City Hall cell room at about 8:30 or 9:00 A.M. Relator had been interviewed prior to trial by a representative of the defender's office on August 9, 1963. Trial counsel reviewed the file and made it his practice to gather all of his clients together in the City Hall cell room and lecture them on courtroom deportment He then singled out the particular defendants with whom he wished to discuss certain aspects of their cases.
On the basis of these facts, relator has made out a prima facie case of prejudice resulting from the late appointment of counsel. United States ex rel. Mathis v. Rundle, 394 F.2d 748 (3 Cir. 1968). The burden is then cast upon the Commonwealth to rebut the prima facie presumption of harm either by affirmative evidence appearing otherwise of record or by evidence presented at the federal habeas corpus hearing. United States ex rel. Chambers v. Maroney, 408 F.2d 1186 (3 Cir. January 2, 1969).
The state court record reveals that the relator was charged with burglary of an outside glass enclosed telephone booth. At the time of the offense, on July 19, 1963 at 2:10 A.M., Mr. Adams, who resided across the street from the telephone booth, observed two men inside the booth. Adams called the police, who, in turn, arrived almost immediately in time to observe the relator and another man inside the booth. Adams testified that he saw the light broken and then the two men left the booth and were joined by a third suspect. Two of the suspects were apprehended, one of whom was the relator. A screwdriver was found by one of the officers in the booth and pry marks were observed on the upper housing of the telephone apparatus. Relator was searched and found to have brown paper bags on his person. He denied the offense and claimed that he intended to use the bags for his lunch the next day if he was successful in obtaining employment following an interview. A witness for the relator, Mr. Hayes, testified that he did not expect the relator to bring a lunch the next day.
Relator contends that his counsel was ineffective because he failed to obtain the notes of testimony of the magistrate's hearing wherein the witness Adams was unable to positively identify the relator except as one of two men at the scene of the burglary. Also, the witness Adams testified that he "seen them bust the light in the telephone booth." This was contrary to the repair records of the Bell Telephone Co. which revealed that the light switch was off but the light was not broken. Trial counsel had not subpoenaed these repair records for trial.
Counsel is further criticized for not interviewing the witness Hayes
before trial in light of the fact that he gave testimony at variance with the relator's explanation of having the brown paper bags in his possession.
Complaint is also made by the relator because his counsel did not move to suppress the evidence of the brown bags nor did he file a ...