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COMMONWEALTH v. PAPY (01/30/70)

decided: January 30, 1970.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
PAPY, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia County, Jan. T., 1949, No. 408, in case of Commonwealth v. Frank J. Papy, Jr.

COUNSEL

Bernard L. Segal, for appellant.

James D. Crawford, Assistant District Attorney, with him Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones. Mr. Justice Roberts concurs in the result.

Author: Jones

[ 436 Pa. Page 561]

On May 4, 1948, William H. Magee was struck three times on the head with a hammer, while in an apartment he was sharing with Austin Hudson and Frank J. Papy, Jr., and his wallet and overcoat were stolen. On May 9, 1948, Papy, the defendant-appellant, was apprehended and indicted for aggravated assault and battery and for robbery. The next day, Papy signed a statement confessing to the crime. The defendant entered

[ 436 Pa. Page 562]

    a plea of nolo contendere on July 14, 1948, and was sentenced to serve seven and a half to fifteen years.

On November 25, 1948, Magee died as the result of the beating inflicted by Papy almost seven months earlier, and Papy was indicted for murder. In February, 1949, on the advice of two court-appointed counsel, Papy pleaded guilty to murder generally. After a hearing before a three-judge panel, the defendant was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

In 1966, having made other unsuccessful attempts to overturn his conviction,*fn1 Papy filed a petition under the Post-Conviction Hearing Act*fn2 and was permitted to file post-trial motions nunc pro tunc. A hearing was held in December, 1968, before a three-judge panel, at which Papy was again represented by counsel. His motions in arrest of judgment and for a new trial were denied. The defendant has now appealed from the judgment of sentence.

We will first consider defendant's contention that his confession, which was presented to the court at his guilty-plea hearing in February, 1949, was constitutionally inadmissible. Papy argues that the confession was made involuntarily because he was given inadequate warnings,*fn3 and because the written statement did not fully record his oral statement.*fn4 The record is devoid of any evidence which might support either of

[ 436 Pa. Page 563]

    these claims. The argument is specifically refuted by the following passages ...


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