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WILSON APPEAL (04/28/70)

decided: April 28, 1970.

WILSON APPEAL


Appeal from order of Superior Court, No. 1203, Oct. T., 1968, affirming order of Juvenile Court of Lancaster County, June T., 1968, No. 17, in the matter of Charles Wilson, delinquent.

COUNSEL

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

James F. Heinly, Assistant District Attorney, with him Clarence C. Newcomer, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Mr. Justice Eagen and Mr. Justice Pomeroy concur in the result. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Cohen. Mr. Chief Justice Bell joins in this opinion.

Author: Roberts

[ 438 Pa. Page 426]

Late in the afternoon of June 2, 1968, Charles Laverne Wilson and several other youths became involved

[ 438 Pa. Page 427]

    in an inter-racial street fight in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. No one was seriously injured in the course of the affray, and Wilson's participation was apparently confined to having thrown a few punches. Juvenile delinquency proceedings, however, were brought against Wilson as a result of the incident.

Wilson's case came on for a hearing at 9:30 a.m. on July 24, 1968. His counsel, whom he met for the first time that morning, entered no plea in Wilson's behalf and agreed that Wilson had participated in the fight. After the testimony was taken the following colloquy occurred: "Mr. Hummer [defense counsel]: 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 whatever occurred here, and I don't even believe he was one of the main perpetrators. I think 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 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. . . ."*fn1

[ 438 Pa. Page 428]

Wilson's appeal to the Superior Court resulted in an opinionless per curiam affirmance, with Judge Hoffman and Judge Spaulding dissenting in an opinion written by the former.*fn2 We granted allocatur.

Wilson argues that his adjudication of delinquency ought to be reversed for four reasons: (1) he was denied adequate and timely notice of the charges against him; (2) he received ineffective assistance of counsel; (3) his commitment for a period potentially longer than that which an adult charged with two counts of simple assault and battery could receive violated the Equal Protection Clause of the ...


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