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COMMONWEALTH v. JAYNES (10/09/70)

decided: October 9, 1970.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
JAYNES, APPELLANT



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, No. 449 of 1965, in case of Commonwealth v. Boyd Franklin Jaynes.

COUNSEL

Eugene J. Brew, for appellant.

James R. Dailey, Assistant District Attorney, and William E. Pfadt, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Bell.

Author: Bell

[ 440 Pa. Page 98]

On November 10, 1965, Boyd Franklin Jaynes, who had been charged with the murder of Myrtle Ball, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter while represented by two Court-appointed counsel. He was fined $250 and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for from six to twelve years, the maximum term for the crime. Defendant filed no motion for a new trial and took no appeal.

[ 440 Pa. Page 99]

Jaynes, who was an indigent, subsequently*fn* filed a petition under the Post Conviction Hearing Act, seeking a new trial. The lower Court refused defendant's request that counsel be appointed to represent him in the post-conviction proceedings, and denied his prayer for relief. An appeal was erroneously taken to the Superior Court, which certified the matter to this Court for disposition. In Commonwealth v. Jaynes, 427 Pa. 398, 235 A.2d 149, we vacated the Order of the lower Court which denied Jaynes's petition, and ordered the record remanded, with instructions to appoint counsel to represent Jaynes in said post-conviction proceedings. Counsel was appointed and a hearing was held on June 11, 1968. On January 24, 1969, the hearing Judge filed an Opinion and an Order dismissing the defendant's petition for relief. This appeal followed.

Jaynes filed a brief in this Court in which he makes a number of contentions dealing, inter alia, with issues such as arrest without a warrant, illegal search and seizure, and improper "in-custody" procedure. None of these contentions is supported by the record, nor were any raised by his attorney in his brief. The sole contention which was made in his attorney's brief was that defendant did not make his guilty plea "knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently" because he was not properly advised by his counsel that the credible evidence of the Commonwealth was not sufficient to convict him of murder.

Defendant urges that his trial attorneys were not interested in his case and, because of this, were anxious to have him plead guilty regardless of the weakness of the Commonwealth's case or the insufficiency of its evidence. On the day following defendant's arrest, the trial Court appointed an attorney to represent the defendant,

[ 440 Pa. Page 100]

    and a few days later appointed co-counsel. The chief attorney for defendant had wide experience in the trial of criminal cases and had served as Assistant District Attorney and District Attorney in Erie County. The record indicates that the representation by these attorneys was vigorous and able. In addition to their participation at defendant's preliminary hearing, which covered four separate sessions before the defendant was bound over, they petitioned the Court for a writ of habeas corpus in an effort to test the strength of the Commonwealth's evidence. After the writ of habeas corpus was denied, defendant's attorneys then instituted intensive discovery proceedings in defendant's behalf.

In Commonwealth v. Hill, 427 Pa. 614, 235 A.2d 347, the Court said (pages 616, 617): "On the issue of Hill's guilty plea, we start with the well established doctrine set forth in Commonwealth ex rel. Crosby v. Rundle, 415 Pa. 81, 85, 202 A.2d 299, 302 (1964), cert. denied, 379 U.S. 976, 85 S. Ct. 677 (1965). As the Court there noted: 'When an accused pleads guilty to an indictment, it is presumed that he ...


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