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COMMONWEALTH v. WOODY (11/12/70)

decided: November 12, 1970.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
WOODY, APPELLANT



Appeal from order of Superior Court, Oct. T., 1969, Nos. 103 to 106, inclusive, affirming judgment of sentence of Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County, Sept. T., 1959, Nos. 158 to 161, inclusive, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Delano Woody.

COUNSEL

Harry J. Greenstein, for appellant.

Robert N. Campolongo, Assistant District Attorney, James D. Crawford, Deputy District Attorney, 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 Roberts.

Author: Roberts

[ 440 Pa. Page 570]

We are here presented with deciding the proper scope of review of an appellate court when confronted with an allegation of ineffective assistance of counsel due to the belated appointment of that counsel.

On March 18, 1960, having waived a jury trial, appellant was found guilty of aggravated assault and battery, rape, burglary, and assault with intent to commit sodomy. He was sentenced to concurrent terms of seven and one-half to fifteen years.

On March 4, 1965, appellant filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, which was dismissed on March

[ 440 Pa. Page 57126]

, 1965. We reversed and remanded to the trial court on April 22, 1966, with directions to consider the petition for habeas corpus in light of Commonwealth ex rel. Branam v. Myers, 420 Pa. 77, 216 A.2d 89 (1966), and Commonwealth ex rel. Robinson v. Myers, 420 Pa. 72, 215 A.2d 637 (1966), concerning appellant's right to counsel during appeals. See Commonwealth ex rel. Woody v. Myers, 421 Pa. 628, 218 A.2d 573 (1966).

On remand, appellant was granted leave to file post-trial motions, in conjunction with a Post Conviction Hearing Act petition which alleged ineffective assistance of counsel. The motions and petition were heard together and dismissed. The Superior Court affirmed, and allocatur was granted.

The only contention of appellant that has any substance is the allegation of ineffective assistance of counsel. There have been significant recent developments in this area of the law which must be reviewed.

Appellant supported his allegation by testifying at his PCHA hearing that he did not see his court-appointed counsel until a few minutes before trial and that he was not interviewed at the prison by representatives of the Voluntary Defender's Office. The trial judge disposed of this issue by quoting from our opinion in Commonwealth ex rel. Johnson v. Russell, 428 Pa. 440, 239 A.2d 399 (1968), where we said: ". . . shortness of time for counsel to prepare for trial does not of itself constitute ...


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