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COMMONWEALTH v. SKIPPER (11/12/70)

decided: November 12, 1970.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
SKIPPER, APPELLANT



Appeal from order of Superior Court, Oct. T., 1969, No. 678, affirming order of Court of Common Pleas of Blair County, Oct. T., 1951, Nos. 70 to 76, inclusive, in case of Commonwealth v. Robert Gerald Skipper.

COUNSEL

Thomas M. Reese, for appellant.

Amos Davis, 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 577]

This case is a companion to Commonwealth v. Woody, 440 Pa. 569, 271 A.2d 477 (1970), decided today.

The appellant was charged with aggravated assault and battery; assault and battery with intent to kill; conspiracy; prison breach; and two counts of armed robbery. After waiving grand jury action he pleaded guilty to all counts, and on September 4, 1951, he was sentenced to terms of imprisonment totaling eleven and one-half years as a minimum and twenty-seven years as a maximum. The sentence was later commuted by the Pennsylvania Parole Board to a minimum of ten years and ten days.

At the expiration of his minimum sentence appellant was released on parole on August 11, 1961. Approximately two years later he was indicted on a charge of burglary and larceny, entered a plea of guilty and was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than five months nor more than twelve months in the Blair County Jail. At the expiration of his minimum sentence he was returned to the state penitentiary as a parole violator.

Again, on November 8, 1965, appellant was paroled by the Pennsylvania Parole Board. After the lapse of nearly two years, on November 1, 1967, appellant was recommitted to the state penitentiary as a parole violator for drunkenness.

Appellant filed a petition under the Post Conviction Hearing Act alleging, principally, that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at the time of sentencing on his pleas of guilty to all counts in 1951. He admits that his court-appointed counsel was an experienced

[ 440 Pa. Page 578]

    and competent practitioner in the field of criminal law. However, he contends that because counsel was appointed for him approximately fifteen to twenty minutes prior to his trial, his guilty pleas could not be said to have been made with the effective assistance of counsel.

Clearly, we are here presented with the same issue as in the companion case of Commonwealth v. Woody, supra. For the reasons outlined in that opinion, this Court is free to use, and now reaffirms its own standard concerning the alleged ineffective assistance of counsel in this case, as delineated in ...


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