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COMMONWEALTH v. DITZLER ET AL. (05/13/71)

decided: May 13, 1971.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
DITZLER ET AL., APPELLANTS



Appeal from order of Superior Court, Nos. 1004 and 1005, Oct. T., 1969, affirming judgments of sentence of Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County, No. 66 of 1965, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Charles G. Ditzler et al.

COUNSEL

Frederick S. Wolf and Beaver, Wolf & Brandt, for appellants.

George E. Christianson, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Eagen. Mr. Justice Cohen took no part in the decision of this case. Concurring and Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Mr. Justice Pomeroy joins in the concurring and dissenting opinion.

Author: Eagen

[ 443 Pa. Page 75]

The sole but difficult and important question posed by this appeal is whether or not the appellants were denied their constitutional right to a speedy trial.*fn1

The facts are as follows:

On February 15, 1965, the appellants, Charles G. Ditzler and Leon Ruhl, were indicted in Lebanon County on charges of prison breach, robbery by assault and force and larceny of a motor vehicle, all of which crimes allegedly occurred on January 13, 1965.

Before the indictments were returned, Ditzler and Ruhl had been taken into custody in the State of Tennessee, convicted on criminal charges [violation of the Dyer Act, 18 USC ยง 2312, transportation of a stolen automobile in interstate commerce] in the Federal District Court and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of five years in the Federal Penitentiary at Atlanta.

In November 1965, Ditzler filed a petition in Lebanon County Court requesting a speedy trial. Ruhl filed a similar request in December of that year. Counsel was appointed to represent them and, after argument, the petitions were denied on February 6, 1966.

On March 16, 1967, Ditzler and Ruhl petitioned the Court, requesting that the charges be dismissed for lack of prosecution. This petition was denied on April 11, 1967.

The district attorney of Lebanon County secured a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendam on July 30, 1968. Motions to quash the indictments were filed on September ...


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