The opinion of the court was delivered by: GOURLEY
This habeas corpus proceeding has been brought by a state penal inmate convicted of burglary and possession of burglary tools. The Court has conducted a full and complete hearing and has reviewed all state court records relative thereto.
Petitioner asserts that his conviction for burglary is constitutionally invalid and amounts to a denial of due process. The thrust of this argument is that the state trial court should not have permitted amendment of the indictment which, as returned from the Grand Jury, did not specify the particular felony petitioner intended to commit upon entering the burglarized building. The trial court ordered the indictment quashed with leave to amend within twenty days to set forth what felony petitioner intended to commit, and the said amendment was timely made.
It is clear from a review of the record that the indictment was conditionally, rather than absolutely, quashed. The trial court in effect ordered the indictment quashed unless the Commonwealth amended the indictment within twenty days to show the specific felony intended. Thus we find no merit in petitioner's legal thesis that there was no right to amend or that a new indictment should have been obtained by resubmission to the Grand Jury. It is the considered judgment of this Court that such amendment, made pursuant to Rule 220 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, 19 P.S. Appendix,
violates no constitutional right of petitioner.
Petitioner also asserts that the trial court erred in construing a ladder as a burglary tool. The trial court ruled that a ladder was a burglary tool as defined in 18 P.S. § 4904, and was affirmed per curiam. The construction of this state statute is therefore binding on this Court. Federal courts are bound by the interpretation of state statute rendered by a decision of a state court. Groppi v. Wisconsin, 400 U.S. 505, 91 S. Ct. 490, 27 L. Ed. 2d 571 (1971); Albertson v. Millard, 345 U.S. 242, 73 S. Ct. 600, 97 L. Ed. 983 (1953).
In view of the foregoing, it is the considered judgment of this Court that the petition for writ of habeas corpus should be denied. Findings of fact and conclusions of law have not been separately stated, but are contained in the body of the above opinion as specifically authorized by Rule 52(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
An appropriate order is ...