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COMMONWEALTH v. CHASE (11/17/72)

decided: November 17, 1972.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
CHASE, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Sept. T., 1957, No. 31, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Charles R. Chase.

COUNSEL

Smith B. Gephart, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.

Marion E. MacIntyre, Deputy District Attorney, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice O'Brien.

Author: O'brien

[ 449 Pa. Page 342]

On January 22, 1958, appellant, Charles R. Chase, was found guilty by a jury of the first-degree murder of his wife. The jury fixed the penalty at life imprisonment. A motion for a new trial was timely filed and subsequently denied. Commonwealth v. Chase, 73 Dauphin 138

[ 449 Pa. Page 343]

(1958). No appeal was then taken from the judgment of sentence.

Appellant subsequently filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, which was denied by the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County on September 7, 1965. Com. ex rel. Chase v. Myers, 84 Dauphin 198 (1965). The Dauphin County Court opinion was affirmed by this Court on September 27, 1966. Com. ex rel. Chase v. Myers, 423 Pa. 629, 222 A.2d 597 (1966). Appellant then pursued his petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Federal Courts. The United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania denied his petition on April 13, 1967. United States v. Rundle, 266 F. Supp. 487 (M.D. Pa. 1967). The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit refused to grant a certificate of probable cause, U. S. ex rel. Chase v. Rundle, 3d Cir. Misc. Rec. No. 733 (1967), and the Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari on January 25, 1968, Chase v. Rundle, 390 U.S. 928 (1968).

On February 26, 1968, appellant filed a Post Conviction Hearing Act*fn1 petition averring, inter alia, that he did not know he had the right to have counsel appointed without cost to him to take an appeal. On May 7, 1968, the Public Defender of Dauphin County was appointed to represent appellant, and a motion for a new trial was filed and argued before the Dauphin County Court. On April 27, 1970, that court rendered an opinion dismissing the motion. Appellant now appeals from the judgment of sentence.

Appellant's sole allegation is that one of the Commonwealth's chief witnesses, appellant's son, who was twelve years old at the time of trial, had been told how to testify by the district attorney before trial.

[ 449 Pa. Page 344]

As evidence in support of this allegation, appellant has attached to his brief an affidavit by his son, ...


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