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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. SPECTER v. SHIOMOS (05/23/74)

decided: May 23, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. SPECTER, PETITIONER,
v.
SHIOMOS



Original Jurisdiction.

COUNSEL

Martin H. Belsky, Assistant District Attorney, with him Robert B. Lawler and Milton M. Stein, Assistant District Attorneys, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for petitioner.

John W. Packel, Assistant Defender, with him Robert A. Stein, Drew Salaman and Jonathan Miller, Assistant Defenders, and Vincent J. Ziccardi, Defender, for amici curiae.

Herbert L. Ocks, for Judge Thomas N. Shiomos, respondent.

Robert A. Newman, for Judge Merna B. Marshall, respondent.

Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Eagen. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Pomeroy. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Nix. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Manderino. Mr. Justice Roberts joins in this dissenting opinion.

Author: Eagen

[ 457 Pa. Page 105]

The District Attorney of Philadelphia filed a petition in this Court seeking a Writ of Prohibition, pursuant to this Court's power under the Appellate Court

[ 457 Pa. Page 106]

Jurisdiction Act, Act of July 31, 1970, P. L. 673, No. 223, Art. II, § 201, 17 P.S. § 211.201(2),*fn1 requesting this Court to prohibit the respondents, Judge Thomas N. Shiomos and Judge Merna B. Marshall, from ordering the pre-trial discovery of certain medical records in criminal cases presently before them. The respondents filed an answer to the petition, and the Defender Association of Philadelphia was permitted to file a brief and present oral argument in opposition to the Writ as amicus curiae. We have reviewed the matter and herein grant the Writ.

The salient facts are:

The Defender Association of Philadelphia represents four criminal defendants charged with rape in four unrelated cases. Prior to trial, defense counsel petitioned the court below under Rule 310 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure to allow discovery of the hospital records of each rape victim in the respective cases. The pertinent records were in the possession of the district attorney's office. Each of the respondents handled two of the petitions, and on October 31, 1972, Judge Marshall ordered discovery of the records in the cases before her, and on November 13 and 14, 1972, Judge Shiomos ordered the district attorney to turn the hospital records over to the defense for inspection. The pertinent orders stated: "All medical reports prepared on the prosecutrix in the ...


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