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COMMONWEALTH v. SHEELEY (09/23/74)

decided: September 23, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
SHEELEY, APPELLANT



Appeals from judgments of sentence of Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Sept. T., 1968, Nos. 192, 193, 194 and 409, and Sept. T., 1968, No. 25 O. & T., in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Henry Benjamin Sheeley.

COUNSEL

Clarence B. Turns, Jr., Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.

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

Watkins, P. J., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Spaeth, J.

Author: Spaeth

[ 230 Pa. Super. Page 161]

Appellant was convicted by a jury of aggravated robbery, larceny, attempt with intent to murder, use of

[ 230 Pa. Super. Page 162]

    a firearm in a crime of violence, and resisting arrest. On this appeal he contends that his convictions must be reversed and the charges against him dismissed because he was not given a speedy trial as required by the Sixth Amendment.*fn1 Although the decision is a close one, we reject appellant's contention.

On the morning of September 16, 1968, appellant and three other men assaulted a Deputy United States Marshal and prison guards in the Northumberland County jail and escaped. The Marshal was returning appellant and one of the other men from New Orleans, Louisiana to Newark, New Jersey to stand trial on federal charges of bank robbery. Appellant and his three companions fled in the Marshal's car but within a few hours appellant was caught in Dauphin County. During their flight the men robbed one Bertha Witmer, stole her car, and shot at a police officer, and it was these activities that led to the charges here at issue. On September 18, 1968, appellant was released into the custody of the United States Marshal for Newark. The Dauphin County authorities continued to press their charges against appellant, and on October 10, 1968, appellant was indicted. On November 12, 1968, and on January 8, 1969, the Sheriff of Dauphin County filed detainers on the indictments with the United States Marshal in Newark. No attempt was made, however, to bring appellant to trial.

It is not possible to obtain from the record a complete account of the federal proceedings against appellant. It appears that on September 17, 1969, as a result of a guilty plea, appellant was sentenced by a judge of the United States District Court for New

[ 230 Pa. Super. Page 163]

Jersey on the bank robbery charge. On June 8, 1970, as a result of a guilty plea, appellant was sentenced by a judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (sitting in Lewisburg) on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, escape, and conspiracy, these charges also arising from appellant's activities during his flight on September 16, 1968. For reasons not appearing, on April 27, 1971, appellant was permitted to withdraw his plea on the bank robbery charge. Subsequently he made a valid plea, and on September 8, 1972, he was sentenced for the bank robbery. Appellant's total sentence from both federal courts was twenty-four years. It does not appear where appellant was confined from September 18, 1968 (when the Dauphin County authorities released him to the United States Marshal) until September 8, 1972.

On November 20, 1972, while at the federal reformatory in Marion, Illinois, appellant petitioned the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County for dismissal of the indictments pending against him on the ground that he had not been given a speedy trial. The District Attorney treated appellant's motion as if it were a request for a trial within 180 days, made under the Agreement on Detainers, Act ...


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