F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, Dist. Atty., Steven H. Goldblatt, Asst. Dist. Atty., Chief, Appeals Div., for appellant.
Stanley W. Bluestine, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Roberts, J., filed a concurring opinion in which O'Brien and Manderino and Nix, JJ., joined.
Order of the court below vacating judgment of sentence and granting a new trial is affirmed.
ROBERTS, Justice (concurring).
This is an appeal by the Commonwealth from a grant of post-conviction relief (1) vacating appellee's 1972 guilty plea which was the basis of his conviction of murder in the second degree and (2) granting him a new trial. The PCHA court's decision was based on its determination that appellee was ineffectively assisted by counsel when his plea was entered. This Court, by per curiam order, affirms that decision. I concur.
Decedent in this case was an innocent bystander at the scene of a juvenile gang confrontation. He was killed by a single gunshot while leaving his parked car. Appellee, a sixteen year old male with an IQ of 82, was arrested the following day and, after a period of interrogation which lasted approximately eight hours, gave an uncounseled written statement to the police.
Court appointed counsel filed a motion to suppress the statement. Before a hearing could be held, however, he was replaced by privately retained counsel. Testimony at the hearing on the PCHA petition established that retained counsel, Neil Carver, met with appellee only twice before his guilty plea was entered. The first meeting took place immediately before the hearing on the motion to suppress and lasted approximately 5 minutes. The motion to suppress was denied.
The second and last meeting took place the day appellee's trial on a charge of murder was to begin. Appellee,
rather than face a jury trial, pled guilty. Appellee had not discussed such a plea with any member of his ...