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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. LOGAN WARREN MCLAUGHLIN (11/24/76)

decided: November 24, 1976.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
LOGAN WARREN MCLAUGHLIN, APPELLANT



COUNSEL

John Sughrue, Public Defender, for appellant.

Richard A. Bell, Dist. Atty., for appellee.

Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Jones, C. J., and Eagen, J., concurred in the result.

Author: O'brien

[ 469 Pa. Page 408]

OPINION OF THE COURT

This appeal arises from the plea of guilty by appellant, Logan Warren McLaughlin, to a charge of murder in the second degree in the shooting death of his wife, Mary Diane McLaughlin. On March 20, 1975, the court below sentenced appellant to a term of imprisonment of not less

[ 469 Pa. Page 409]

    than ten years nor more than twenty years in a state correctional institution.

The facts surrounding this appeal are as follows. On September 25, 1972, appellant was indicted on a general charge of murder in connection with the slaying of his wife, Mary Diane McLaughlin. Appellant fled Pennsylvania, was arrested in Arizona, and later was extradited to Pennsylvania on November 30, 1973.

On December 20, 1973, appellant entered a plea of not guilty to a general charge of murder. At the time of appellant's plea he was represented by Thomas Morgan, Public Defender, Clearfield County, and Barry Tumpson, private counsel retained by appellant's mother. Subsequently, appellant was represented by private counsel only.

In March, 1974, appellant wrote to Judge John A. Cherry requesting that defense counsel be dismissed and that the court appoint new counsel because of disagreements between appellant and his counsel. On April 1, 1974, the court refused to discharge counsel.

On July 30, 1974, appellant appeared before Judge Cherry for the purpose of entering a guilty plea pursuant to a plea bargain arranged by appellant's counsel and the district attorney of Clearfield County. However, appellant refused to plead guilty and the court set trial to commence for the next criminal term.

At the hearing, appellant's attorney, without the consent of his client, requested the court to order a psychiatric evaluation of appellant because of defense counsel's doubts concerning appellant's competency to understand and assist in his defense. The court granted defense counsel's motion. The results of the psychiatric evaluation revealed that appellant was competent. On November 27, 1974, appellant, represented by counsel, entered a plea of guilty to a general charge of murder. The guilty plea was entered pursuant to an agreement between the

[ 469 Pa. Page 410]

    district attorney and defense counsel. By the terms of the plea agreement, the Commonwealth certified that the charge rose no ...


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