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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JAMES DAVIS (01/28/77)

decided: January 28, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JAMES DAVIS, APPELLANT



COUNSEL

John J. Dean, John H. Corbett, Jr., Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Robert E. Colville, Dist. Atty., Robert L. Eberhardt, Asst. Dist. Atty., Robert Zunich, Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee.

Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy and Manderino, JJ. Nix, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: O'brien

[ 470 Pa. Page 194]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, James Davis, was tried by a judge and jury and found guilty of murder in the third degree. Post-verdict motions were denied and appellant was sentenced to a term of two to five years in a state correctional institution.

The facts surrounding this appeal are as follows. On July 1, 1974, William Moore was shot while entering an all-night store in Pittsburgh. Following the shooting, Moore ran to a car, stating, "I have been shot, take me to the police." He died as a result of two gun shot wounds.

[ 470 Pa. Page 195]

Appellant was arrested on March 12, 1975. He was subsequently tried and convicted on October 16, 1975. This appeal followed.

Appellant argues that he was denied his right to effective assistance of trial counsel. At trial and post-verdict motions, appellant was represented by privately-retained counsel. On this direct appeal, appellant is represented by the public defender's office. Appellant properly raises the issue of ineffective trial counsel on this appeal. See Commonwealth v. Dancer, 460 Pa. 95, 331 A.2d 435 (1975).

Appellant argues that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing: (1) to request a bill of particulars; (2) to request a Jackson-Denno hearing on certain inculpatory statements of the appellant; and (3) to object to hearsay testimony elicited from the arresting officer.

In Com. ex rel. Washington v. Maroney, 427 Pa. 599, 604-05, 235 A.2d 349, 352-53 (1967), this court enunciated the standard for effectiveness of counsel:

". . . inquiry ceases and counsel's assistance is deemed constitutionally effective once we are able to conclude that the particular course chosen by counsel had some reasonable basis designed to effectuate his client's interests. The test is not whether other alternatives were more reasonable, employing a hindsight evaluation of the record. Although weigh the alternatives we must, the balance tips in favor of a finding of effective ...


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