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

decided: January 28, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JAMES WILLIAMS, APPELLANT



COUNSEL

Defender Assn. of Phila., Benjamin Lerner, Defender, John W. Packel, Chief, Appeals Div., Douglas H. Riblet, Philadelphia, for appellant.

F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, Dist. Atty., Steven H. Goldblatt, Asst. Dist. Atty., Chief, Appeals Div., Carolyn E. Temin, Philadelphia, for appellee.

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

Author: Nix

[ 470 Pa. Page 173]

OPINION

Appellant was tried before a judge sitting with a jury and found guilty of burglary and larceny. Post-trial motions were filed, argued, denied and a sentence of two and one-half to five years imprisonment was imposed. An appeal was taken to the Superior Court which resulted in an affirmance of the judgment of sentence. Commonwealth v. Williams, 230 Pa. Super. 72, 327 A.2d 367 (1974) (opinion per Cercone, J. to which Spaeth, J. filed a concurring opinion in which Watkins, P. J., and Jacobs, J., joined. Hoffman, J., filed a dissenting opinion).

The single question raised in this appeal concerns the testimonial reference in a trial to the accused's unrelated alleged use of drugs. On redirect examination of the prosecutrix, the Commonwealth, in an effort to counteract the defense's cross-examination which was designed

[ 470 Pa. Page 174]

    to discredit this witness' identification of the appellant, proceeded upon the following area of inquiry:

"Q Were you able to identify the defendant at the preliminary hearing without anybody pointing to him or pointing him out?

A I was able to identify him, although he did look different.

Q In what way?

A His hair was different and his face had ...


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