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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. WILLIAM JOHN SINWELL (10/27/78)

decided: October 27, 1978.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
WILLIAM JOHN SINWELL, APPELLANT



No. 2337, October Term, 1977, Appeal from the Opinion and Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania denying a Petition for relief under the Post Conviction Hearing Act at Action No. 460, 1969.

COUNSEL

William John Sinwell, appellant, in pro. per.

George E. Christianson, District Attorney, Lebanon, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Jacobs, President Judge, and Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, Spaeth and Hester, JJ. Hoffman, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Hester

[ 259 Pa. Super. Page 545]

This is an appeal from a dismissal, without a hearing, of a pro se petition filed under the Post Conviction Hearing Act, Act of January 25, 1966, P.L. 1580 (19 P.S. ยงยง 1180 -- 1 et seq.). In his petition, appellant alleged, inter alia, the ineffectiveness of his former PCHA lawyer, attorney Joseph M. Hill, Jr. of the Lebanon County Bar. The trial court concluded that this claim was "refuted by a glance at the record", and denied both a hearing and appellant's request for appointment of counsel.*fn1 The only issue we consider is

[ 259 Pa. Super. Page 546]

    whether the court was correct in summarily dismissing appellant's uncounseled PCHA petition.*fn2 We reverse.

Rule 1503(a) of the Pa.Rules of Criminal Procedure requires the court to appoint counsel in PCHA proceedings once petitioner satisfies the court of his indigency. The only exception is set forth in Rule 1504:

-- Summary Dispositions --

Appointment of counsel shall not be necessary and petitions may be disposed of summarily when a previous petition involving the same issue or issues has been finally determined adversely to the petitioner and he was either afforded the opportunity to have counsel appointed or was represented by counsel in proceedings thereon.*fn3

Although appellant has filed previous PCHA petitions and has had certain issues litigated adversely to him in counseled proceedings,*fn4 it is clear that the ineffectiveness of the prior ...


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