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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. SAMUEL JAMES THOMAS (03/16/79)

SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: March 16, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
SAMUEL JAMES THOMAS, APPELLANT

Nos. 71 and 130 January Term, 1977, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Trial Division, Criminal Section, Imposed on Indictment Nos. 833 and 834, August Term, 1975.

COUNSEL

Lewis S. Small, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Robert B. Lawler, Chief, Appeals Div., Asst. Dist. Atty., Marrianne E. Cox, Asst. Dist. Atty., Philadelphia, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. Roberts and Manderino, JJ., filed dissenting opinions.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 484 Pa. Page 384]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Following a jury trial, appellant was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, possession of an instrument of crime and possession of a prohibited offensive weapon. Post-verdict motions were denied and appellant was sentenced to a three-to-ten-year term of imprisonment on the voluntary manslaughter conviction and a concurrent term of two and one-half to five years on the weapons convictions. This appeal followed.

Appellant contends that 1) the suppression court erred by refusing to suppress an allegedly involuntary statement which he made to police following his arrest; 2) the trial court abused its discretion by permitting the Commonwealth

[ 484 Pa. Page 385]

    to introduce into evidence a 4 1/2 year old larceny conviction in order to impeach his credibility; 3) the prosecutor committed reversible error during his summation by expressing his personal opinion as to appellant's credibility and by asking the jury to return a verdict of murder of the first degree; and 4) the trial judge improperly instructed the jury as to the weight and effect to be accorded to the evidence of appellant's prior conviction.

We have reviewed the record and find these issues to be without merit.

Judgment of sentence affirmed.

ROBERTS, Justice, dissenting.

For the reason set forth in my dissenting opinion in Commonwealth v. Perrin, 484 Pa. 188, 398 A.2d 1007 (1979), the admission, over objection, of the appellant's prior conviction was improper.

MANDERINO, Justice, dissenting.

I disagree for the reasons stated in Commonwealth v. Perrin, 484 Pa. 188, 398 A.2d 1007 (1979) (Manderino, J., dissenting).

19790316

© 1998 VersusLaw Inc.



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