Nos. 340 & 341 SPECIAL TRANSFER DOCKET, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Section, Denying Post-Conviction Relief, at Nos. 568-569, March Term, 1973
Robert W. O'Donnell, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Robert B. Lawler, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Hoffman, Eagen and Hess, JJ.*fn*
[ 273 Pa. Super. Page 354]
In this appeal from the lower court's denial of appellant's petition for post-conviction relief, appellant contends that numerous instances of ineffectiveness of counsel warrant our granting him a new trial.*fn1 We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the order of the lower court denying appellant's petition for post-conviction relief.
[ 273 Pa. Super. Page 355]
In February, 1973, Joseph Truxon was shot and killed during the course of a robbery of a gas station in Philadelphia. In December, 1973, after a jury trial, appellant was convicted of murder of the first degree*fn2 and aggravated robbery in connection with this incident. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on the murder charge and a concurrent term of ten to twenty years imprisonment on the robbery charge. After denial of post-trial motions, appellant took a direct appeal to our Supreme Court, in which he was represented by new counsel (hereinafter "appellate counsel"). That Court affirmed the judgment of sentence in a per curiam order. Commonwealth v. Edwards, 463 Pa. 129, 344 A.2d 460 (1975).
In March, 1977, appellant instituted the proceedings for post-conviction relief which are the subject of this appeal.*fn3 Appellant was represented by yet another attorney in these proceedings. Although appellant's PCHA petition advanced several grounds for relief, the lower court granted an evidentiary hearing only on appellant's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel.*fn4 Both appellant and his trial counsel testified at the hearing, which was held in September and October of 1977. On February 1, 1978, the lower court issued its order denying appellant's petition for post-conviction relief. This appeal, in which appellant is represented by a fourth attorney, followed.
[ 273 Pa. Super. Page 356]
Appellant's PCHA petition raised numerous instances of alleged ineffectiveness of his trial counsel.*fn5 Those claims of ineffectiveness which the lower court expressly considered can be summarized as follows: (1) Counsel advised and persuaded appellant to refuse all plea bargains; (2) counsel failed to call appellant to testify in his own behalf; and (3) counsel failed to consult sufficiently with appellant before the trial. In considering these claims, the lower court correctly noted that "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 interest." Commonwealth ex rel. Washington v. Maroney, 427 Pa. 599, 604, 235 A.2d 349, 352 (1967) (emphasis in original). See also Commonwealth v. Hubbard, 485 Pa. 353, 402 A.2d 999 (1979). Applying that standard to the above-mentioned claims, the lower court found that trial counsel's course had had a reasonable basis and, accordingly, rejected appellant's claims of ineffectiveness with respect thereto.
In Commonwealth v. Lee, 478 Pa. 70, 385 A.2d 1317 (1978), our ...