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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. RICHARD BONAPARTE (09/21/79)

filed: September 21, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
RICHARD BONAPARTE, APPELLANT



No. 134 Special Transfer Docket, Appeal from Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Trial Division, of Philadelphia County, at No. 1139 April Term, 1972

COUNSEL

Steven Dickstein, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Marianne E. Cox, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Montgomery, O'Brien and Honeyman, JJ.*fn*

Author: O'brien

[ 270 Pa. Super. Page 14]

Appellant, Richard Bonaparte, was convicted in a bench trial of voluntary manslaughter. Post-verdict motions were denied and appellant was sentenced to a prison term of three to ten years. This appeal followed.

Appellant first argues that he was denied his right to a speedy trial. The facts are as follows. On February 12, 1972, police were called to Tillman's Bar, in Philadelphia, where they found appellant lying in the doorway with a gunshot wound. Another man, John Tillman, was on the barroom floor, mortally wounded. An eyewitness stated that appellant had entered the bar, struggled with Tillman, then fired six shots into the victim's body. Appellant was arrested and charged with murder on that date. Trial commenced December 14, 1973. At the conclusion of the Commonwealth's case on that date, appellant requested a continuance, which was granted to January 2, 1974. Appellant failed to appear and the case continued to January 23, 1974. From that time until May, 1976, the case was continued for various reasons, including appellant's unavailability. Pursuant to a bench warrant, appellant was arrested in May, 1976. Trial was scheduled for June 3, 1976, but for various reasons chargeable to appellant, trial was not concluded until April 28, 1977.

Appellant's argument is broken down into two parts. He first argues he was denied a speedy trial because he was not tried until December 14, 1973, twenty-two months after he was arrested on February 12, 1972.*fn1

In Commonwealth v. Ware, 459 Pa. 334, 346, 329 A.2d 258, 264 (1974), the court stated:

"Therefore, 'any inquiry into a speedy trial claim necessitates a functional analysis of the right in the particular context of the case . . . .' Barker v. Wingo, supra, [407 U.S. 514] at 522, 92 S.Ct. [2182] at 2188 [31 L.Ed.2d

[ 270 Pa. Super. Page 15101]

]. We are required to 'engage in a difficult and sensitive balancing process,' id. at 533, 92 S.Ct. at 2193, 'in which the conduct of both the prosecution and the defendant are weighed.' Id. at 530, 92 S.Ct. at 2192 (footnote omitted). The factors we must consider in this balancing process are '[l]ength of delay, the reason for the delay, the ...


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