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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JOHN LENNOX (10/05/79)

filed: October 5, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JOHN LENNOX, APPELLANT



No. 2249 October Term, 1977, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence in the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Criminal Division, Nos. 97 & 98 of 1975.

COUNSEL

Roy H. Davis, Assistant Public Defender, Media, for appellant.

Frank T. Hazel, District Attorney, Media, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Price

[ 270 Pa. Super. Page 255]

Following a jury trial commenced on December 9, 1975, appellant was convicted of recklessly endangering another person*fn1 and simple assault.*fn2 Post-trial motions were denied, and appellant was sentenced to one year of probation and was ordered to pay the costs of prosecution.

On appeal from the judgment of sentence, appellant raises the following contentions: (1) that his right to a speedy trial under Pa.R.Crim.P. 1103*fn3 was violated; (2) that the trial court erroneously overruled his demurrer to the Commonwealth's evidence on the simple assault charge; and (3) that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to

[ 270 Pa. Super. Page 256]

    preserve, in post-trial motions, his Rule 1100 claim. We find that appellant has waived the first two issues by not raising them to the trial court in written post-trial motions. Since appellant raises the issue of ineffectiveness of trial counsel, however, and is represented on appeal by counsel associated with the same public defender's office as was his trial counsel, we must remand this case to the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County for appointment of appellate counsel not associated with the Delaware County Public Defender's Office.

In the case of Commonwealth v. Blair, 460 Pa. 31, 331 A.2d 213 (1975), our supreme court held that issues not presented to the trial court in compliance with Pa.R.Crim.P. 1123, i. e., in written post-trial motions, will not be considered by our trial and appellate courts. In subsequent decisions, the court proceeded to adulterate this requirement by holding that issues would be seen as preserved if briefed before the post-verdict motion court and considered on the merits by that court. See, e. g., Commonwealth v. Jones, 478 Pa. 172, 386 A.2d 495 (1978); Commonwealth v. Pugh, 476 Pa. 445, 383 A.2d 183 (1978); Commonwealth v. Perillo, 474 Pa. 63, 376 A.2d 635 (1977); Commonwealth v. Grace, 473 Pa. 542, 375 A.2d 721 (1977). In recent decisions, however, the supreme court has returned to its initial posture that issues not presented to the trial court in written post-trial motions are waived. See Commonwealth v. Gravely, 486 Pa. 194, 404 A.2d 1296 (1979); Commonwealth v. Twiggs, 485 Pa. 481, 402 A.2d 1374 (1979).

In the instant case, appellant filed boiler-plate post-trial motions alleging that: (1) the verdict was contrary to the evidence; (2) the verdict was contrary to the weight of the evidence; (3) the verdict was contrary to the law; and (4) causes appear on the record which are errors of law. The court of common pleas refused to consider the issues of whether appellant's demurrer and his motion to dismiss under Rule 1100 were improperly denied, and cited Commonwealth v. Blair, supra, to support its action. Under these

[ 270 Pa. Super. Page 257]

    circumstances, the trial court was correct in refusing to consider issues not raised in written post-trial motions, ...


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