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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. WAYNE FORD A/K/A LEVAN SPANN (09/22/80)

decided: September 22, 1980.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
WAYNE FORD A/K/A LEVAN SPANN, APPELLANT



Nos. 420, 441 January Term, 1976, Appeal from Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal, of Philadelphia, at Nos. 1874, 1875 and 1876 June Sessions, 1975

COUNSEL

James Gardner Colins, Philadelphia County, for appellant.

Niel Kitrosser, Asst. Dist. Atty., Philadelphia County, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. Roberts, J., files a concurring opinion in which Nix, J., joins.

Author: O'brien

[ 491 Pa. Page 589]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, Wayne Ford, a/k/a Levan Spann, pleaded guilty to murder of the third degree in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County on December 4, 1975. On March 16, 1976, he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than eight nor more than twenty years.

A direct appeal was taken to this Court in which appellant claimed, inter alia, he had been denied effective assistance of counsel. We remanded to the trial court for an evidentiary hearing on the claims of ineffectiveness. Commonwealth v. Ford, 484 Pa. 163, 398 A.2d 995 (1979). The evidentiary hearing so ordered was held on May 30, 1979, and on

[ 491 Pa. Page 590]

February 15, 1980, the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County determined appellant "was not deprived of his right to representation by competent counsel." In accordance with our mandate in Ford, id, 484 Pa. at 166, 398 A.2d at 996, the record is now returned to this Court for further consideration of the instant appeal.

Instantly, as at the evidentiary hearing, appellant argues his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel in five particulars.

Appellant correctly notes, initially, that the standard by which counsel's stewardship is gauged is well-settled:

". . . 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 interests. The test is not whether other alternatives were more reasonable, employing a hindsight evaluation of the record." Commonwealth ex rel. Washington v. Maroney, 427 Pa. 599, 605, 235 A.2d 349, 352-353 (1967) (Emphasis in original).

Notwithstanding the longevity of the Washington v. Maroney standard, appellant is constrained to note that it cannot be employed "from a standpoint of pure logic," and opines that our test is "a well meaning but ill-advised judicial non-sequitur." We decline appellant's implicit, if somewhat pedantic, invitation to depart from our standard of review. Moreover, we reiterate that the Washington v. Maroney test is far from being "a well meaning but ...


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