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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. CHRISTOPHER LYNN GIKNIS (09/22/80)

decided: September 22, 1980.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
CHRISTOPHER LYNN GIKNIS, APPELLANT



No. 41 May Term, 1979, Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal, of York County, at No. 430 January Sessions, 1973.

COUNSEL

Brooks K. Pomper, York, for appellant.

Sheryl Ann Dorney, Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ.

Author: O'brien

[ 491 Pa. Page 217]

OPINION OF THE COURT

This appeal is from an order of the Court of Common Pleas, York County, denying relief requested by appellant, Christopher Lynn Giknis, in a petition filed pursuant to the Post Conviction Hearing Act.*fn1

On March 31, 1973, appellant was arrested and charged with the murder of his brother-in-law, Donald Garrety. Pursuant to the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Act of 1966,*fn2 the court ordered a sanity commission convened as called for in Section 408, 50 P.S. ยง 4408, to determine if appellant was competent to stand trial. An Assistant Public Defender was appointed to represent appellant at the hearing before the Sanity Commission on July 19, 1973. By a report dated July 25, 1973, the commission determined that appellant was competent to stand trial.

[ 491 Pa. Page 218]

Appellant's counsel subsequently petitioned for the appointment of a psychiatrist to examine appellant to help in the preparation of a defense. A psychiatrist was appointed who examined and evaluated appellant.

On August 21, 1973, appellant entered a plea of guilty to murder generally, following a full colloquy. A degree-of-guilt hearing was held on February 28, 1974, and appellant was adjudged guilty of murder of the first degree. Appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment.

In 1976, appellant sought permission from this court to appeal nunc pro tunc, and permission to do so was granted. On September 14, 1977, we remanded to the Court of Common Pleas for a determination of whether appellant had waived the right to file post-verdict motions.*fn3 When the York County Court determined that appellant had not waived the right, appellant was permitted to file post-verdict motions nunc pro tunc. Post-verdict motions were denied and we affirmed on direct appeal. Commonwealth v. Giknis, 480 Pa. 535, 391 A.2d 1015 (1978).

On November 29, 1978, appellant filed a P.C.H.A. petition. For the first time, counsel other than trial counsel was appointed and new counsel filed an amended petition. On May 29, 1979, a hearing was held and by an order dated May 31, ...


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