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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. CHARLES R. HILL (12/05/80)

filed: December 5, 1980.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
CHARLES R. HILL, APPELLANT



No. 539 April Term, 1979 Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Blair County, Criminal Division, at No. 435 of 1977

COUNSEL

John Woodcock, Hollidaysburg, for appellant.

Donald E. Speice, Assistant District Attorney, submitted a brief on behalf of Commonwealth, appellee.

Price, Brosky and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Montgomery

[ 282 Pa. Super. Page 463]

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Blair County, denying a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus. The Petitioner-Appellant contends that a delay in his sentencing has violated his rights to a speedy trial.

The record shows that the Appellant was tried in the Court of Common Pleas of Blair County on August 23rd and 24th, 1977, on charges of Robbery, Crimes Committed with a Firearm, Former Convict Not to Own a Firearm, and Firearms Not to be Carried Without a License. A jury returned a verdict of guilty on all charges. Within several days thereafter, the Appellant filed a Motion for a New Trial and/or Arrest of Judgment, and requested a copy of the

[ 282 Pa. Super. Page 464]

    trial transcript. Arguments on the Motion were originally set for December 15, 1977, but were continued and rescheduled for June 8, 1978. It is not disputed that such continuance and rescheduling were requested by the Appellant's counsel, apparently because more time was desired to review the trial transcript, which was filed in early December, 1977. Appellant's brief in support of his post-trial motions was apparently filed on December 14, 1977. The argument scheduled for June 8, 1978 was also postponed as a result of the request of Appellant's counsel, who was apparently unavailable on that date.

On July 25, 1978 Appellant filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, claiming that his post-trial motions had not been considered in a timely manner. Specifically, in his Petition, he cited the following sentence from Subsection (a) of Rule of Criminal Procedure 1123: "Argument shall be scheduled and heard promptly after such motions are filed, and only those issues raised and the grounds relied upon in the motions may be argued." He also argued that the delay which had occurred was in excess of the 180 day period provided in Rule of Criminal Procedure 1100 and was unconscionable.

Hearings were held in the lower court on the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus on September 20, 1978 and May 2, 1979. It was established that the Petitioner-Appellant was then still incarcerated, and that prisoners in Blair County who were not sentenced enjoyed less privileges and opportunities, such as access to a work-release program, than are available to those prisoners who have been sentenced. During the course of the proceedings before the lower court, defense counsel specifically requested that further proceedings on the post-trial motions be deferred until the final disposition of the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. Further, defense counsel advised the court that the legal issue involved, and the basis for Petitioner's claims, was the section of Rule 1123 quoted above.

In the instant appeal to our Court, the Appellant raises numerous contentions to ...


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