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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JEFFREY CODA (01/16/81)

SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


filed: January 16, 1981.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,
v.
JEFFREY CODA, APPELLANT

No. 60 April Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order in the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, Criminal Division, at No. 274 of 1976.

COUNSEL

Alphonse P. Lepore, Jr., Uniontown, for appellant.

Gerald R. Solomon, District Attorney, Uniontown, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Price, Hester and Cavanaugh, JJ.

Author: Price

[ 283 Pa. Super. Page 409]

This appeal arises from the order of the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas denying relief on appellant's petition filed pursuant to the Post Conviction Hearing Act.*fn1 Appellant claims that he received ineffective representation by trial counsel, and that inculpatory statements were improperly admitted into evidence. We are unable to pass upon appellant's claims, however, because of the inadequacy of the record. Therefore, we remand the case for the filing of a full opinion.

The pertinent facts are as follows. In February, 1976, appellant was arrested and charged with theft by unlawful taking.*fn2 Following the denial of his application to suppress oral and written inculpatory statements, he was found guilty by a jury on June 16, 1976. Appellant filed a motion for a new trial and in arrest of judgment containing only boilerplate reasons as grounds for relief. The motion was denied

[ 283 Pa. Super. Page 410]

    and on March 29, 1978, appellant was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of one to two years.*fn3 Appellant subsequently petitioned for post conviction relief, at which time new counsel was appointed to raise a claim of ineffectiveness of counsel. A hearing was held on December 19, 1978, and shortly thereafter, appellant's claim for relief was denied. There have been no opinions filed throughout this adjudication.

We are unable to render a considered opinion on this appeal without having the benefit of an opinion from the post conviction hearing court. The court's findings are necessary for our determination whether "the particular course chosen by counsel had some reasonable basis designed to effectuate his client's interest." Commonwealth v. Musi, 486 Pa. 102, 107, 404 A.2d 378, 380 (1979), citing Commonwealth ex rel. Washington v. Maroney, 427 Pa. 599, 235 A.2d 349 (1967). Additionally, an opinion is essential to enable us to determine if the ineffectiveness of counsel was such an extraordinary circumstance as to justify appellant's failure to raise his other claims in a prior proceeding.*fn4

"Our rules are designed to administer the appellate process in the fairest and most efficient manner possible." Matter of Harrison Square, Inc., 470 Pa. 246, 251, 368 A.2d

[ 283 Pa. Super. Page 411285]

, 288 (1977). Rule 1925 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure mandates that when an order is appealed the judge who entered the order must file an opinion detailing the reasons for the order.*fn5 The court's failure to comply with this rule prohibits us from conducting a meaningful review of this case. See generally Knapp v. Knapp, 267 Pa. Super. 554, 407 A.2d 48 (1979). Therefore, we remand for the entry of a full, detailed opinion. Upon filing of an opinion this case is to be returned to this panel and listed at the same number and term.

Remanded for disposition consistent with this opinion.


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