No. 2478 October Term, 1979, Appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division, at Nos. 1540-1543 and 1546-1548, 78-11.
James B. Jordan, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellant.
Karl Baker, Assistant Public Defender, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Brosky, Watkins and Montgomery, JJ.
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This is an appeal by the Commonwealth from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division, granting the defendant a new trial on the grounds of after-discovered evidence. The defendant had
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been convicted of two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of reckless endangerment, possession of an instrument of crime and conspiracy on April 25, 1979 after a non-jury trial. He was acquitted of another charge.
On October 22, 1978, Michael Edwards, James Browne, and James Smith were in the process of walking to Browne's automobile parked nearby a building where they had attended a party. As they walked to the vehicle they were followed by four young black males who gathered around the vehicle as Browne started to drive away. The trial testimony demonstrated that at that time the defendant looked into the vehicle, pointed a revolver at Browne and began firing. Another one of the group, a Kevin Hill, fired a shotgun blast through the vehicle's front window. After the attack, the victims, wounded by shotgun pellets and broken glass, ran back to the building where they had attended the party. As they fled, firing of the weapons resumed and Edwards was struck in the leg by a bullet.
At the trial, both Edwards and Browne identified defendant as one of the perpetrators of the crimes. The defendant was wearing a dark red jacket and cap at the time of the assault. He was arrested one and one-half blocks from the site of the attack wearing a dark reddish-brown jacket and cap. One of the guests at the party, a James Lark, testified that after the incident he spoke to a young, black male dressed in a dark red jacket and cap who stated that: "My name is Johnny Scott and I killed someone. I'm the one who shot your homies". The witness further testified that by "homies" he meant "friend". Upon this evidence the defendant was convicted of the charges mentioned above.
Post verdict motions were filed by the defendant on July 18, 1979. In this motion the defendant's counsel alleged that defendant's trial counsel, Patricia Pierce, Esq., had been told by Hill's counsel, Franklin Green, Esq., that Hill had told Green that the defendant was not involved in the shotgun assault. The motion further alleged that at his trial (at which he was convicted for his part in the incident) Hill had given false testimony exculpating himself of guilt and incriminating the defendant. Defendant's counsel then requested
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the trial court to grant Hill immunity from prosecution for perjury, thereby enabling him to testify on defendant's behalf. Defendant also requested that Hill's attorney (Green) be compelled to testify as to the statements made to him by the defendant, claiming that the attorney-client ...