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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. THOMAS GEORGE DALE (04/20/81)

filed: April 20, 1981.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,
v.
THOMAS GEORGE DALE, APPELLANT



No. 2555 October Term, 1978, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence imposed September 26, 1978, of the Court of Common Pleas, CRIMINAL, for the County of BERKS, at No. 77053201.

COUNSEL

John T. Forry, Reading, for appellant.

Charles M. Guthrie, Assistant District Attorney, Reading, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Spaeth, Stranahan and Sugerman, JJ.*fn*

Author: Stranahan

[ 286 Pa. Super. Page 309]

Appellant, Thomas George Dale, was charged with burglary,*fn1 theft by unlawful taking,*fn2 receiving stolen property,*fn3 criminal conspiracy,*fn4 and two counts of corruption of minors.*fn5 The office of the Public Defender, which had represented appellant on several prior, unrelated cases, was again assigned as counsel. Appellant was represented by the same assistant public defender on at least three previous occasions and was to be represented by him on the present case. On December 7, 1977, appellant, with counsel, appeared before the Honorable Forrest G. Schaeffer, Berks County Assignment Judge. At that time, appellant, citing differences of opinion with counsel in regard to trial strategy, discharged assigned counsel and requested appointment of a substitute

[ 286 Pa. Super. Page 310]

    defense attorney. A colloquy ensued during which appellant refused to sign a waiver of counsel form. The court declined to assign a substitute defense attorney. There is no record available reflecting what, if any, additional colloquy was conducted. The case was assigned for trial before Judge James W. Bertolet.

On December 8, 1977, appellant appeared before the trial court with previously assigned counsel. Again appellant requested the assignment of a substitute defense attorney. The trial court ruled that appellant's reasons for seeking substitute counsel were not adequate and permitted appellant to appear pro se. Prior to accepting appellant's waiver of the right to counsel, the trial court did not conduct a colloquy reviewing the ramifications of such a decision. The trial court, as cited by appellant, instead stated:

"and we will proceed the normal way of which you are familiar. You have been tried before and know what the normal way is. You act as your own attorney or you don't have to say anything. It is up to you." (N.T. pg. 7)

No record of any additional colloquy is before the court.

Appellant then proceeded to trial pro se, with previously assigned counsel present in an advisory capacity. Appellant was convicted by a jury of burglary, theft, criminal ...


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