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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. GREGORY CARLTON SCHEPNNER (06/12/81)

SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


filed: June 12, 1981.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,
v.
GREGORY CARLTON SCHEPNNER, APPELLANT

No. 992 April Term, 1979, Appeal from Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Criminal Division at No. 650 of 1979.

COUNSEL

Gregory C. Schepnner, in pro. per.

Shad Connelly, Assistant District Attorney, Erie, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Spaeth, Johnson and Popovich, JJ.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 288 Pa. Super. Page 46]

This is an appeal from a judgment of sentence entered on a plea of guilty of robbery*fn1 and conspiracy to commit theft.*fn2

In a brief submitted to us, an assistant public defender representing appellant argued that "[t]here are no issues present in the records of the instant case upon which counsel could reasonably base an argument with any chance of securing appellate relief." (Brief at p. 7) At the end of his brief, counsel asked leave to withdraw.

[ 288 Pa. Super. Page 47]

We find this brief unsatisfactory. It is well-settled that counsel has the obligation to afford his client a spirited defense and is required to assume the role of an active advocate in behalf of his client. Commonwealth v. Brockington, 268 Pa. Super. 54, 407 A.2d 433 (1979), quoting Commonwealth v. Perry, 464 Pa. 272, 275, 346 A.2d 554, 555 (1975) and Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 744, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 1400, 18 L.Ed.2d 493 (1967). Ordinarily, therefore, we would remand with instructions to counsel to file a brief arguing the merits of appellant's case, or a brief in compliance with the standards set forth in Commonwealth v. Greer, 455 Pa. 106, 108, 314 A.2d 513, 514 (1974). Commonwealth v. Walker, 259 Pa. Super. 260, 393 A.2d 817 (1978); Commonwealth v. Liska, 252 Pa. Super. 103, 380 A.2d 1303 (1977). However, in the present case, counsel also filed a petition for permission to withdraw from the case, which was granted by our court on July 23, 1980. To date, no new counsel has been appointed, and the brief submitted on appellant's behalf has not been withdrawn.

In these circumstances, we shall remand for the appointment of new counsel, who is directed to file within thirty days of his appointment a brief arguing the merits of any available argument on appellant's behalf.


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