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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. TYRONE ROBINSON (12/17/81)

decided: December 17, 1981.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,
v.
TYRONE ROBINSON, APPELLANT



Nos. 397 & 421 January Term, 1978, Appeals from Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, Criminal Trial Division, at Nos. 2235, 2237, 2238 and 2239 January Term, 1977.

COUNSEL

Thomas F. Reilly, Philadelphia (Court-appointed), for appellant.

Robert B. Lawler, Chief, Appeals Div., Nancy Wasser, Philadelphia, for appellee.

O'Brien, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, Kauffman and Wilkinson, JJ.

Author: Roberts

[ 496 Pa. Page 424]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant Tyrone Robinson has been convicted of murder of the first degree, robbery, conspiracy, and possession of an instrument of crime (generally) for his involvement in an armed robbery and shooting death. On these appeals, he seeks a new trial on the basis of a number of claimed trial errors, as well as the alleged ineffectiveness of trial counsel. We reject his claims of error and affirm.

The victim of the shooting, Herbert Cohen, was an owner of a clothing store in Philadelphia. On the afternoon of January 5, 1977, two men entered the store while a third waited outside. After purporting to be interested in clothing, the two demanded money at gunpoint. One of the two suddenly shot the victim. The other then assaulted and took valuables from Meyer Cohen, the victim's brother and co-owner of the store.

Appellant was arrested one week later, as was his brother Keith Robinson. At a jury trial, Meyer Cohen identified appellant as the man who had assaulted him and taken valuables. Another Commonwealth witness, William Allen, testified that he had been the man who waited outside the clothing store while appellant and appellant's brother committed the offenses. After returning its verdicts of guilty, the jury returned the penalty of death for the murder.*fn1

While post-verdict motions were pending, appellant obtained new counsel who filed supplemental motions alleging that trial counsel was ineffective. After evidentiary hearings on the ineffectiveness claims and argument on the post-verdict motions, the court upheld the verdicts. It did, however, set aside the sentence of death, see Commonwealth v. Moody, 476 Pa. 223, 382 A.2d 442 (1977), cert. denied, 438

[ 496 Pa. Page 425]

U.S. 914, 98 S.Ct. 3143, 57 L.Ed.2d 1160 (1978), and impose a sentence of life imprisonment for the murder.*fn2

Appellant's first claim of trial error relates to his effort to cross-examine eyewitness Meyer Cohen by way of Cohen's testimony at the preliminary hearing for appellant's brother. Appellant claims that he was refused permission to have the Clerk of Quarter Sessions authenticate the notes of testimony of his brother's preliminary hearing, and that this refusal caused his cross-examination of Cohen to be "unnecessarily confusing and unclear."*fn3 However, the record indicates that, at the time of cross-examination, appellant already had a copy of the notes of Cohen's previous testimony. Once the court advised appellant that he was not obliged to establish the authenticity ...


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