NO. 2808 PHILADELPHIA, 1980, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Trials Division, at Nos. 904/906 February Term, 1972.
Nino V. Tinari, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Gaele McLaughlin Barthold, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Hester, Cavanaugh and Beck, JJ.
[ 305 Pa. Super. Page 452]
This appeal is from denial to appellant of relief under the Post Conviction Hearing Act ("PCHA").*fn1 Appellant claims he was denied his constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently reasserted in Commonwealth v. Schroth, 495 Pa. 561, 564, 435 A.2d 148, 149 (1981) the standard of review where ineffective assistance of counsel is claimed:
[ 305 Pa. Super. Page 453]
In considering appellant's claim of ineffective counsel, we are governed by Com. ex rel. Washington v. Maroney, 427 Pa. 599, 235 A.2d 349 (1967), where we held that a court must independently review the record and examine counsel's stewardship in light of available alternatives. The inquiry ceases and counsel is deemed to have been effective once the court is able to conclude that counsel's actions had a reasonable basis designed to effectuate the client's interests. The test is not whether it appears on hindsight that another course of action would have been more reasonable. Further, counsel is not ineffective in failing to assert a baseless claim. Commonwealth v. Hubbard, 472 Pa. 259, 372 A.2d 687 (1977).
On January 7, 1972, Hayes Fulton heard someone running downstairs in the house where he rented a room and observed a black man and black woman leave the house, enter a car, and drive away. He later described the car to police officers as a dark blue or black Pontiac and supplied them with the license number which he had committed to memory. Mack Baker was found to have been brutally murdered in that house.
The police checked the license number given them by Mr. Fulton and found it to be registered to a William Campbell with an address near the murder scene. In the early afternoon of January 7, the police questioned Mr. Campbell. He told them that his license plate had been taken by one James Robinson and placed on a dark colored Pontiac which Mr. Campbell had seen driven by both James Robinson and Simon Evans, appellant herein. He also stated that he believed appellant to be the owner of that vehicle.
The following morning, January 8, at 7:10 a.m., the police proceeded to appellant's residence. They observed a dark colored Buick bearing the above license plate parked on the same block. The police were admitted into appellant's building by his girlfriend who directed them to ...