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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. STEPHEN JAMES MURPHY (07/08/83)

filed: July 8, 1983.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
STEPHEN JAMES MURPHY, APPELLANT



No. 1237 Philadelphia 1981, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Chester County at No. 1343-79.

COUNSEL

Joseph P. Green, Jr., Assistant Public Defender, West Chester, for appellant.

Stuart Suss, Assistant District Attorney, West Chester, for Com., appellee.

Hester, Montemuro and Popovich, JJ.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 316 Pa. Super. Page 179]

On December 19, 1979, a jury found appellant, Stephen James Murphy, guilty of aggravated assault,*fn1 simple assault,*fn2 retaliation against a witness or informant,*fn3 and criminal conspiracy.*fn4 Post-trial motions were filed and denied. On April 21, 1981, appellant was sentenced on the charge of aggravated assault to pay a fine of $50.00 plus the costs of

[ 316 Pa. Super. Page 180]

    prosecution and be incarcerated for a period of not less than four months nor more than twelve months. On all of the other charges, appellant was placed on probation for concurrent one year periods, consecutive to the prison terms imposed. A petition to modify sentence was filed on April 30, 1981. A rule to show cause issued on the petition and a hearing was scheduled for July 15, 1981.*fn5 On May 13, 1981, appellant filed a notice of appeal to this Court from the judgment of sentence imposed on April 21. We remand this case for further proceedings because the issue of ineffectiveness of trial counsel is raised by appellate counsel from the same public defender office as trial counsel.

Appellant raises four questions on this appeal. They include:

I. Whether the trial court erred in refusing to grant defendant's request for a mistrial after the prosecutor made improper reference during closing argument to matters outside the facts and evidence presented at trial?

II. Whether trial counsel was ineffective in failing to object to the prosecutor's statement during closing argument that the defendant had a vital interest in the outcome of the case?

III. Whether the trial court erred in refusing to grant defendant's request for a mistrial after testimony pertaining to prior convictions of the defendant had been solicited by the prosecutor?

IV. Whether the evidence and testimony presented at trial were sufficient to establish the crimes ...


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