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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. HUGH L. FANT (10/04/83)

decided: October 4, 1983.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
HUGH L. FANT, APPELLANT



Direct Appeal No. 80-1-148, from the Judgments of Sentence Entered June 27, 1980, in the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, Criminal Division, No. 1 of 1975; William J. Franks, Judge.

COUNSEL

Steve P. Leskinen, Uniontown (court-appointed), for appellant.

Gerald Solomon, Dist. Atty., Samuel J. Davis, Uniontown, for appellee.

Roberts, C.j., and Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson and Zappala, JJ. Flaherty, J., files a dissenting opinion in which Roberts, C.j., and Zappala, J., join.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 502 Pa. Page 269]

ORDER

Judgments of Sentence Affirmed.

FLAHERTY, Justice, dissenting.

I dissent. The appellant, Hugh L. Fant, brings this direct appeal from judgments of sentence imposed after convictions by a jury of murder of the third degree and voluntary manslaughter. The charges arose out of the slayings of two persons at a lounge near Uniontown, Pennsylvania.*fn1

Appellant challenges trial counsels' effectiveness for failure to object to portions of the prosecutor's closing remarks. It is clear that a prosecutor must have latitude in arguing that the facts presented at trial and reasonable inferences therefrom establish the guilt of the accused. Notwithstanding the human tendency toward zeal and emotion, however, it is the prosecutor's duty to temper his remarks to enable the jury to dispassionately and objectively evaluate the evidence and render a verdict based on the evidence, not one inspired by vengeance. Those remarks are improper whose unavoidable effect is to prejudice the jury, forming in the

[ 502 Pa. Page 270]

    jurors' minds fixed bias and hostility toward the accused, and rendering the jury unable to render a true verdict based on the evidence. Commonwealth ...


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