No. 1684 Philadelphia, 1982, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County, Criminal No. 705A of 1981.
Lewis J. Bott, Assistant Public Defender, Wilkes-Barre, for appellant.
Joseph Giebus, Assistant District Attorney, Wilkes-Barre, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Rowley, Beck and Montgomery, JJ.
[ 324 Pa. Super. Page 188]
Appellant was convicted, by a jury, of murder in the first degree and arson. He was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment without the possibility of commutation or parole on the murder charge and a consecutive term of ten to twenty years imprisonment on the charge of arson. This direct appeal followed. We affirm.
Appellant was tried on September 14-17, 1981, and found guilty of strangling his wife and setting fire to the building in which she lived. Throughout the trial, appellant conducted his own defense, repeatedly refusing to discuss the facts of the case with counsel appointed to assist him and steadfastly maintaining that he neither desired nor required representation by counsel. Approximately one week prior to trial, on September 8, 1981, the trial judge, the Honorable Arthur D. Dalessandro, thoroughly reviewed with appellant his right to be represented by an attorney and how such representation could benefit him. Judge Dalessandro concluded that appellant knowingly, understandingly and voluntarily waived his right to the representation of counsel. In accordance with Pa.R.Crim.P. 318, an attorney from the public defender's office was appointed as standby counsel.
At trial, appellant was permitted and encouraged to confer with standby counsel. He refused. During the closing arguments, standby counsel was permitted to participate on behalf of appellant as amicus curiae. Only after trial did appellant affirmatively ask the public defender's office to actively represent him. Standby counsel entered his appearance on behalf of appellant and filed post-trial motions. By an opinion and order dated May 19, 1982, the trial court denied appellant's post-trial motions. Appellant was sentenced on May 25, 1982. This direct appeal followed.
In his appellate brief, counsel presents seven numbered questions. These questions present the following issues:
1. Did the trial court improperly permit appellant to act as counsel on his own behalf?
2. Was appellant denied the effective assistance of counsel?
[ 324 Pa. Super. Page 1893]
. Did the trial court err in admitting Commonwealth's Exhibits 1 ...