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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. FRANCIS X. BALLEM (06/08/84)

submitted: June 8, 1984.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
FRANCIS X. BALLEM, APPELLANT



No. 01951 PHILADELPHIA, 1983, Appeal from an Order Entered June 21, 1983 in the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Delaware County, No. 482 June Term, 1954.

COUNSEL

Francis X. Ballem, in propria persona.

John A. Reilly, District Attorney, Media, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Tamilia, Johnson and Hester, JJ.

Author: Hester

[ 334 Pa. Super. Page 256]

This is an appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County entered on June 21, 1982, denying appellant's petition for notes of testimony for all prior

[ 334 Pa. Super. Page 257]

    proceedings. Appellant argues that the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to grant his petition. We disagree and affirm.

Appellant has been incarcerated for the last 30 years following his conviction of murder in the first degree. On April 29, 1954, appellant and the victim had been drinking heavily in appellant's home, when appellant shot and killed him. In an attempt to dispose of the body, appellant first poured lye on the face and hands, then burned it, and ultimately dismembered it. Parts of the body were hidden in a suitcase in appellant's attic, other pieces discarded in a nearby stream.

Appellant was eventually arrested and charged with murder. Subsequent to a pronouncement of appellant's fit mental condition, he was tried by jury. On January 27, 1955, he was found guilty of murder in the first degree.

On February 4, 1955, motions for a new trial and in arrest of judgment were filed. Notes of trial testimony were filed February 28, 1955. Post-trial motions were denied on December 13, 1955. On December 30, 1955, the court imposed the death sentence, which was affirmed on appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Commonwealth v. Ballem, 386 Pa. 20, 123 A.2d 728 (1956), cert. denied Ballem v. Pennsylvania, 352 U.S. 932, 77 S.Ct. 235, 1 L.Ed.2d 167 (1956). The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed on March 17, 1958 the lower court's denial of appellant's petition to be committed to a mental institution. Commonwealth v. Ballem, 391 Pa. 626, 139 A.2d 534 (1958).

On May 25, 1983, appellant filed a petition requesting production of the notes of testimony of all previous proceedings, including copies of docket entries, information, indictments, and pre-trial motions. This petition was denied on June 21, 1983, and appellant thereafter filed this appeal.

It is well-established that constitutional due process and equal protection require that a criminal defendant be afforded copies of his trial transcripts in order to effectively prosecute an appeal. Griffin v. Illinois, 351 U.S. 12, ...


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