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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. WILLIAM HINES (04/12/85)

filed: April 12, 1985.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
WILLIAM HINES, APPELLANT



No. 1266 Pittsburgh, 1982, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of October 7, 1982 in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Criminal Division, No. 3686 May Term, 1970

COUNSEL

David S. Shrager, Duquesne, for appellant.

Edward M. Clark, Assistant District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Johnson, Cercone and Hester, JJ.

Author: Cercone

[ 341 Pa. Super. Page 458]

This is an appeal from judgment of sentence for life imprisonment which was imposed following a jury verdict of First Degree Murder on June 22, 1982. Appellant, William Hines was found guilty of the murder of a seventeen year old girl which occurred on April 1, 1970. He had initially pled guilty when he was fifteen years old to the crime; after a degree of guilty hearing, a court en banc concluded that appellant was guilty of First Degree Murder on October 2, 1970, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment. Post-verdict motions were denied in May 1972, but no direct appeal was taken.

In 1974, appellant filed a petition under the Post Conviction Hearing Act which alleged that the plea of guilty was not entered intelligently and voluntarily. It was denied after a hearing, and on appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the denial of relief was affirmed. The court found

[ 341 Pa. Super. Page 459]

    that appellant's claim was waived for failure to allege any extraordinary circumstances which precluded his raising the issue on direct appeal.

Then, in 1979, appellant filed a PCHA petition to withdraw his guilty plea in the court of common pleas. After a hearing and argument, the petition was denied. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded this case for a new trial because there appeared in the colloquy no factual basis for appellant's plea, nor any indication to conclude that appellant understood the nature and elements of the charges against him or the consequences of the plea. Commonwealth v. Hines, 496 Pa. 555, 437 A.2d 1180 (1981).

A suppression hearing on appellant's motion was held; the motion was denied. A jury trial was held on June 19, 1982, and appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment. This appeal followed.

Appellant raises a number of suppression issues concerning his statement to police upon apprehension, the search of his home which police conducted, and the use of prior testimony of witnesses who were unavailable at the 1982 retrial. Additionally, he contends that the trial court erred in refusing to charge the jury that they should view the testimony of one witness with caution as that of an accomplice.

Paramount in our consideration of the issue concerning voluntariness of appellant's statement is the fact that appellant was only fifteen years old when he made it. Appellant was arrested on April 5, 1970, at approximately 11:15 p.m. ...


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