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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. WILLIAM C. THOMAS (03/10/86)

filed: March 10, 1986.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
WILLIAM C. THOMAS, APPELLANT



Appeal from Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Criminal, at No. 2054 C.D. 1983.

COUNSEL

Francis M. Socha, Harrisburg, for appellant.

John H. Reed, Assistant District Attorney, Harrisburg, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Rowley, Olszewski and Montemuro, JJ.

Author: Montemuro

[ 351 Pa. Super. Page 425]

Before us is an appeal from the judgment of sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County entered against appellant following his entry of a plea of nolo contendere to two counts of perjury.

On June 20, 1983, and July 19, 1983, appellant appeared as a witness before a multi-county investigating grand jury, convened for the stated purpose of investigating widespread drug trafficking. The Honorable John C. Dowling of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County was the designated supervising judge of the grand jury and the grand jury was impaneled in the Dauphin County Court-house. See 42 Pa.C.S. ยง 4544. When questioned before the grand jury, appellant denied that he had any knowledge of any individuals involved in drug trafficking and further denied that he personally was involved in such activity.

On the basis of appellant's sworn representations, the grand jury subsequently issued a presentment recommending in part that appellant be prosecuted for his failure to testify truthfully. Thereafter, on August 25, 1983, a criminal complaint was filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County charging appellant with perjury, false swearing, and obstructing the administration of justice.

On November 16, 1983, appellant, represented by the public defender, filed an omnibus pre-trial motion seeking dismissal of the charges. Appellant's motion challenged the bases for convening, and the authority of, the grand jury and alleged the denial of legal counsel for the purpose of appellant's grand jury testimony. On January 5, 1984, appellant filed a motion for a change of venue and for the

[ 351 Pa. Super. Page 426]

    appointment of a private investigator. Following a hearing on January 16, 1984, the court below denied appellant's motions in so far as they sought dismissal of the charges or a change of venue, yet the court granted appellant's request for an investigator.

On May 15, 1984, appellant appeared before the Honorable William W. Lipsitt and entered a plea of nolo contendere to two counts of perjury. The remaining charges were dismissed and appellant was sentenced to two concurrent one to two year terms of imprisonment. It should be noted that appellant's plea was specifically conditioned upon a reservation of the right to subsequently raise on appeal the arguments presented in his pre-trial motions and denied by the court below.

Appellant filed a pro se motion for modification/reconsideration of sentence, which was denied by an order of the court below dated ...


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