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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ALBERT R. CARUSONE (03/21/86)

filed: March 21, 1986.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ALBERT R. CARUSONE, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Beaver County, Criminal No. 294 of 1982.

COUNSEL

Peter Pietrandrea, Ellwood City, for appellant.

Ahmed Aziz, Assistant District Attorney, Sewickley, for Commonwealth appellee.

Spaeth, President Judge,*fn* and Brosky and Rowley, JJ.

Author: Rowley

[ 351 Pa. Super. Page 532]

Opinion of the Court

This is an appeal from a judgment of sentence imposing a sentence of eleven and one half to twenty three months imprisonment for aggravated assault upon two men. Appellant raises eleven issues on appeal. Issues III through VI as set forth in appellant's statement of questions involved have been adequately discussed and correctly decided by the suppression court. (Suppression Court memorandum opinion.) Issues VII through XI have been adequately discussed and correctly decided by the trial court. (Trial Court opinion of December 27, 1983.) We will address the remaining two issues.

I.

Appellant argues that the trial court violated his constitutional right to be present at the suppression hearing by conducting the suppression hearing in his absence. On August 3, 1983, in response to an omnibus pre-trial motion filed by appellant's counsel of record, a suppression hearing was held. Appellant was not present for the hearing, although his counsel was present and fully participated in the hearing. The reason for appellant's absence was not stated on the record by counsel;*fn1 nor did his counsel object to the court proceeding with the hearing in the absence of appellant.

The commentary to Standard 4-3.6 of the ABA Standards for Criminal Justice, the Defense Function, states:

     many of the rights that the law guarantees to an accused person can be vindicated only by prompt action. One of the lawyer's most significant tasks is to inform the client of the nature, extent, and importance of constitutional

[ 351 Pa. Super. Page 533]

    and legal rights and to take the procedural steps ...


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