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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ALLEN CARROLL (11/10/86)

filed: November 10, 1986.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ALLEN CARROLL, JR., APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division, No. 85-12-2515.

COUNSEL

Allen Carroll, Jr., in propria persona.

Alan Sacks, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Com., appellee.

McEwen, Del Sole and Tamilia, JJ.

Author: Tamilia

[ 358 Pa. Super. Page 358]

Appellant was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol after a hearing in Philadelphia Municipal Court. He subsequently filed an appeal pro se for a trial de novo in the Common Pleas Court and was arraigned on January 3, 1986 at which time he advised the court he would have "counsel of his choice" on the scheduled trial date.

On February 4, 1986, the appellant filed a document entitled "Constructive Notice" and a "Brief in Support of Constructive Notice" which the court characterized as "attacks on our entire system of justice." (Slip Op. 4/9/86, p. 2).

The appellant's case was called for trial on February 18, 1986 at which time he advised the court of his desire to be represented by a non-lawyer. The appellant continued to argue that he had a right to counsel of his choice and when the court would not agree, he sought a continuance.

[ 358 Pa. Super. Page 359]

The court granted the continuance but also held appellant in contempt of court for obstructing justice and fined him $500. This appeal pro se followed.

Appellant in his pro se brief argues that the court erred in finding him in contempt for attempting to have the counsel of his choice. We do not agree.

"Each court is the exclusive judge of contempts against its process, and on appeal its action will be reversed only when a plain abuse of discretion occurs." Neshaminy Water Res. v. Del-Aware Unlimited, Inc., 332 Pa. Super. 461, 469, 481 A.2d 879, 883 (1984) citing East & West Coast Service Corp v. Papahagis, 344 Pa. 188, 190, 25 A.2d 341, 342 (1942).

The court in its Opinion discusses the law as it applies to choice of counsel and properly establishes that a non-lawyer ...


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