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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. LAMONT THOMAS (05/18/87)

filed: May 18, 1987.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
LAMONT THOMAS, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division, Nos. 641, 644, 646 & 8405.

COUNSEL

Irene H. Cotton, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Deborah Flesher, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Com., appellee.

Cirillo, President Judge, and Tamilia and Cercone, JJ.

Author: Tamilia

[ 363 Pa. Super. Page 350]

This is an appeal from judgment of sentence following appellant's conviction of robbery, aggravated assault and conspiracy. Appellant was sentenced to ten to twenty years incarceration for robbery and consecutive five to ten year terms for each of the other two offenses for a total sentence of twenty to forty years incarceration.

The underlying facts indicate that on January 12, 1985, at approximately 12:00 midnight, the female victim, while returning

[ 363 Pa. Super. Page 351]

    home from work, was robbed of her purse and then shot in the back. The victim had parked her car on the corner of Hollywood and Mifflin Streets and proceeded up Hollywood Street towards her home when she noticed two black males walking towards her. As they passed her, she was pushed and a struggle over her handbag occurred. The victim was knocked to the ground, kicked and then heard one of the assailants say "shoot her." She proceeded to roll over onto her stomach and was shot in the back. The two men then fled.

The victim, while hospitalized for her injuries, identified appellant and another individual from a photo array as her attackers. The second individual was subsequently released but the victim later identified appellant from a lineup.

At trial, Walter Martin, who had entered a guilty plea to charges stemming from the attack on the victim, in exchange for a twelve to twenty-five year sentence, testified that he and the appellant were the attackers. He explained that he shot the victim at the urging of appellant.

On appeal, trial counsel is alleged to have been ineffective and the identification testimony is claimed to have been improperly admitted. Appellant also maintains the sentence was imposed without sufficient reasons being set forth.

Appellant first contends it was error to admit identification testimony based on the photos shown to the victim because they were displayed in an unduly suggestive manner. Appellant maintains that showing the pictures one by one to the victim was inherently unreliable because the detective unknowingly and unconsciously, but perceptively, cued the victim. This argument is based on what appellant terms the "Clever Hans effect", which was discussed in an article in Science Digest, January 1986. Appellant next ...


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