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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JAY COLLINS (08/10/88)

decided: August 10, 1988.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT,
v.
JAY COLLINS, APPELLEE



Appeal from Order of the Superior Court dated March 12, 1986, at No. 1096 Philadelphia 1985, affirming the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Selection, dated March 25, 1985, at Nos. 721-723 of July Term 1983, granting a new trial. 356 Pa. Super. 585, 512 A.2d 49 (1986).

COUNSEL

Gaele McLaughlin Barthold, Deputy Dist. Atty., Ronald Eisenberg, Chief, Appeals Div., Philadelphia, for appellant.

Mary Zell, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Zappala, Papadakos and Stout, JJ.

Author: Nix

[ 519 Pa. Page 59]

OPINION

At issue in this appeal is an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County granting a new trial to appellee Jay Collins, following his non-jury conviction of

[ 519 Pa. Page 60]

Aggravated Assault, Recklessly Endangering Another Person and Violation of the Uniform Firearms Act. The basis for the court's order was its conclusion that Collins had been denied effective assistance of counsel in the trial proceedings. When that order was affirmed by the Superior Court, in a memorandum opinion, 356 Pa. Super. 585, 512 A.2d 49 (1986), the Commonwealth petitioned this Court for an allowance of appeal, which we granted.

Although this appeal does not present a question as to the sufficiency of the Commonwealth's evidence to sustain the convictions, a recounting of that evidence is necessary to an understanding of the ineffective-assistance claim raised before the trial court.

In the early morning of June 21, 1983, Mrs. Margie Barfield was lying in bed watching television at her home in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Between two and three o'clock that morning, she heard noises at the front of her house. Upon investigation, she discovered that her porch furniture had been thrown onto the adjacent sidewalk. Mrs. Barfield called the police, who helped her to return the furniture to the front porch. After the police left the scene, Mrs. Barfield and her daughter Diane remained at the front of the house, looking up and down the street. While the two females were thus stationed they saw a man walk by the house, a man Diane Barfield identified to her mother as Jay Collins, the appellee herein. Collins was from the neighborhood and was known to both of the Barfields. After the male had walked by, Mrs. Barfield's daughter went back into the house; but Mrs. Barfield herself remained at the front door.

A short time later, while Mrs. Barfield was standing in the doorway of her home, the mentioned male came back toward her residence. This time, according to Mrs. Barfield, the man stopped in front, drew from under his coat what appeared to be a rifle or shotgun, and aimed the weapon at her. When Mrs. Barfield started to retreat from the doorway, she heard ...


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