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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. STEVEN TURNER (07/17/89)

submitted: July 17, 1989.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
STEVEN TURNER, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence docketed October 22, 1987 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division, at No. 8607-1329-1345.

COUNSEL

Norris E. Gelman, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Donna G. Zucker, Asst. Dist. Atty., Philadelphia, for Com.

Tamilia, Johnson and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Hoffman

[ 387 Pa. Super. Page 219]

This is an appeal from a judgment of sentence for robbery, criminal conspiracy, and possession of a prohibited offensive weapon. Appellant contends that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to (1) move to suppress appellant's confession; (2) object to a comment made by the prosecutor during his summation; and (3) move for a new jury when co-defendant was granted a severance. Appellant also contends that his post trial counsel was ineffective for failing to preserve these issues for appeal.*fn1 For the reasons that follow we disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of sentence.

Appellant was arrested on October 14, 1985 pursuant to a warrant based upon information collected during an investigation of a series of bar robberies. Robbery victims had positively identified appellant and an accomplice had named appellant as a participant in several robberies. Appellant

[ 387 Pa. Super. Page 220]

    was interviewed by a police detective and, after waiving his rights, gave an oral statement in which he admitted committing several of the robberies. The detective prepared a list of robberies to which appellant had confessed and, on October 17, 1985, he reviewed this list with appellant. Subsequently, at appellant's request, on October 22, 1985, a formal written statement of confession was taken. Prior to trial, appellant moved to suppress this statement. On January 28, 1987, the trial court denied the motion and the case went to trial. Appellant's trial began as a joint trial with co-defendant Joseph Bowie. After jury selection was completed, but prior to the presentation of evidence, appellant's trial was severed from his co-defendant. On January 29, 1987, the jury found appellant guilty of three counts of robbery, and single counts of criminal conspiracy and possession of a prohibited offensive weapon. New counsel filed post verdict motions, which were denied. On October 22, 1987, the trial court sentenced appellant to a total of thirty-five to seventy years imprisonment. Present counsel was appointed to replace post trial motions counsel and this timely appeal ensued.

Appellant's contentions are based upon prior counsels' alleged ineffectiveness. When confronted with a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, a reviewing court must consider three things:

There are three elements to a valid claim of ineffective assistance. We inquire first whether the underlying claim is of arguable merit; that is, whether the disputed action or omission by counsel was of questionable legal soundness. If so, we ask whether counsel had any reasonable basis for the questionable action or omission which was designed to effectuate his client's interest. If he did, our inquiry ends. If not, the appellant will be granted relief if he also demonstrates that counsel's improper course of conduct worked to his prejudice, i.e., had an adverse effect upon the outcome of the proceedings. Commonwealth v. Pierce, 515 Pa. 153, 527 A.2d 973 (1987); Commonwealth v. Sullivan, 472 Pa. 129, 371

[ 387 Pa. Super. Page 221]

A.2d 468 (1977); Commonwealth ex rel. Washington v. Maroney, 427 Pa. 599, ...


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