236 A.2d 781 (Pa. 1968), Com. ex rel. Mullins v. Maroney

Citation:236 A.2d 781, 428 Pa. 195
Opinion Judge:Author: Eagen
Party Name:COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania ex rel. Richard MULLINS, Appellant, v. James F. MARONEY, Warden, State Correctional Institution, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Case Date:January 03, 1968
Court:Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
 
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Page 781

236 A.2d 781 (Pa. 1968)

428 Pa. 195

COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania ex rel. Richard MULLINS, Appellant,

v.

James F. MARONEY, Warden, State Correctional Institution,

Pittsburgh, Pa.

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

January 3, 1968.

Page 782

[428 Pa. 196] Edwin L. Klett, Eckert, Seamans & Cherin, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

John Fuller, Asst. Dist. Atty., Vincent J. Pepicelli, Dist. Atty., Paul D. Shaffer, Jr., Asst. Dist. Atty., Meadville, for appellee.

[428 Pa. 195]

Page 783

Before BELL, C.J., and MUSMANNO, JONES, COHEN, EAGEN, O'BRIEN and ROBERTS, JJ.

[428 Pa. 196] OPINION

EAGEN, Justice.

Richard Mullins, accused of being one of three men who staged an armed robbery in the City of Meadville, Crawford County, Pennsylvania, in November 1961, was subsequently arrested for the crime in Marion, Ohio. He unsuccessfully fought extradition and was returned to Pennsylvania on February 1, 1962. He appeared before the court in Crawford County on February 5, 1962, without counsel and plead guilty to a district attorney's bill of indictment charging him with being an accessory before the fact to armed robbery. At the same time he signed a standard printed form on the indictment, which included, inter alia, a waiver of the right to the assistance of counsel and presentment of the charge to the grand jury.

Before accepting the plea, the trial court read the indictment to Mullins and was informed by the latter that he understood the nature of the charges. Mullins was also informed by the court that he had the right to have his case presented to the grand jury and the right to trial at which he could be present with counsel. As to his right to have the assistance of counsel before entering a plea to the indictment, the transcribed record of the proceedings shows the following:

'Questions by [428 Pa. 197] the Court:

Q. Your name is Richard Mullins?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Where do you live?

A. Marion, Ohio.

Q. Do you have an attorney?

A. No, sir, I haven't.

Q. Do you want one?

A. No, I don't.

Q. You have a right to have counsel here before you appear before the court, you understand that, do you?

A. Yes, sir.'

On February 5, 1962, Mullins again appeared without counsel before the court and was sentenced to a term of imprisonment under which he is presently confined. The record is silent as to whether or not on this occasion he was informed of his right to have the assistance of counsel. No appeal was entered from the judgment of sentence.

In 1964, Mulins instituted a habeas corpus action in Crawford County alleging unconstitutional deprivation of counsel at...

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