264 A.2d 407 (Pa.Super. 1970), Commonwealth v. Keeler

Citation:264 A.2d 407, 216 Pa.Super. 193
Party Name:COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania v. Norman KEELER, Appellant.
Case Date:March 19, 1970
Court:Superior Court of Pennsylvania

Page 407

264 A.2d 407 (Pa.Super. 1970)

216 Pa.Super. 193

COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania


Norman KEELER, Appellant.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania.

March 19, 1970.

Page 408

[216 Pa.Super. 194] Michael J. Wherry, Grove City, for appellant.

R. Banks, Asst. Dist. Atty., Edward M. Bell, Dist. Atty., Mercer, for appellee.


[216 Pa.Super. 194] HOFFMAN, Judge.

Appellant was charged with possession of a firearm in violation of the Uniform Firearms Act, Act of June 24, 1939, P.L. 872, § 628, as amended, 18 P.S. § 4628. After several proceedings relative to the case, appellant was removed from the Mercer County jail and transferred, first to the Crawford County jail, then to the Western Diagnostic and Classification Clinic in Allegheny County. Late in the evening before trial, he was returned to the Mercer County jail. He was clothed, at the time, in the uniform supplied by the Allegheny County Clinic. At 11:00 a.m. the next morning, the public defender was notified that appellant was to be ready for trial. The defender attempted to secure civilian clothes for appellant. They also contacted appellant's sister to bring such clothes if available. When such clothes failed to arrive, the public defender moved to continue the case. The court overruled the motion.

At 1:55 p.m., the court, over counsel's objections, ordered appellant into the courtroom in front of the [216 Pa.Super. 195] jury panel. He sat there while the jury was selected. At 2:30 p.m., or shortly thereafter, civilian clothes arrived. Appellant thereupon changed his attire. He moved that the jury be disqualified before they were sworn. The motion was overruled. Appellant was convicted, and from judgment of sentence he brings this appeal.

A photograph was taken of appellant in the attire he was required to wear before the jury. It is the kind of attire that, with the advent of movies and television, is easily recognized by the general public as the clothes commonly worn by prisoners. Since appellant objected to being presented in such a manner, we hold that the question is properly before this

Page 409

Court whether reversible error was committed by the trial court. 1

Under our system of criminal justice, defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The burden is on the state to...

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