544 A.2d 927 (Pa. 1988), Commonwealth v. Turner

Citation:544 A.2d 927, 518 Pa. 491
Opinion Judge:Author: Flaherty
Party Name:COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellee, v. Geary TURNER, Appellant. COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellant, v. Geary TURNER, Appellee.
Case Date:July 27, 1988
Court:Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
 
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Page 927

544 A.2d 927 (Pa. 1988)

518 Pa. 491

COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellee,

v.

Geary TURNER, Appellant.

COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellant,

v.

Geary TURNER, Appellee.

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

July 27, 1988

Submitted April 11, 1988.

[518 Pa. 492] Geary Turner, pro se.

Gaele McLaughlin Barthold, Deputy Dist. Atty., Ronald Eisenberg, Chief, Appeals Div., Laurie Magid, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Before NIX, C.J., and LARSEN, FLAHERTY, McDERMOTT, ZAPPALA and PAPADAKOS, JJ.

OPINION OF THE COURT

FLAHERTY, Justice.

This case requires us to set forth the appropriate procedures for the withdrawal of court-appointed counsel in collateral attacks on criminal convictions. We deem it advisable to establish a procedure which is less cumbersome than that set forth in Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 18 L.Ed.2d 493 (1967) and Commonwealth v. McClendon, 495 Pa. 467, 434 A.2d 1185 (1981), which apply only in direct appeals from convictions.

[518 Pa. 493] The appellant and cross-appellee, Geary Turner, was convicted of second-degree murder in a non-jury trial before Judge (now Madam Justice) Juanita Kidd Stout on September 13, 1974. He was sentenced to serve five to twenty years imprisonment. On direct appeal, his conviction was affirmed unanimously by this Court. Commonwealth v. Turner, 469 Pa. 319, 365 A.2d 847 (1976). He subsequently petitioned for federal habeas corpus relief which was denied by the district court and affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. United States ex rel. Turner v. Cuyler, 595 F.2d 1215 (3d Cir.1979) (per curiam).

In April, 1979, appellant filed a pro se petition for habeas relief in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia. Counsel was appointed, an amended petition under the Post Conviction Hearing Act (PCHA) was filed, and a hearing was scheduled for July 28, 1981. Appellant, who had by then been released on parole, failed to appear at

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the hearing, and the PCHA judge dismissed the petition for want of prosecution. The judge later vacated his dismissal order and held a hearing on November 23, 1981, to determine whether the appellant had been properly notified of the July 28 hearing which he had failed to attend. Following the hearing, the judge found that the appellant had received notice of the July 28 hearing and had no excuse for his...

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