Com. ex rel. Maisenhelder v. Rundle

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtBefore BELL; EAGEN; MUSMANNO; COHEN
Citation198 A.2d 565,414 Pa. 11
PartiesCOMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania ex rel. Norman S. MAISENHELDER, Appellant, v. Alfred T. RUNDLE, Superintendent, State Correctional Institution Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Decision Date17 March 1964

Page 565

198 A.2d 565
414 Pa. 11
COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania ex rel. Norman S. MAISENHELDER, Appellant,
v.
Alfred T. RUNDLE, Superintendent, State Correctional
Institution Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
March 17, 1964.

[414 Pa. 12] Rober W. Lentz, West Chester, for appellant.

Alfred Delduco, Dist. Atty., West Chester, for appellee.

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

EAGEN, Judge.

On March 28, 1953, the defendant-appellant was arrested for the fatal shooting of his wife. On April 1, 1953, he was given a preliminary hearing before a justice of the peace where he entered a general plea of guilty to the charge of murder. At this hearing, he was not represented by counsel, nor was such representation requested. On May 11, 1953, he was indicted on the charge of murder. On May 25, 1953, the court appointed two lawyers to represent him. On November[414 Pa. 13] 30, 1953, he was

Page 566

arraigned before the court in the presence of his counsel and entered a plea of guilty to the indictment. Testimony on behalf of the Commonwealth and the defendant was presented before a court of two judges on December 17, 18, and 23, 1953. The record of the proceedings at the preliminary hearing before the magistrate was not entered in evidence. The admission of guilt before the magistrate was not used against the defendant at this hearing. On March 8, 1954, the court adjudged him guilty of murder in the first degree and fixed the punishment at life imprisonment. No appeal from the judgment was filed.

On July 11, 1963, the defendant-appellant filed in the court below a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Counsel was appointed by the court to represent him. After hearing, the court denied the writ and dismissed the proceedings. An appeal from this order is now before us. No request was ever filed with the court below asking leave to withdraw the plea of guilty; nor has it or is it now asserted that the defendant was not guilty of the charge.

The single question now presented for determination is: Was the appellant denied constitutional guarantees when he was given a preliminary hearing before the committing magistrate without the benefit of representation by counsel?

It has long been the law in Pennsylvania that a defendant need not be provided with counsel at the time of his arrest or immediately thereafter: Commonwealth v. Agoston, 364 Pa. 464, 72 A.2d 575 (1950); Com. ex rel. Carey v. Montgomery County Prison Keeper, 370 Pa. 604, 88 A.2d 904 (1952), cert. denied, 345 U.S. 930, 73 S.Ct. 793, 97 L.Ed. 1345 (1953). The act of the legislature of March 22, 1907, P.L. 31, as amended by the Act of April 28, 1961, P.L. 145, 19 P.S. § 784, providing for the appointment of counsel for an indigent defendant accused of murder [414 Pa. 14] requires the assignment of counsel to defend such person 'at the trial of the case.'

The present appeal is prompted by the pronouncements of the Supreme Court of the United States in Powell v. State of Alabama, 287 U.S. 45, 53 S.Ct. 55, 77 L.Ed. 158 (1932); Hamilton v. State of Alabama, 368 U.S. 52, 82 S.Ct. 157, 7 L.Ed.2d 114 (1961); White v. State of Maryland, 373 U.S. 59, 83 S.Ct. 1050, 10 L.Ed.2d 193 (1963), and kindred cases. The rulings in these cases must be evaluated in light of the facts therein present.

In Powell, supra, the defendant plead...

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73 practice notes
  • Com. ex rel. Butler v. Rundle
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • January 12, 1965
    ...206 A.2d 288 (1965); Commonwealth ex rel. Herge v. Rundle, 415 Pa. 36, 202 A.2d 24 (1964); Commonwealth ex rel. Maisenhelder v. Rundle, 414 Pa. 11, 198 A.2d 565 (1964); Commonwealth ex rel. Wagner v. Myers, 414 Pa. 35, 198 A.2d 540 (1964); Commonwealth ex rel. Whiting v. Rundle, 414 Pa. 17,......
  • Commonwealth v. Ricker, 41 MAP 2016.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • September 28, 2017
    ...hearing is to protect an individual's right against unlawful arrest and detention." Commonwealth ex rel. Maisenhelder v. Rundle , 414 Pa. 11, 198 A.2d 565, 567 (1964). Additionally, the 170 A.3d 518hearing "seeks to prevent a person from being imprisoned or required to enter bail for a crim......
  • Commonwealth v. McClelland, No. 2 WAP 2018
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • July 21, 2020
    ...hearing is to protect an individual's right against unlawful arrest and detention." Commonwealth ex rel. Maisenhelder v. Rundle , 414 Pa. 11, 198 A.2d 565, 567 (1964). The preliminary hearing "seeks to prevent a person from being imprisoned or required to enter bail for a crime which was ne......
  • Com. v. Hailey
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • January 28, 1977
    ...detention'. Commonwealth v. Mullen, 460 Pa. 336, 341, 333 A.2d 755, 757 (1975). See also, Commonwealth ex rel. Maisenhelder v. Rundle, 414 Pa. 11, 198 A.2d 565 The record clearly indicates that the June 15, 1973, certification hearing in the Juvenile Division dealt with the offenses relatin......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
73 cases
  • Com. ex rel. Butler v. Rundle
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • January 12, 1965
    ...206 A.2d 288 (1965); Commonwealth ex rel. Herge v. Rundle, 415 Pa. 36, 202 A.2d 24 (1964); Commonwealth ex rel. Maisenhelder v. Rundle, 414 Pa. 11, 198 A.2d 565 (1964); Commonwealth ex rel. Wagner v. Myers, 414 Pa. 35, 198 A.2d 540 (1964); Commonwealth ex rel. Whiting v. Rundle, 414 Pa. 17,......
  • Commonwealth v. Ricker, 41 MAP 2016.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • September 28, 2017
    ...hearing is to protect an individual's right against unlawful arrest and detention." Commonwealth ex rel. Maisenhelder v. Rundle , 414 Pa. 11, 198 A.2d 565, 567 (1964). Additionally, the 170 A.3d 518hearing "seeks to prevent a person from being imprisoned or required to enter bail for a crim......
  • Commonwealth v. McClelland, No. 2 WAP 2018
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • July 21, 2020
    ...hearing is to protect an individual's right against unlawful arrest and detention." Commonwealth ex rel. Maisenhelder v. Rundle , 414 Pa. 11, 198 A.2d 565, 567 (1964). The preliminary hearing "seeks to prevent a person from being imprisoned or required to enter bail for a crime which was ne......
  • Com. v. Hailey
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • January 28, 1977
    ...detention'. Commonwealth v. Mullen, 460 Pa. 336, 341, 333 A.2d 755, 757 (1975). See also, Commonwealth ex rel. Maisenhelder v. Rundle, 414 Pa. 11, 198 A.2d 565 The record clearly indicates that the June 15, 1973, certification hearing in the Juvenile Division dealt with the offenses relatin......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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