Com. ex rel. Wilson v. Banmiller

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtBefore CHARLES ALVIN JONES; BELL
Citation143 A.2d 657,393 Pa. 530
PartiesCOMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania ex rel. John WILSON v. William J. BANMILLER, Warden, Eastern State Penitentiary. Appeal of John WILSON.
Decision Date30 June 1958

Page 657

143 A.2d 657
393 Pa. 530
COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania ex rel. John WILSON
v.
William J. BANMILLER, Warden, Eastern State Penitentiary.
Appeal of John WILSON.
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
June 30, 1958.

[393 Pa. 531]

Page 658

John Wilson, Philadelphia, in pro. per.

Victor H. Blanc, Dist. Atty., Juanita Kidd Stout, Charles L. Durham, Asst. Dist. Attys., James N. Lafferty, First Asst. Dist. Atty., Philadelphia, for appellee.

Before CHARLES ALVIN JONES, C. J., and BELL, MUSMANNO, ARNOLD, BENJAMIN R. JONES and COHEN, JJ.

BELL, Justice.

Wilson appeals from an Order of the Court of Common Pleas No. 1 of Philadelphia County dismissing his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. His petition alleged trial errors, insufficiency of evidence, inefficiency of Court appointed counsel, and denial of due process.

Wilson was indicted on December 2, 1953, charged with murder and voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. He was tried only on the bill charging him with manslaughter. He waived in writing a jury trial and elected to be tried by the Court. The Court, after hearing all the testimony, found him guilty of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced him to a term of not less than two nor more than four years in the Eastern State [393 Pa. 532] Penitentiary. Wilson did not request a new trial or take an appeal from the judgment of the Court.

Wilson, in this petition, contends, as he did at the trial, that he acted in self-defense. It is obvious that this was a jury question, and the evidence was amply sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant was guilty of voluntary manslaughter.

A writ of habeas corpus is not a substitute for an appeal or a writ of error or for a motion for a new trial; nor is it available for the correction of trial errors: Commonwealth ex rel. Kennedy v. Mingle, 388 Pa. 54, 130 A.2d 161; Commonwealth ex. rel. Matthews v. Day, 381 Pa. 617, 114 A.2d 122; Commonwealth ex. rel. Marelia v. Burke, 366 Pa. 124, 126, 75 A.2d 593; see, also, Commonwealth ex. rel. Milewski v. Ashe, 362 Pa. 48, 66 A.2d 281.

In Commonwealth ex. rel. Marelia v. Burke, 366 Pa. 124, at pages 126-127, 75 A.2d 593, at page 594, supra, the Court said:

'The extraordinary remedy of habeas corpus which can be successfully invoked only in exception cases, is not a substitute for a motion for new trial or for an appeal or for a writ of error, [citing numerous cases] * * *. It is well settled that a relator cannot obtain relief by habeas corpus for errors alleged to have occurred in the course of his trial. [Citing numerous cases] * * * the question of the sufficiency or insufficiency of the evidence to sustain a conviction cannot be raised by habeas corpus. [Citing numerous cases.]'

However, the aforesaid principles which had been considered well settled are now subject to this qualification: Habeas corpus

Page 659

will be granted if the defendant was for any reason deprived of due process. Brown v. Allen, 344 U.S. 443, 73 S.Ct. 397, 427, 97 L.Ed. 469 1; Commonwealth ex rel. Sleighter [393 Pa. 533] v. Banmiller, 392 Pa. 133, 139 A.2d 918.

Wilson contends the writ should be granted because of the inefficiency of his counsel. The fact that a criminal, after conviction, is of the opinion that the trial was not properly or wisely conducted by his counsel, constitutes no ground for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus unless counsel's conduct was so prejudicial as to deprive defendant of a fair trial or otherwise deprive him of due process. Cf. Brown v. Allen, 344 U.S. 443, 73 S.Ct. 397, 97 L.Ed. 469, supra; Commonwealth...

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36 practice notes
  • Com. ex rel. Lockhart v. Myers
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • November 16, 1960
    ...is not reversible error even in capital cases unless the defendant was thereby prejudiced. Commonwealth ex rel. Wilson v. Banmiller, 393 Pa. 530, 143 A.2d 657. Finally, appellant complains because he was not afforded an opportunity to be present in person for a hearing before the court belo......
  • Com. v. Kirkland
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • November 27, 1963
    ...Act of June 11, 1935, P.L. 319, 19 P.S. § 786; Commonwealth v. Petrillo, 340 Pa. 33, 16 A.2d 50; Commonwealth ex rel. Wilson v. Banmiller, 393 Pa. 530, 533, 143 A.2d 657; Commonwealth v. Cole, 384 Pa. 40, 119 A.2d 253; Hallinger v. Davis, 146 U.S. 314, 13 S.Ct. 105, 36 L.Ed. 986; Palko v. C......
  • Com. ex rel Johnson v. Rundle
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • July 2, 1963
    ...393 Pa. 535, 143 A.2d 660; Commonwealth ex rel. Ashmon v. Banmiller, 391 Pa. 141, 137 A.2d 236; Commonwealth ex rel. Wilson v. Banmiller, 393 Pa. 530, 143 A.2d 657, and cases cited therein. However, we have also judiciously held that if the record shows a trial or sentence which was so fund......
  • Com. ex rel Johnson v. Rundle
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • July 2, 1963
    ...393 Pa. 535, 143 A.2d 660; Commonwealth ex rel. Ashmon v. Banmiller, 391 Pa. 141, 137 A.2d 236; Commonwealth ex rel. Wilson v. Banmiller, 393 Pa. 530, 143 A.2d 657, and cases cited therein. However, we have also judiciously held that if the record shows a trial or sentence which was so fund......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
36 cases
  • Com. ex rel. Lockhart v. Myers
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • November 16, 1960
    ...is not reversible error even in capital cases unless the defendant was thereby prejudiced. Commonwealth ex rel. Wilson v. Banmiller, 393 Pa. 530, 143 A.2d 657. Finally, appellant complains because he was not afforded an opportunity to be present in person for a hearing before the court belo......
  • Com. v. Kirkland
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • November 27, 1963
    ...Act of June 11, 1935, P.L. 319, 19 P.S. § 786; Commonwealth v. Petrillo, 340 Pa. 33, 16 A.2d 50; Commonwealth ex rel. Wilson v. Banmiller, 393 Pa. 530, 533, 143 A.2d 657; Commonwealth v. Cole, 384 Pa. 40, 119 A.2d 253; Hallinger v. Davis, 146 U.S. 314, 13 S.Ct. 105, 36 L.Ed. 986; Palko v. C......
  • Com. ex rel Johnson v. Rundle
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • July 2, 1963
    ...393 Pa. 535, 143 A.2d 660; Commonwealth ex rel. Ashmon v. Banmiller, 391 Pa. 141, 137 A.2d 236; Commonwealth ex rel. Wilson v. Banmiller, 393 Pa. 530, 143 A.2d 657, and cases cited therein. However, we have also judiciously held that if the record shows a trial or sentence which was so fund......
  • Com. ex rel Johnson v. Rundle
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • July 2, 1963
    ...393 Pa. 535, 143 A.2d 660; Commonwealth ex rel. Ashmon v. Banmiller, 391 Pa. 141, 137 A.2d 236; Commonwealth ex rel. Wilson v. Banmiller, 393 Pa. 530, 143 A.2d 657, and cases cited therein. However, we have also judiciously held that if the record shows a trial or sentence which was so fund......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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