Vaughan v. Com.

Decision Date15 February 1974
Citation505 S.W.2d 768
PartiesJames M. VAUGHAN, Jr., Appellant, v. COMMONWEALTH of Kentucky, Appellee.
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court — District of Kentucky

William C. Oldfield, Cobb, Combs, Beasley & Oldfield, Covington, for appellant.

Ed W. Hancock, Atty. Gen., Kenneth A. Howe, Asst. Deputy Atty. Gen ., James M. Ringo, Asst. Atty. Gen., Frankfort, for appellee.

CULLEN, Commissioner.

James M. Vaughan, Jr., appeals from an order, entered after an evidentiary hearing was held, denying his motion under RCr 11.42 to set aside a judgment of April 6, 1972, which sentenced him to a term of five years in the penitentiary and a fine of $2,500 pursuant to a jury verdict (returned on March 31, 1972) finding him guilty of possession for sale of a dangerous drug (marijuana). Vaughan's principal contention is that he was denied effective assistance of counsel.

The alleged offense was committed on April 2, 1971. Vaughan was indicted on May 21, 1971. The case originally was set for trial for November 15, 1971, but the trial date was postponed to an indefinite time. On March 23, 1972, the case was ordered set for trial on March 31, 1972, and notice of the order was served on Vaughan on March 23. Vaughan promptly contacted an attorney in Paintsville, Kentucky, whom he previously had employed to represent him and with whom he had discussed the case. That attorney, however, told Vaughan that other commitments would prevent him from representing Vaughan at the scheduled trial, and he suggested that Vaughan make arrangements with attorney Tom Burns, who was representing Glenn Ridenour, one of two other defendants jointly indicted with Vaughan. The evidence is in conflict as to whether Vaughan did get in touch with Burns, but in any event no arrangement was made for Burns to represent Vaughan, and Burns testified that he had told Vaughan that he could not represent him because of a conflict of interest.

On the day of the trial Vaughan appeared in court without counsel. There was some discussion with the judge as to the circumstances of Vaughan's lack of counsel, following which the judge on his own motion appointed, to represent Vaughan, attorney Terry Amderson, who was representing the third defendant, Richard Caslin. Anderson told the judge, in answer to the latter's inquiry, that he knew of no reason why he could not represent Vaughan as well as Caslin, and he did not ask for a continuance. He conferred with Vaughan for only fifteen minutes before the trial began.

Vaughan, at the time of the alleged offense, was a 22-year-old college student at Morehead State University. The circumstances of the alleged offense were that on April 2, 1971, police officers raided a house near Morehead in which they found Ridenour and Caslin . The latter had marijuana in his possession. The officers found in Caslin's suitcase a rent receipt for rental of the house, made out to Vaughan as lessee. Acting under a warrant that authorized a search of the house, the officers searched an attached or adjoining wellhouse and found therein a large quantity of marijuana and other drugs. The evidence for the prosecution on the trial of the case did not show that Vaughan had ever been in the house, but Vaughan in testifying in his own behalf admitted that he had rented the house for occasional week-end accommodations when the weather was such as to prevent his returning to...

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2 cases
  • Ivey v. Com.
    • United States
    • Kentucky Court of Appeals
    • September 2, 1983
    ..."[a]ny inconsistent holdings such as those expressed in Wahl v. Commonwealth, Ky., 396 S.W.2d 774 (1965), and Vaughan v. Commonwealth, Ky., 505 S.W.2d 768 (1974)." Because Henderson, Wahl, and Vaughan all involved appointed counsel, Henderson cannot be considered as direct authority for eli......
  • Henderson v. Com.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court — District of Kentucky
    • July 6, 1982
    ...argument, we have been urged to reconsider the holdings of Wahl v. Commonwealth, Ky., 396 S.W.2d 774 (1965) and Vaughan v. Commonwealth, Ky., 505 S.W.2d 768 (1974). In both Wahl and Vaughan, we held the test required to show ineffective assistance of counsel was "that the circumstances of t......

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