August 8, 1967.
Criminal law — Post-conviction hearing — Petition — Request for counsel — Post Conviction Hearing Act.
In a petition filed under the Post Conviction Hearing Act of 1966, P. L. (1965) 1580, in which petitioner requests counsel and alleges that he is without means to procure counsel the court must act in accordance with § 12 of the Act which provides "If appointment of counsel is so requested, the court shall appoint counsel if satisfied that the petitioner has no means to procure counsel."
Before BELL, C. J., MUSMANNO, JONES, COHEN, EAGEN, O'BRIEN and ROBERTS, JJ.
Appeal, No. 435, Jan. T., 1967, petition for allocatur, from order of Superior Court, Oct. T., 1966, No. 804, affirming order of Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County, March T., 1963, Nos. 383-385, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Lorenzo Richardson. Allocatur granted, order of Superior Court reversed and order of court below vacated; reargument refused October 3, 1967.
Same case in Superior Court: 209 Pa. Super. 740.
Petition under Post Conviction Hearing Act.
Petition dismissed after hearing before WATERS, J. Petitioner appealed to Superior Court which affirmed order. Defendant petitioned Supreme Court for an allocatur.
Lorenzo Richardson, petitioner, in propria persona.
Welsh S. White and Alan J. Davis, Assistant District Attorneys, and Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, respondent.
On May 17, 1966 Lorenzo Richardson filed a petition under the Post Conviction Hearing Act in the Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County. Richardson requested the appointment of counsel to represent him in the proceeding, but his request was not granted even though the court of quarter sessions did not find that he had means to procure his own counsel. Thereafter, Richardson's petition was dismissed on the merits by that court and the Superior Court affirmed. Commonwealth v. Richardson, 209 Pa. Super. 740 (Case No. 1), 226 A.2d 211 (1967) (per curiam). This is a petition for allowance of appeal from the Superior Court's order.
For the reasons outlined in our opinion in Commonwealth v. Hoffman (No. 1), 426 Pa. 226, 232 A.2d 623 (per curiam), we reverse the order of the Superior Court, vacate the order of the court of quarter sessions and remand the record to that court for appointment of counsel in compliance with § 12 of the Post Conviction Hearing Act of 1966, P. L. (1965) 1580, § 12, 19 P. S. § 1180-12 (Supp. 1966). As was the case in Hoffman, we do not reach the merits of the instant petition or the question of whether Richardson is entitled to an evidentiary hearing on his post-conviction petition.
The petition for allocatur is granted. The order of the Superior Court is reversed. The order of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County is vacated and the record remanded to that court with instructions to appoint counsel to represent Lorenzo Richardson in a post-conviction proceeding at which his eligibility for an evidentiary hearing and/or other relief may be determined.