decided: October 9, 1970.
Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Dec. T., 1963, Nos. 614 and 615, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Charles Franklin Cobb.
R. Barclay Surrick, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.
Ralph B. D'Iorio and J. Harold Hughes, Assistant District Attorneys, William R. Toal, First Assistant District Attorney, and Stephen J. McEwen, Jr., District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts.
[ 440 Pa. Page 159]
In 1964 appellant pleaded guilty to murder. Following a degree of guilt hearing, he was found guilty of second degree murder and was sentenced to serve from three to twelve years. No appeal was taken. In 1969 appellant filed a petition pursuant to the Post Conviction Hearing Act, alleging that he was denied his right to appeal and that his plea was not knowingly and intelligently entered. Counsel was appointed and a hearing held. Relief was granted on appellant's appeal claim, the Commonwealth conceding that the right to appeal had been denied. The hearing court, however, found that appellant's plea was knowingly and intelligently entered and therefore refused his claim for a new trial. Appellant prosecuted this appeal and we affirm.
At the PCHA hearing appellant testified on direct examination that he entered his plea of guilty because of certain incriminating statements which he had given to the police.*fn1 Counsel argued at the hearing that these
[ 440 Pa. Page 160]
statements were unconstitutionally obtained, and that the resulting plea was accordingly improper. The hearing court disagreed, however, finding that the statements were properly obtained.*fn2 Counsel does not now press this finding as error. Rather, counsel now claims that appellant's plea was coerced by trial counsel's advice that it would "cost thousands" if appellant wished to go to trial rather than plead.
While there is evidence indicating that counsel gave such advice,*fn3 appellant himself never mentioned it at the PCHA hearing, nor did he ever assign this advice as a factor influencing his plea. We see no reason therefore to disbelieve his uncontradicted testimony that he pleaded guilty because he gave the police incriminating statements, and not in any way because he lacked the funds for a trial. Accordingly, there is nothing on the record to indicate that appellant entered his plea under any improper compulsion.
[ 440 Pa. Page 161]
The hearing court found that appellant's plea was knowingly and intelligently entered. Appellant has presented no evidence to indicate that this finding was error. The order of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Delaware County is affirmed.