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COMMONWEALTH v. ZANINE (10/12/71)

SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: October 12, 1971.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
ZANINE, APPELLANT

Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Feb. T., 1969, No. 332, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Louis Francis Zanine.

COUNSEL

Stephen G. Yusem, for appellant.

Steward J. Greenleaf, Assistant District Attorney, William T. Nicholas, Executive Assistant District Attorney, Parker H. Wilson, First Assistant District Attorney, and Milton O. Moss, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy and Barbieri, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts.

Author: Roberts

[ 444 Pa. Page 362]

On September 22, 1969, appellant Louis F. Zanine pleaded guilty to charges of murder generally in connection with the stabbing of his wife. The court determined he had committed murder in the second degree and sentenced him to undergo a term of imprisonment of not less than ten nor more than twenty years.

An appeal was taken on February 18, 1970. Appellant's private counsel filed a petition to withdraw from the case, which was granted on July 17, 1970. New counsel was appointed by the trial court on August 4,

[ 444 Pa. Page 3631970]

. He likewise concluded no colorable basis for an appeal existed, and petitioned for withdrawal. A brief, prepared in conformity with Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87 S. Ct. 1396 (1967) and Commonwealth v. Baker, 429 Pa. 209, 239 A.2d 201 (1968) accompanied his petition and reviewed the record at length. A copy of this brief, as well as the brief of the district attorney and the transcript, have been in appellant's possession for approximately six months.

Under Anders, it is now for our Court to determine whether the case is wholly frivolous.*fn* See also Commonwealth v. Baker, supra. By pleading guilty appellant waived his right to challenge anything but the voluntariness of his plea and the legality of his sentence. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Dillinger, 440 Pa. 336, 269 A.2d 505 (1970); Commonwealth v. Stokes, 426 Pa. 265, 232 A.2d 193 (1967). Appellant's sentence was clearly legal, and thus our principal area of inquiry is the voluntariness of appellant's plea.

[ 444 Pa. Page 364]

An extensive on-the-record colloquy occurred covering twenty pages of the notes of testimony, during which appellant was questioned by his own counsel, the district attorney, and the court concerning his decision to plead guilty. The requirements of due process and Rule 319 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure were more than satisfied. Appellant was informed of the crime for which he was charged, the presumption of innocence, his right to have the Commonwealth prove its case without any testimony on his part, his right to trial by jury, his right of appeal, and the range of penalties. Appellant acknowledged he was aware of these rights but wished to plead guilty. He affirmed that no "deals" concerning leniency had been made and that he knew in any case the court would not be bound by such an arrangement.

In sum, the colloquy was a thorough examination of appellant, apprising him of the exact significance of his actions. He was twenty-nine years old, had attended high school, and was in possession of all his faculties. We accordingly hold this appeal to be wholly frivolous, and the judgment of sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County is affirmed.

Disposition

Judgment of sentence affirmed.


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