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COMMONWEALTH v. ROBINSON (05/23/73)

decided: May 23, 1973.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
ROBINSON, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Allegheny County, April T., 1967, No. 91, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. John Robinson.

COUNSEL

H. David Rothman, for appellant.

Carol Mary Los, Assistant District Attorney, and Robert W. Duggan, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Nix. Mr. Justice Manderino concurs in the result.

Author: Nix

[ 452 Pa. Page 318]

On June 13, 1967, the appellant John Robinson pled guilty to murder generally in connection with the shooting death of his father. After a degree of guilt hearing, he was found guilty of second degree murder and sentenced to from six to twelve years imprisonment. No post-trial motions or direct appeal was filed.

On January 21, 1970 the appellant filed a petition pursuant to the Post Conviction Hearing Act*fn1 which was denied after a counseled hearing on December 14, 1971. This appeal follows.

The appellant raises four issues: (1) That he was denied his right to appeal; (2) That his guilty plea was not knowingly and intelligently entered; (3) That there was no factual basis to support a verdict of second degree

[ 452 Pa. Page 319]

    murder; and (4) That he did not receive effective assistance of counsel.

We note at the outset that even if the appellant is correct in his contention that he has not made a knowing and intelligent waiver of his right to appeal, he has suffered no prejudice, because we are considering at this juncture all of the issues which he could have raised on direct appeal. As we have noted on several occasions: "A plea of guilty to murder generally is sufficient of itself to sustain a conviction of murder in the second degree. Commonwealth ex rel. Bostic v. Cavell, 424 Pa. 573, 576, 227 A.2d 662, 664 (1967). Thus the only issues which would have been available for appellant to challenge on direct review would have been the validity of the plea and the lawfulness of the sentence. But since both these claims are cognizable in a collateral proceeding, the denial of the right to appellate review, even if true, would not be prejudicial." Commonwealth v. Stokes, 426 Pa. 265, 267-68, 232 A.2d 193 (1967). (Citation omitted.) (Footnote omitted.) See also, Commonwealth v. Bell, 449 Pa. 1, 295 A.2d 307 (1972); Commonwealth v. Zanine, 444 Pa. 361, 282 A.2d 367 (1971); Commonwealth v. Armstead, 430 Pa. 428, 243 A.2d 443 (1968); Commonwealth ex rel. Davis v. Russell, 422 Pa. 223, 220 A.2d 858 (1966). Since the appellant has not challenged the lawfulness of his sentence, we will proceed to consider the validity of his plea.

The appellant first challenges his guilty plea as not knowingly and intelligently entered. The record of the arraignment in ths case*fn2 shows that the trial judge explained the plea procedure in murder cases to the ...


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