Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Aug. T., 1972, No. 1243, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Clinton J. Coleman.
Edward J. O'Halloran, with him O'Halloran, Stack & Smith, P. C., for appellant.
William P. Boland, Assistant District Attorney, with him David Richman, Assistant District Attorney, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Pomeroy.
Appellant, Clinton Coleman, was indicted for the murder of Claude Thomas, the three-year-old son of a
woman with whom Coleman had recently taken up residence. Before his trial Coleman filed a motion to suppress various statements which he had given to the police at the time of and subsequent to his arrest. The motion to suppress was denied, and in due course, Coleman was tried before a judge sitting without a jury and found guilty of voluntary manslaughter. In a colloquy between Coleman, his counsel, and the trial judge following the announcement of the verdict, appellant indicated that he did not wish to file any post-verdict motions. Sentencing was deferred pending a pre-sentence investigation and psychiatric examination. Six weeks later, Coleman was sentenced to not less than three-and-a-half nor more than ten years imprisonment in a state correctional institution with psychiatric treatment facilities. Coleman has appealed from this judgment of sentence.
Appellant contends that the lower court erred in denying his suppression motion, and also challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain his conviction. We will not pass on these contentions, for we are of the opinion that appellant has waived his right to have them reviewed. As a general rule, issues not raised in support of post-verdict motions will not be considered on appeal, Commonwealth v. Reid, 458 Pa. 357, 326 A.2d 267 (1974); Commonwealth v. Bittner, 441 Pa. 216, 221, 272 A.2d 484 (1971), and appellant has voluntarily relinquished his opportunity to file such motions.
Post-verdict motions serve the dual function of allowing the trial court to rectify errors which may have been committed at trial, and of framing and clarifying the issues to be considered should there be an appeal. Because such motions are a critical step in the post-conviction review process, we will scrutinize closely any waiver of the right to file them in order to ensure that the defendant has acted voluntarily and with a full
understanding of his rights. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Littlejohn, 433 Pa. 336, 250 A.2d 811 (1969); Commonwealth ex rel. Robinson v. Myers, 427 Pa. 104, 233 A.2d 220 (1967); Commonwealth ex rel. Fink v. Rundle, 423 Pa. 133, 222 A.2d 717 (1966). On the other hand, as we said in Commonwealth v. Wallace, 427 Pa. 110, 113, 233 A.2d 218, 220 (1967), "a defendant, who deliberately and knowingly chooses to bypass the orderly state procedures afforded one convicted of a crime for challenging his conviction, is bound by the consequences of that decision." See also Commonwealth v. Bolognese, 428 Pa. 405, 239 ...