Allan M. Tabas, Philadelphia, for appellant.
F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, Dist. Atty., Steven H. Goldblatt, Asst. Dist. Atty., Chief, Appeals Div., Philadelphia, for appellee.
Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Pomeroy, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which Manderino, J., joins.
Appellant Floyd Rodgers entered a plea of guilty to a charge of voluntary manslaughter on March 19,
, pursuant to a plea bargain. On this appeal*fn1 he challenges the validity of his guilty plea, alleging that it was involuntarily entered because of deficiencies in the colloquy which took place before his plea was accepted by the trial court.*fn2 If the colloquy does not reflect a voluntary plea, we are bound by federal and state law to reverse the conviction and remand for a new trial.*fn3 We find the colloquy in this case to be deficient in one crucial aspect, vacate the judgment of sentence and remand for a new trial.
The constitutional requirement for a valid guilty plea is that the record of the guilty plea hearing contain an affirmative showing that the defendant understands "what the plea connotes and . . . its consequences."*fn4 In particular cases, this understanding has been held to include: (1) an understanding what specific acts the defendant is admitting and whether they make out the crime charged;*fn5 (2) an understanding of the rights given up by choosing not to put the state to its
proof;*fn6 and (3) an understanding of the nature and extent of punishment which may be imposed for the crime which the defendant admits committing.*fn7 Obviously, this is not an all inclusive list, because the indicia of a voluntary, knowing and intelligent plea will vary with the circumstances of the individual case.
Appellant claims that he acted in self-defense when he shot the decedent. The facts are: Appellant, his sister and two male friends were walking on a public street in Philadelphia when the decedent came up to appellant and said: "We got your cousin Friday night, I am going to get you next." Appellant gave the following statement to the police:
"I said OK and [decedent] came walking towards me and had his left hand on his back pocket. I could see the handle of a knife sticking out of his back pocket. When he got about arms length from me he took a knife from his back pocket and he swung at me two times, I moved to the side. We were face to face, I had a 25 automatic in my left front pants pocket and ...