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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. HENRY B. MILLER (11/24/76)

decided: November 24, 1976.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
HENRY B. MILLER, APPELLANT



COUNSEL

John H. Chronister, York, for appellant.

Morrison B. Williams, Asst. Dist. Atty., D. L. Reihart, Dist. Atty., York, for appellee.

Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ.

Author: Manderino

[ 469 Pa. Page 371]

OPINION

Appellant, Henry B. Miller, entered a plea of guilty to an indictment charging him with the May 4, 1973, murder

[ 469 Pa. Page 372]

    of his mother, Mariella Miller. Following a degree of guilt hearing at which both the prosecution and appellant presented testimony, a court en banc set the degree of guilt at murder in the first degree. Appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment and this appeal followed.

Appellant's sole contention on this appeal is that the trial court erred in finding appellant guilty of murder in the first degree in view of the psychiatric testimony submitted at the degree of guilt hearing. We do not, however, reach the merits of the issue raised since no post-verdict motions were filed in the trial court, and the issue was never considered in that court. In Commonwealth v. Robinson, 442 Pa. 512, 515, n. 2, 276 A.2d 537, 539 (1971), we said:

"We have concluded that the preferable practice, since it may narrow the issues on appeal or perhaps obviate an appeal entirely, is to file post trial motions in any first degree case where error is asserted, whether the conviction follows a full trial or only a degree of guilt hearing held after a plea of guilty."

In numerous cases we have enunciated and applied the rule that issues not raised in post-verdict motions are deemed waived and may not be raised on direct appeal. For example, see Commonwealth v. Agie, 449 Pa. 187, 296 A.2d 741 (1972). This rule applies whether the appeal arises from a conviction following a full trial or only a degree of guilt hearing after a plea of guilty. See, Commonwealth v. Robinson, supra, 442 at 515 n. 2, 276 at 539 n. 2.

On June 8, 1973, this Court codified the aforementioned rules with respect to degree of guilt hearings in Rule 1123(e) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal ...


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