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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ARTHUR MARVIN (06/29/77)

SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: June 29, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ARTHUR MARVIN, JR., APPELLANT

Appeal from Judgment of Sentences of the Court of Common Pleas of Susquehanna County, Nos. 66 & 67 April, 1975.

COUNSEL

Ulric J. McHale, Forest City, for appellant.

Edward P. Little, Jr., District Attorney, Montrose, submitted a brief for appellee.

Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ. Jacobs, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case. Watkins, President Judge, and Price, J., concur in the result.

Author: Spaeth

[ 248 Pa. Super. Page 453]

Appellant was indicted at No. 66 April Term 1975 for burglary, theft, and receiving stolen property, and at No. 67 April Term 1975 for burglary, theft and receiving stolen property. The indictments arose out of separate incidents but were consolidated for trial. On May 2, 1975, appellant pleaded not guilty to all charges, but on June 23 he withdrew his pleas and pleaded guilty on indictment No. 66 to the reduced charge of aiding theft and on indictment No. 67 to the reduced charge of aiding burglary. On September 30 sentence was imposed on each indictment. Appellant contends that the colloquy preceding his pleas was inadequate, and that the sentences were excessive and confusing.

In Commonwealth v. Roberts, 237 Pa. Super. 336, 352 A.2d 140 (1975), we held that before a guilty plea could be attacked on direct appeal the defendant must file in the lower court a petition to withdraw the plea. However, in

[ 248 Pa. Super. Page 454]

Do you understand that the offenses that you are charged with would be your aiding in these crimes and would make this a felony of the third degree and the Court could then sentence you to pay a fine of $15,000 or sentence you to a term of imprisonment of not more than seven years. N.T. Hearing 6/23/75 at 4-5 (emphasis added).

This was an erroneous explanation, both of burglary and of theft. With respect to burglary, the Crimes Code provides:

A person is guilty of burglary if he enters a building or occupied structure . . . with intent to commit a crime therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public . . .

Act of Dec. 6, 1972, P.L. 1482, No. 334, § 1, 18 Pa.C.S. § 3502(a).

With respect to theft, the Crimes Code provides:

A person is guilty of theft if he unlawfully takes, or exercises unlawful control over, movable property of another with intent to deprive him thereof.

Id., 18 C.P.S. § 3921(a).

In Commonwealth v. Ingram, 455 Pa. 198, 316 A.2d 77 (1974), our Supreme Court held:

[T]o demonstrate a defendant's understanding of the charge, the record must disclose that the elements of the crime or crimes charged were outlined in understandable terms.

Id. 455 Pa. at 203-04, 316 A.2d at 80.

Since here this was not done, appellant's challenge to the validity of his guilty pleas must be sustained. Given this disposition, we do not reach appellant's contentions regarding his sentences.

The judgments of sentence are vacated and the record is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


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