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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. HARRY PHILLIPS (06/29/77)

decided: June 29, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
HARRY PHILLIPS, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order Denying Relief under the Post Conviction Hearing Act by the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Clearfield County, at CRA Nos. 617, 692, 813/815 of 1974.

COUNSEL

John Sughrue, Public Defender, Clearfield, for appellant.

Timothy E. Durant, Assistant District Attorney, and Thomas F. Morgan, District Attorney, Clearfield, for appellee.

Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ.

Author: Van Der Voort

[ 248 Pa. Super. Page 402]

This appeal arises following the dismissal, after hearing of appellant's petition for post-conviction relief under the Post Conviction Hearing Act (PCHA). Several claims of error are raised on this appeal.

The record shows that appellant was arrested on July 16, 1974 on a burglary charge and incarcerated in the Clearfield County Jail. Subsequently, he escaped from that facility. On September 9, 1974, he was captured and charged with escape. According to testimony adduced at the PCHA hearing,

[ 248 Pa. Super. Page 403]

    appellant then, represented by counsel, negotiated a plea bargain wherein he agreed to plead guilty to burglary and escape charges in return for a recommendation by the District Attorney's office for a specified sentence. He apparently signed a written guilty plea. When appellant was called before the Court on October 30, 1974, he informed the Court that he wished to withdraw the guilty plea. His request was granted by the Court.

On December 10, 1974, appellant again appeared before the Court for a guilty plea, after further negotiations, by a second defense counsel, resulted in a plea bargain acceptable to the appellant. On that date appellant pleaded guilty to escape, burglary, and criminal trespass charges. He was sentenced to three and a half (3 1/2) to seven (7) years on the escape charge, one (1) to two (2) years on the burglary charges and six (6) to twelve (12) months on the criminal trespass charge, all sentences to be served concurrently. No timely direct appeal was filed from that sentence. Subsequently on June 2, 1975, appellant petitioned the Court for a reconsideration of the sentences imposed. He was granted a hearing on his request. His grounds for such request, as set forth in his petition and raised orally at the hearing were allegations that:

(1) The Commonwealth had reneged on its original plea bargain agreement under which a lesser sentence recommendation was proposed; and

(2) Appellant felt threatened with a very harsh sentence as a result of discussions with jail officials unless he pleaded guilty.

The Court, after consideration, denied the petition for reconsideration of sentence. No timely appeal ...


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