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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JOSEPH B. EDDIS (10/06/77)

SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: October 6, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JOSEPH B. EDDIS, APPELLANT

NO. 1446 OCTOBER TERM, 1976, Appeal from the Judgment of sentence the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Trial Div., Crim. Sec. at Nos. 2093 and 2095 November Term, 1975.

COUNSEL

John W. Packel, Assistant Public Defender, and Benjamin Lerner, Defender, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Steven H. Goldblatt and Deborah E. Glass, Assistant District Attorneys, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Van Der Voort

[ 250 Pa. Super. Page 345]

Appellant Joseph B. Eddis was arrested on October 21, 1975, charged with rape, burglary, simple assault, and aggravated assault. Appellant appeared for trial on February 5, 1976, at which time the burglary charge was nolle prossed. A colloquy was conducted, appellant pleaded guilty to rape and aggravated assault, and the lower court accepted the pleas and placed appellant on probation for five years. Appellant filed a petition to withdraw his guilty plea,*fn1 which was denied on March 16, 1976. Appeal was then taken to our court.

[ 250 Pa. Super. Page 346]

Appellant argues that his guilty plea was not knowingly and intelligently entered because the lower court neglected to advise him of the elements of the crimes with which he was charged.*fn2 We agree. The law in this Commonwealth has been that a defendant must be advised of the nature and elements of the charges against him. Commonwealth v. Minor, 467 Pa. 230, 356 A.2d 346 (1976); Commonwealth Page 346} v. Dixon, 237 Pa. Super. 525, 352 A.2d 101 (1975); Commonwealth v. Kearse, 233 Pa. Super. 489, 334 A.2d 720 (1975). In the case before us, appellant was asked the following question: "You understand that you are in court today for trial on the charges of rape, burglary, simple assault, and aggravated assault; do you understand that?" Appellant indicated that he understood, and no mention was made at all of the elements of those crimes. This single question merely naming the crimes was clearly insufficient and requires a reversal.

Reversed and remanded for new trial.


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