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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. DWIGHT TRIPLETT (12/23/77)

decided: December 23, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
DWIGHT TRIPLETT, APPELLANT



COUNSEL

Martin J. Kilstein, Philadelphia, for appellant.

F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, Dist. Atty., Steven H. Goldblatt, Deputy Dist. Atty. for Law, Michael R. Stiles, Asst. Dist. Atty., Chief, Appeals Div., Adrian L. DiLuzio, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Packel, JJ. Manderino, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Roberts

[ 476 Pa. Page 85]

OPINION OF THE COURT

In this appeal from a denial of relief under the Post Conviction Hearing Act,*fn1 appellant contends that 1) trial counsel was ineffective because he did not adequately advise appellant of his appellate rights before recommending a plea

[ 476 Pa. Page 86]

    of guilty; and 2) the trial court erred in accepting appellant's guilty plea without first conducting an adequate colloquy to explain the nature of the charges and the scope of the rights appellant was surrendering. Because the first contention lacks merit and the second contention has not been properly preserved for our review, we affirm.

On December 24, 1971, a 14 year old male was fatally stabbed outside a restaurant in Philadelphia. On April 7, 1972, while in custody on an unrelated matter, appellant was transported by members of the Philadelphia Police Department to the Police Administration Building for questioning in connection with the fatal stabbing. At the time of the questioning, appellant was sixteen years old. Despite police efforts to contact appellant's mother, neither appellant's parents nor his attorney were present when appellant waived his Miranda rights*fn2 and made an incriminating statement. Appellant was subsequently indicted for murder, aggravated robbery, carrying a concealed deadly weapon and conspiracy. A pre-trial motion to suppress appellant's statement, argued by appellant's trial counsel on September 25, 1972, was denied and the statement ruled admissible.

Appellant's jury trial commenced on September 10, 1973. On the third day of trial, a plea bargain was made and appellant changed his plea to guilty on the murder indictment. The Commonwealth certified that the charge rose no higher than murder of the second degree, made a recommendation that the sentence be no greater than six to fifteen years and run consecutively to an unrelated two to ten year sentence for second degree murder appellant was currently serving, and nol prossed the indictments on the other three charges. After a colloquy on the record, the court accepted the guilty plea and imposed a sentence of not less than six nor more than fifteen years imprisonment in the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, the location requested

[ 476 Pa. Page 87]

    by appellant. Appellant was advised of his appellate rights and waived post-verdict motions. No direct appeal was taken.

On October 2, 1974, appellant filed an uncounseled petition under the Post Conviction Hearing Act which was dismissed without appointment of counsel or a hearing. Upon appeal, this Court remanded the record for a determination of whether appellant's request for appointment of PCHA counsel should be granted and to allow the filing of an amended petition. Commonwealth v. Triplett, 467 Pa. 510, 359 A.2d 392 (1976). Following the appointment of counsel, an amended petition for post-conviction relief was filed. After an evidentiary hearing, the PCHA court denied relief, finding that 1) appellant's pre-trial confession was voluntary, 2) trial counsel ...


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