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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. GEORGE W. STOLLE (04/28/78)

decided: April 28, 1978.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
GEORGE W. STOLLE, APPELLANT



COUNSEL

David R. Eshelman, Assistant Public Defender, Reading, for appellant.

J. Michael Morrissey, District Attorney, Reading, submitted a brief for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Hoffman

[ 254 Pa. Super. Page 484]

Appellant contends that his pleas of guilty were not voluntarily and knowingly entered. We agree and would, therefore, vacate the judgment of sentence and grant appellant a trial.

[ 254 Pa. Super. Page 485]

On January 15, 1975, appellant entered pleas of guilty to forgery*fn1 and indecent assault.*fn2 The court sentenced appellant to a one to two year term of imprisonment on the indecent charge and to a consecutive six to thirty-six month term of imprisonment on the forgery charge. On March 17, 1977, appellant filed a petition to withdraw his guilty pleas.*fn3 On April 27, 1977, the lower court denied appellant's petition and this appeal followed.

Appellant alleges that the record does not establish that his guilty pleas were voluntarily and knowingly entered because it does not reflect the lower court's compliance with Pa.R.Crim.P. 319, 19 P.S.Appendix. Rule 319(a) precludes acceptance of a guilty plea unless a colloquy appears on the record which establishes that the defendant's plea is voluntarily and understandingly made.*fn4 The Comment to the Rule states that at a minimum the judge must ask questions to elicit the following information:

"(1) Does the defendant understand the nature of the charges to which he is pleading guilty?

"(2) Is there a factual basis for the plea?

"(3) Does the defendant understand that he has the right to trial by jury?

[ 254 Pa. Super. Page 486]

"(4) Does the defendant understand that he is presumed innocent until ...


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