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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ALVIN FERNANDEZ (02/01/80)

decided: February 1, 1980.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
ALVIN FERNANDEZ, APPELLANT



No. 144 January Term 1978 Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, Criminal Section of Philadelphia at No. 947 June Term 1977, under PCHA

COUNSEL

Helen T. M. McCaffrey, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Robert B. Lawler, Chief, Appeals Div., Kenneth Gallant, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Larsen and Flaherty, JJ.

Author: Eagen

[ 487 Pa. Page 495]

OPINION OF THE COURT

On February 11, 1975, Alvin Fernandez plead guilty to murder generally pursuant to a negotiated agreement between his counsel and the district attorney.*fn1 After extended questioning of Fernandez,*fn2 the court accepted the guilty plea, found Fernandez guilty of murder of the third degree, and imposed a prison sentence of five to fifteen years, in accordance with the pre-plea agreement. No request to withdraw the plea was filed, nor was an appeal entered from the judgment.

On July 23, 1976, appellant filed a counseled petition for relief under the Post Conviction Hearing Act [PCHA]. After an evidentiary hearing, relief was denied and this appeal followed.

The sole issue Fernandez presents for review is whether the PCHA court erred in failing to find his plea of guilty invalid due to his lack of the mental capacity to knowingly and intelligently enter a plea.*fn3

The Post Conviction Hearing Act*fn4 and recent decisions of this Court clearly delineate the circumstances under which relief may be obtained under the PCHA. See Commonwealth v. Sherard, 483 Pa. 183, 394 A.2d 971 (1978); Commonwealth v. LaSane, 479 Pa. 629, 389 A.2d 48 (1978); Commonwealth v. Jones, 477 Pa. 266, 383 A.2d 926 (1978); Commonwealth v. Tunnell, 463 Pa. 462, 345 A.2d 611 (1975).

[ 487 Pa. Page 496]

As we summarized in Commonwealth v. Sherard, supra, 483 Pa. at 188, ...


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