No. 256 January Term, 1978, Appeal from the Order of Superior Court filed December 2, 1977, at No. 2059 October Term, 1976, affirming the Judgment of Sentence of June 10, 1976, Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, Northampton County, at No. 65 August Term, 1975.
Gary Neil Asteak, Asst. Pub. Defender, Easton, for appellant.
Christopher T. Spadoni, Michael Vedomsky, Asst. Dist. Attys., Easton, for appellee.
Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ.
Following conviction by jury for burglary and theft, and denial of post-verdict motions, appellant Sidney Knighton was sentenced on June 10, 1976 to a prison term of two and one-half to five years. The Superior Court affirmed, with two judges dissenting.*fn1 On this appeal, appellant contends
that his sentence was illegally imposed in violation of Pa.R.Crim.P. 1405(a). We agree and accordingly vacate judgment of sentence and remand for resentencing.
Rule 1405 requires in relevant part:
"At the time of sentencing, the judge shall:
(a) afford the defendant the opportunity to make a statement in his own behalf . . . relative to sentencing."
This Rule's guarantee of an opportunity to address the court before sentencing has its origins in the long-established common law right of allocution. As early as 1689, a court's failure to permit a defendant to speak to the court before sentencing required reversal. See Anonymous, 3 Mod. 265, 266, 87 Eng.Rep. 175 (K.B.). At present, this right is recognized by the federal courts and at least half the states. See ABA Project On Minimum Standards For Criminal Justice, Standards Relating To: Sentencing Alternatives and Procedures § 5.4(a)(iii) and Commentary (Approved Draft, 1968); Green v. United States, 365 U.S. 301, 81 S.Ct. 653, 5 L.Ed.2d 670 (1961); Kent v. State, 287 Md. 389, 412 A.2d 1236 (1980); Dishman v. State, 45 Md.App. 236, 413 A.2d 565 (1980). In Pennsylvania, the right of ...