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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. CRAIG RIDDICK (01/30/81)

SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: January 30, 1981.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
CRAIG RIDDICK, APPELLANT

No. 352 JANUARY TERM, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County, Criminal Division, dated March 5, 1979, at No. 605-1978, dismissing appellant's Post Conviction Hearing Act Petition.

COUNSEL

Lawrence J. Brenner, Allentown, for appellant.

William H. Platt, Dist. Atty., Lehigh County, for appellee.

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

Author: Flaherty

[ 492 Pa. Page 431]

OPINION OF THE COURT

On September 12, 1978, in the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County, the appellant, Craig Riddick, entered a plea of guilty to a charge of criminal homicide. The degree of guilt was set at murder of the third degree, and a sentence of six to fifteen years imprisonment was imposed. No direct appeal was taken. Contending that his plea was unlawfully induced and involuntary, appellant petitioned for relief under the Post Conviction Hearing Act.*fn1 Counsel

[ 492 Pa. Page 432]

    different from trial counsel was appointed, and, upon dismissal of the petition, the instant appeal ensued.*fn2

The claim of a coerced and compelled plea is based upon an assertion that trial counsel induced the plea by (1) misrepresentation of a plea bargain proposed by the Commonwealth, (2) failure to adequately prepare for trial, and (3) failure to interview a material defense witness prior to trial. After a thorough review of the record of the PCHA hearing, it is evident that the issue is solely one of credibility: the testimony of appellant and of trial counsel stand in direct contradiction with respect to each assertion. The PCHA court, as trier of fact, resolved the credibility issue against the appellant, and, in view of the amply sufficient record supporting that determination, it is to be sustained. Commonwealth v. Alston, 473 Pa. 40, 373 A.2d 741 (1977).

Order affirmed.


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