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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. LAMONT HARRIS (05/08/81)

filed: May 8, 1981.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
LAMONT HARRIS, APPELLANT



Nos. 445, 702 and 703 April Term, 1978, Appeal from the Order of Court (Denial of Reconsideration of Sentence) at Nos. CC7608554, 7608390, and 7608648 on January 26, 1978; from the Order of Court (Denial of Motion to Withdraw Guilty Plea) imposed on January 27, 1978 at Nos. CC7608648 and 7608390; and from the Judgment of Sentence on November 7, 1977 at No. CC7608554 Criminal Division, Allegheny County.

COUNSEL

John H. Corbett, Jr., Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Robert L. Eberhardt, Deputy District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Price, DiSalle and Montemuro, JJ.

Author: Disalle

[ 286 Pa. Super. Page 604]

This appeal follows appellant Lamont Harris's non-jury conviction on one information, guilty pleas to two other informations, and subsequent sentences of 13 to 32 years imprisonment.

On February 16, 1977, in a non-jury trial on the first information, Judge Henry Smith, Jr. found appellant guilty of two counts of robbery,*fn1 two counts of burglary,*fn2 two counts of theft,*fn3 one count of aggravated assault,*fn4 one count of simple assault,*fn5 and one count of criminal conspiracy.*fn6

[ 286 Pa. Super. Page 605]

On March 16, 1977, again before Judge Smith, appellant and co-defendant, Frank Johnson, pled guilty to the two other informations. Each information consisted of four counts of robbery, two counts of simple assault, two counts of criminal conspiracy, three counts of recklessly endangering another person,*fn7 and one count of violating the Uniform Firearms Act.*fn8

Before the court accepted the guilty pleas of the two defendants, colloquies on both informations were conducted, first with Frank Johnson, then with appellant. The colloquy with Frank Johnson was complete and proper. Pa.R.Crim.P. 319(a). At all times during the colloquy with Frank Johnson, appellant was present in the courtroom, standing next to Johnson. The colloquy with appellant was also complete except that it lacked any explanation of the elements of the crimes of robbery and conspiracy. Appellant argues that these oversights were fatal to his plea of guilty because they prevented his plea from being made knowingly and voluntarily. Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238, 89 S.Ct. 1709, 23 L.Ed. 274 (1969).

Appellant cites Commonwealth v. Ingram, 455 Pa. 198, 316 A.2d 77 (1974), for the proposition that Pa.R.Crim.Pa. 319(a) requires that the defendant "be told more than just that he has been charged with murder or robbery . . . . Thus for an examination to demonstrate a defendant's understanding of the charge, the record must disclose that the elements of the crime were outlined in understandable terms." Id., 455 Pa. at 203-4, 316 A.2d at 80. Appellant contends, therefore, that when two or more defendants are charged with identical crimes arising out of the same circumstances, each co-defendant must be given a separate and complete colloquy, regardless of the fact that each defendant is present and hears the colloquy given to the co-defendant(s). We reject this argument and hold that under the circumstances of this

[ 286 Pa. Super. Page 606]

    case, the colloquy given to the appellant was sufficient. See generally Commonwealth v. Johnson, 460 Pa. 169, 331 A.2d 473 (1973);*fn9 Commonwealth v. Nelson, 455 Pa. 461, 317 A.2d 228 (1974);*fn10 ...


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