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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. MICHAEL KNOX (09/17/82)

filed: September 17, 1982.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
MICHAEL KNOX, APPELLANT



NO. 2032 Philadelphia, 1980, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Criminal Division, at No. 1636-79.

COUNSEL

Douglas M. Johnson, Assistant Public Defender, Souderton, for appellant.

Ronald T. Williamson, Assistant District Attorney, Norristown, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Rowley, McEwen and Montemuro, JJ.

Author: Mcewen

[ 304 Pa. Super. Page 370]

We here consider an appeal from the Order of the Common Pleas Court which dismissed the petition of appellant for relief under the Post-Conviction Hearing Act, Act of January 25, 1966, P.L. 1580, 19 P.S. ยง 1180-1 et seq. Appellant contends principally that he should be afforded P.C.H.A. relief because his guilty pleas to burglary and various related charges were unlawfully induced and because he had been denied his constitutional right to the effective assistance of counsel. We affirm.

[ 304 Pa. Super. Page 371]

Appellant, Michael Knox, was apprehended during his commission of the burglary of an apartment dwelling and subsequently entered pleas of guilty to burglary, theft, possession of an instrument of crime, terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person and criminal conspiracy. He was thereafter sentenced to two concurrent terms of imprisonment of from one and one-half to five years on the charges of possession of an instrument of crime and terroristic threats and to a consecutive six year term of probation on the burglary charge. Sentences on the charges of theft, recklessly endangering another person, and criminal conspiracy were suspended. Counsel filed a timely motion to modify sentence which was denied. Appellant then filed a pro se petition to vacate and reconsider sentence which was dismissed by the court. Appellant thereafter initiated pro se P.C.H.A. proceedings and alleged, inter alia, that his guilty pleas had been unlawfully induced and that he had been denied his constitutional right to representation by competent counsel. The Common Pleas Court appointed a new attorney to represent defendant on the P.C.H.A. petition. The Commonwealth filed a motion to dismiss the P.C.H.A. petition and, after hearing, the petition of appellant was dismissed. Appellant, having replaced his trial counsel with court appointed counsel for the P.C.H.A. proceedings in the Common Pleas Court, then proceeded to replace the P.C.H.A. counsel with new court appointed counsel for the appeal to this Court.

The brief of appellant sets forth the following two issues in the Statement of Questions Involved which were raised in the lower court:

(1) Did the appellant waive the right to challenge the validity of his guilty plea?

(2) Was the appellant's plea of guilty unlawfully induced because he was not properly advised of the possible defense available to the crimes charged?

The opinion of the post-conviction hearing court addressed these issues and we agree with its determinations. Under the Post-Conviction Hearing ...


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