No. 2181 Philadelphia 1982, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, Criminal Division, Nos. 272, 273, 493, 494, 1783 of 1974 and 215 of 1975.
Stephen LaCheen, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Stephen B. Harris, First Assistant District Attorney, Doylestown, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Rowley, Montemuro and Johnson, JJ.
[ 328 Pa. Super. Page 464]
This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas, Bucks County, denying appellant's motion to withdraw a guilty plea.
Two issues are raised on appeal: (1) whether, as a result of counsel's failure to request the lower court judge to recuse himself, appellant was denied effective assistance of counsel; and (2) whether the court below erred in refusing to grant appellant's motion to withdraw his guilty plea.
Appellant was charged on five indictments for various offenses which fall into the broad category of assault, firearms violations, and possession of controlled substances. On August 20, 1974, suppression motions were litigated, and denied, on two of the indictments. The next day a jury was selected and sworn. After the first witness had begun to testify, appellant decided to plead guilty. On that same day, pleas of guilty were entered on all five indictments.
The court deferred sentencing and permitted appellant to remain free on bail. Appellant did not appear for the scheduled sentencing on September 13, 1974. He was eventually located on September 21, 1978, when he was arrested on federal charges in North Carolina.
On February 22, 1979, appellant filed a motion to withdraw his guilty pleas. After numerous continuances and delays, a hearing was held before the Honorable Kenneth G. Biehn, who denied the motion by opinion and order dated November 9, 1981.
The case was again scheduled for sentencing on March 5, 1982. Once again appellant failed to appear. Appellant was subsequently located and sentenced on April 30, 1982.*fn1 On May 10, 1982, appellant filed a petition for reconsideration of sentence/motion to withdraw guilty plea. The petition
[ 328 Pa. Super. Page 465]
was denied as to both matters on July 2, 1982, and ...