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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. RONALD F. FORD A/K/A HAROLD F. FORD (06/22/84)

submitted: June 22, 1984.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
RONALD F. FORD A/K/A HAROLD F. FORD, APPELLANT



No. 00195 Harrisburg 1983, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Dauphin County at No. 1242, 1243 C.D. 1973.

COUNSEL

Judith A. Calkin, Harrisburg, for appellant.

Katherene E. Holtzinger, Deputy District Attorney, Harrisburg, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Del Sole, Popovich and Roberts, JJ.

Author: Popovich

[ 335 Pa. Super. Page 401]

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County by Ronald F. Ford, appellant, which denied appellant relief under the Post Conviction Hearing Act*fn1 without a hearing. On January 13, 1974, appellant pled guilty to two counts of robbery pursuant to a plea agreement. He was immediately sentenced to two terms of not less than four and one-half years nor more than ten years to run concurrently to be computed from the date of his arrest. (S.T. at 6) Post-verdict motions were not filed nor was a direct appeal perfected. We reverse the order of the lower court and remand for an evidentiary hearing.

Appellant asserts four claims: (1) his guilty plea was not knowing, intelligent and voluntary,*fn2 (2) he was improperly sentenced because the record reflects the incorrect date of his arrest; (3) he was denied effective assistance of counsel because counsel failed to assert appellant's speedy trial rights and (4) he was denied effective assistance of counsel in that counsel advised and thereby induced him to plead guilty on the promise of a far lesser sentence than that which appellant received.

The lower court found these claims to have been waived because of the lengthy delay in filing a petition under the Post Conviction Hearing Act; and the Commonwealth erroneously asserts that this court is bound to evaluate the delay and the reasons therefor before assessing the merits of appellant's contentions. A delay, however, is merely one factor to be included in the overall

[ 335 Pa. Super. Page 402]

    assessment of the merits of the claims raised. Commonwealth v. Gray, 317 Pa. Super. 248, 463 A.2d 1179 (1983), Commonwealth v. Bolding, 315 Pa. Super. 444, 462 A.2d 278 (1983), Commonwealth v. Courts, 315 Pa. Super. 124, 461 A.2d 828 (1983), Commonwealth v. Courts, 315 Pa. Super. 108, 461 A.2d 820 (1983), Commonwealth v. Kale, 312 Pa. Super. 69, 458 A.2d 239 (1983), Commonwealth v. Strickland, 306 Pa. Super. 516, 452 A.2d 844 (1983).

The Act states

ยง 9549. Hearing on petition

(a) When required. -- If a petition alleges facts that, if proven, would entitle the petitioner to relief, the court shall grant a hearing which may extend only to ...


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