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[U] Commonwealth v. Reddick

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 18, 2014



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence November 8, 2012 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Criminal Division at No(s): No. CP-51-0013234-2009

BEFORE: SHOGAN, J., OTT, J., and PLATT, J. [*]



Quinzell Reddick appeals the judgment of sentence imposed on November 8, 2012, in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. The mandatory minimum sentence of five to ten years' imprisonment was imposed after Reddick entered a guilty plea to charges of possession with intent to deliver controlled substances (PWID), criminal conspiracy, firearms not to be carried without a license, and carrying firearms on a public street in Philadelphia.[1] Contemporaneous with this appeal, Reddick's counsel has filed a petition to withdraw from representation and an Anders brief. See Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967); Commonwealth v. McClendon, 434 A.2d 1185 (Pa. 1981). Counsel's Anders brief challenges the voluntariness of Reddick's guilty plea and the discretionary aspects of Reddick's sentence.[2] For the reasons set forth below, we affirm and grant counsel's petition to withdraw.

The facts underlying Reddick's guilty plea were gleaned from the plea colloquy. On August 7, 2009, a narcotics surveillance team observed Reddick and two co-conspirators engage in three separate drug transactions. During each transaction, a potential buyer would hand money to one of the co-conspirators. Then, either Reddick or the other co-conspirator would retrieve small objects from underneath a nearby car's bumper, and hand it to the buyer. After each transaction, the buyer was stopped with heroin. During the last transaction, the police also observed Reddick remove an item from the trunk of the car, put it in a plastic bag, and place it in a nearby alleyway. Thereafter, the police detained Reddick and his co-conspirators. A search of the alleyway where Reddick had deposited the bag uncovered a plastic bag containing a loaded handgun. In addition, the officers recovered heroin and cocaine from underneath the car's bumper. See N.T., 11/8/2012, at 11-12.

Reddick was arrested and charged with the aforementioned offenses, as well as possession of controlled substances.[3] On November 8, 2012, Reddick entered an open guilty plea to the charges of PWID, conspiracy and two violations of the Uniform Firearms Act.[4] The remaining drug charge was nolle prossed. Following the court's acceptance of the guilty plea, Reddick proceeded immediately to sentencing. For the charge of PWID, the court imposed a mandatory minimum sentence of five to 10 years' imprisonment.[5]The trial court imposed concurrent sentences on the remaining counts.[6] At the same hearing, the trial court also sentenced Reddick on CP #5276-2010, for which he had previously been found guilty, following a bench trial, of additional drug and gun charges.[7] Reddick filed a timely post sentence motion seeking reconsideration of his sentence. The trial court denied the motion on November 26, 2012, and this appeal followed.[8]

Preliminarily, we must address counsel's petition to withdraw. When direct appeal counsel files a petition to withdraw and accompanying Anders brief, we must first examine the request to withdraw before addressing any of the substantive issues raised on appeal. Commonwealth v. Goodwin, 928 A.2d 287, 290 (Pa.Super. 2007). Here, our review of the record reveals that counsel has substantially complied with the requirements for withdrawal outlined in Anders, supra, and its progeny.[9] Moreover, our review of the record reveals no additional correspondence from Reddick. Accordingly, we will proceed to examine the record and make an independent determination of whether the appeal is wholly frivolous.

The first issue presented in the Anders brief challenges the voluntariness of Reddick's guilty plea.

A defendant wishing to challenge the voluntariness of a guilty plea on direct appeal must either object during the plea colloquy or file a motion to withdraw the plea within ten days of sentencing. Pa.R.Crim.P. 720(A)(1), (B)(1)(a)(i). Failure to employ either measure results in waiver. Commonwealth v. Tareila, 895 A.2d 1266, 1270 n. 3 (Pa.Super. 2006).

Commonwealth v. Lincoln, 72 A.3d 606, 609-610 (Pa.Super. 2013). Here, Reddick failed to raise this challenge during his plea colloquy or in his post sentence motion. Therefore, it is not preserved for our review.

Nevertheless, even if we were to conclude there was no waiver, Reddick would still be entitled to no relief. "Our law presumes that a defendant who enters a guilty plea was aware of what he was doing [and h]e bears the burden of proving otherwise." Commonwealth v. Rush, 909 A.2d 805, 808 (Pa.Super. 2006) (citation omitted). Indeed, "[w]here the record clearly demonstrates that a guilty plea colloquy was conducted, during which it became evident that the defendant understood the nature of the charges against him, the voluntariness of the plea is established." Commonwealth v. Stork, 737 A.2d 789, 790 (Pa.Super. 1999) (citation omitted and internal quotation marks), appeal denied, 764 A.2d 1068 (2000). Furthermore, a defendant who seeks to withdraw a guilty plea after sentencing must demonstrate "prejudice on the order of manifest injustice." Commonwealth v. Yeomans, 24 A.3d 1044, 1046 (Pa.Super. 2011) (quotation omitted).

A trial court is required to inquire into the following areas when conducting a guilty plea colloquy:

(1) Does the defendant understand the nature of the charges to which he or she is pleading ...

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