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Commonwealth v. Kpou

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

December 29, 2016

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
LARRY KPOU Appellant

          Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence February 3, 2016 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-51-CR-0009272-2015

          BEFORE: BOWES, J., MOULTON, J., and STEVENS, P.J.E. [*]

          OPINION

          STEVENS, P.J.E.

         Larry Kpou ("Appellant") appeals from the judgment of sentence entered by the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County after it accepted his guilty plea to Possession With Intent to Deliver ("PWID"), to wit, crack cocaine and marijuana, and Criminal Conspiracy.[1] Sentenced to a negotiated term of 11½ to 23 months' incarceration with immediate parole, plus three years' reporting probation, Appellant contends the court erroneously refused to grant his post-sentence motion to withdraw his plea. We affirm.

The plea court provides an apt history of the case as follows:
On February 3, 2016, The Honorable Mia R. Perez conducted a guilty plea colloquy with the Defendant [hereinafter "Appellant"], Larry Kpou, who had been sworn under oath. Appellant pled guilty…. Judge Perez engaged in a specific line of inquiry, advising Appellant on the nature of the charges, the rights he was giving up, and the possible sanctions the court was authorized to impose. N.T. 2/3/16 at 2-17. Judge Perez requested a recitation of the facts from the Assistant District Attorney, [who asserted that, on June 19, 2015, a Narcotics Field Unit of the Philadelphia Police Department observed one Mr. Lugman Garbey sell marijuana to a proven, reliable confidential informant ("CI") as part of a controlled buy carried out at the address of 6311 West Girard Avenue.
On June 21, 2015, the Narcotics Unit arranged for another controlled buy at the address and observed Mr. Garbey take the buy money from the CI. Garbey then summoned Appellant, who handed two packets of marijuana to the CI on the front steps..
On June 24, 2015, officers arrested Garbey and Appellant. A search of Appellant's person incident to his arrest disclosed two packets of marijuana. A subsequent search of 6311 West Girard Avenue recovered three packets of crack cocaine].
Having heard the facts, Judge Perez asked Appellant, "[D]id you hear the facts as recited by the District Attorney?" Id. at 16. Appellant replied, "Yes." Id. The Judge then asked, "Are those the facts that you're pleading guilty to here today?" and Appellant replied, "Yes." Id. Appellant did not raise any issue with the facts or otherwise.
Judge Perez then imposed the sentence that had previously been negotiated by the parties: 11 ½ -23 months' incarceration with immediate parole plus 3 years of reporting probation.

Trial Court Opinion, filed 6/2/16, at 1-2.

         On February 5, 2016, Appellant filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea on the asserted basis that he was "actually innocent" of the crimes charged. The court denied Appellant's motion on March 1, 2016, however, and this timely appeal followed.

          Appellant presents one question for our consideration:

[DID] THE TRIAL COURT ERR[] BY DENYING MR. KPOU'S POST-SENTENCE MOTION TO WITHDRAW HIS GUILTY PLEA AS HE ALLEGED ...

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