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Commonwealth v. Monjaras-Amaya

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

May 19, 2017

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
STIVEN A. MONJARAS-AMAYA Appellant COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
STIVEN A. MONJARAS-AMAYA Appellant

         Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence August 25, 2016 In the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-09-CR-0001085-2016, CP-09-CR-0002738-2016

          BEFORE: LAZARUS, J., SOLANO, J., and STEVENS, P.J.E. [*]

          OPINION

          LAZARUS, J.

         Stiven A. Monjaras-Amaya appeals from the judgment of sentence, entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County. After our review, we affirm.

         On January 7, 2016, Monjaras-Amaya was charged with resisting arrest, [1] loitering and prowling at nighttime, [2] use/possession of drug paraphernalia, [3] and purchase of alcoholic beverage by a minor.[4] Monjaras-Amaya waived his preliminary hearing, and the charges were bound over for trial under docket CP-09-CR-0001085-2016.

         On March 23, 2016, Monjaras-Amaya was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) and related offenses. He waived his preliminary hearing, and these charges[5] were bound over for trial at docket number CP-09-CR-0002738-2016.

         Pursuant to a plea agreement, the Commonwealth nolle prossed the resisting arrest charge on docket CP-09-CR-0001085-2016. On August 25, 2016, Monjaras-Amaya appeared before the Honorable Wallace H. Bateman, Jr., and entered a plea of guilty to all of the remaining charges on both dockets. Prior to entering his plea, Monjaras-Amaya reviewed a written colloquy with his attorney, and he initialed and signed it.

         Following entry of his guilty plea, the court sentenced Monjaras-Amaya to 72 hours to 6 months' incarceration, a $1, 000 fine, and a concurrent term of 12 months' probation. No post-sentence motions were filed. Monjaras-Amaya filed timely notices of appeal on both dockets, [6] as well as a concise statement of errors complained of on appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b). He raises two issues for our review:

1. Whether [Monjaras-Amaya's] acknowledgement of the risk of collateral immigration consequences made his guilty plea "knowing" and "voluntary" even while his guilty plea indicated profound confusion?
2. Whether Pennsylvania's warnings of possible immigration consequences are sufficient to meet the requirements of Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010)?

Appellant's Brief, at 5.

         Monjaras-Amaya argues that the trial court erred in accepting his guilty plea because the colloquy indicated that he was not apprised of the immigration consequences.[7] He also argues that Pennsylvania's "approach to immigration consequences warnings" does not meet the federal standard articulated in Padilla.

         Pennsylvania law makes clear that by entering a plea of guilty, a defendant waives his right to challenge on direct appeal all nonjurisdictional defects except the legality of the sentence and the validity of the plea. Commonwealth v. Pantalion, 957 A.2d 1267, 1271 (Pa. Super. 2008). In order to preserve an issue related to a guilty plea, an appellant must either "object[ ] at the sentence colloquy or otherwise raise[ ] the issue at the sentencing hearing or through a post-sentence motion." Commonwealth v. D'Collanfield, 805 A.2d 1244, 1246 (Pa. Super. 2002). See Pa.R.Crim.P. 720(A)(1), (B)(1)(a)(i); see also Pa.R.A.P. 302(a) ("Issues not raised in the lower court are waived and cannot be raised for the first time on appeal.").

         In D'Collanfield, we held appellant's issue challenging his guilty plea was waived since it was not raised at the colloquy, at the sentencing hearing, or through post-sentence motions. See Commonwealth v. Lincoln, 72 A.3d 606, 609-10 (Pa. Super. 2013) ("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. Failure to employ either measure results in waiver.") (citations omitted). Moreover, "[a] party cannot rectify the failure to preserve an issue by proffering it in response to a Rule 1925(b) order." Commonwealth v. Kohan, 825 A.2d 702, 706 (Pa. Super. 2003) (emphasis ...


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