288 A.2d 800 (Pa. 1972), Commonwealth v. Butler

Citation:288 A.2d 800, 446 Pa. 374
Opinion Judge:Author: O'brien
Party Name:COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellee, v. Charles BUTLER, Appellant.
Case Date:March 20, 1972
Court:Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
 
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Page 800

288 A.2d 800 (Pa. 1972)

446 Pa. 374

COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellee,

v.

Charles BUTLER, Appellant.

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

March 20, 1972.

Page 801

[446 Pa. 375] Benjamin A. Katz (submitted), Philadelphia, for appellant.

Arlen Specter, Dist. Atty. (submitted), James D. Crawford, Deputy Dist. Atty., Richard A. Sprague, 1st Asst. Dist. Atty., Milton M. Stein, Chief, Appeals Division, James Watt, Asst. Dist. Atty., Philadelphia, for appellee.

Before BELL, C.J., and JONES, EAGEN, O'BRIEN, ROBERTS, POMEROY and BARBIERI, JJ.

OPINION OF THE COURT

O'BRIEN, Justice.

Appellant, Charles Butler, while represented by counsel, pleaded guilty to two charges of murder generally,[446 Pa. 376] and after a degree-of-guilt hearing was found guilty of murder in the first degree and sentenced to consecutive terms of life imprisonment. No appeal from the judgments of sentence ensued, but nearly five years later appellant filed a Post Conviction Hearing Act petition in which he alleged that his guilty pleas was unlawfully induced and that he was not adequately informed of his appeal rights. An evidentiary hearing resulted in an order granting appellant the right to file post-trial motions nunc pro tunc. Such motions were filed and denied, and the case is now before this Court on direct appeal from the judgments of sentence.

The only question raised on appeal is whether appellant voluntarily and intelligently entered pleas of guilty with knowledge of the nature of the charges and of his constitutional privileges.

Page 802

A reading of the record in this case leads us to conclude that both the Post Conviction Hearing Act court and the court which heard the nunc pro tunc post-trial motions correctly concluded that the guilty pleas were knowingly and voluntarily entered. Although this case antedates Com. ex rel. West v. Rundle, 428 Pa. 102, 237 A.2d 196 (1968), there appears an on-the-record colloquy which is more than adequate to establish that appellant's pleas were knowingly and voluntarily entered. The colloquy establishes that appellant was informed in open court that he had been charged with murder and that he had the right to be tried by a jury. He was further informed that if he pleaded guilty, the degree of guilt would be fixed by a three-judge court and that that court, depending upon the degree of guilt found, could impose a penalty of...

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