Com. v. Scott

CourtSuperior Court of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtBECK
Citation497 A.2d 656,345 Pa.Super. 86
Decision Date30 August 1985
PartiesCOMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania v. Michael W. SCOTT, Appellant. 01895

Page 656

497 A.2d 656
345 Pa.Super. 86
COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania
v.
Michael W. SCOTT, Appellant.
01895
Superior Court of Pennsylvania.
Argued April 18, 1985.
Filed Aug. 30, 1985.

Page 657

[345 Pa.Super. 88] John W. Nails, Chester, for appellant.

Susan Kahn, Asst. Dist. Atty., Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Before WICKERSHAM, BECK and CERCONE, JJ.

BECK, Judge:

Appellant was convicted of murder in the third degree and possessing instruments of crime generally. Appellant was charged with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and possessing instruments of crime generally.

On appeal, appellant who was sentenced to life imprisonment, questions whether the court erred in stating during the jury waiver colloquy that the maximum sentence for third degree murder was ten to twenty years and whether this statement was prejudicial to him.

Appellant's life sentence is based on section 9715 of the Sentencing Code, 42 Pa.C.S. § 9715:

Section 9715 life imprisonment for homicide (a) Mandatory life imprisonment--... any person convicted of murder of the third degree in this Commonwealth who has previously been convicted at any time of murder or voluntary manslaughter in this Commonwealth ... shall be sentenced to life imprisonment, notwithstanding any other provision of this title or other statute to the contrary.

The judge did not, however, commit error in stating that a conviction for third-degree murder carried a ten to twenty year sentence. At the time of the jury waiver [345 Pa.Super. 89] colloquy the judge had no knowledge of appellant's previous murder convictions. It can hardly be said that the court was in error in not informing appellant about the enlargement of sentence when the record

Page 658

of appellant's prior convictions was not before the court.

Additionally, the charges against appellant in the matter sub judice, i.e., the charge of first-degree murder, exposed appellant to a life sentence. When appellant agreed to waive the jury, he already knew a life sentence was possible. Therefore, appellant cannot say that the judge's statement relating to third-degree murder was the basis for his jury waiver and was prejudicial to him. 1 Appellant makes no claim that if judge had accurately stated the consequences of conviction for third-degree murder, he would not have waived a jury trial.

Next, appellant argues that application of section 9715 to his case violates due process and constitutes an ex post facto law since appellant's first homicide was committed prior to the effective date of section 9715.

Appellant's due process argument fails. The language of section 9715 is clear and imposes a life sentence for conviction of third-degree murder on anyone "who had previously been convicted at any time of murder or manslaughter." (Emphasis supplied.)

[345 Pa.Super. 90] Appellant's ex post facto contention is more troublesome. Appellant argues that the increased penalty of life...

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10 practice notes
  • Com. v. Brown
    • United States
    • Pennsylvania Superior Court
    • 19 Octubre 1999
    ...a defendant being sentenced, this Court has rejected the argument that this constitutes an ex post facto law. See Commonwealth v. Scott, 345 Pa.Super. 86, 497 A.2d 656, 657 (1985) (holding that the statute imposing a life sentence for conviction of third-degree murder on anyone who had prev......
  • Com. v. Thomas, No. 2881
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • 19 Abril 1988
    ...563-564, 424 A.2d 1332, 1335 (1981); Commonwealth v. Ehrsam, 355 Pa.Super. 40, 56, 512 A.2d 1199, 1207 (1986); Commonwealth v. Scott, 345 Pa.Super. 86, 91, 497 A.2d 656, 659 (1985); Commonwealth v. Williams, 344 Pa.Super. 493, 503, 496 A.2d 1213, 1218 In support of his claim that both prior......
  • Com. v. Stinnett
    • United States
    • Pennsylvania Superior Court
    • 19 Agosto 1986
    ...265, 500 A.2d 825 (1985) (failure to make offer of proof as to substance of omitted witnesses' testimony); Commonwealth v. Scott, 345 Pa.Super. 86, 497 A.2d 656 (1985) (failure to establish a sufficient factual predicate to support the ineffectiveness The appellant next contends that "the t......
  • Commonwealth v. Rose
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • 25 Noviembre 2013
    ...after the passage of the pertinent recidivist statute. See Commonwealth v. Brown, 741 A.2d 726 (Pa.Super.1999); Commonwealth v. Scott, 345 Pa.Super. 86, 497 A.2d 656 (1985); Commonwealth v. Grady, 337 Pa.Super. 174, 486 A.2d 962 (1984); see also Commonwealth v. McCoy, 895 A.2d 18 (Pa.Super.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
10 cases
  • Com. v. Brown
    • United States
    • Pennsylvania Superior Court
    • 19 Octubre 1999
    ...a defendant being sentenced, this Court has rejected the argument that this constitutes an ex post facto law. See Commonwealth v. Scott, 345 Pa.Super. 86, 497 A.2d 656, 657 (1985) (holding that the statute imposing a life sentence for conviction of third-degree murder on anyone who had prev......
  • Com. v. Thomas, No. 2881
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • 19 Abril 1988
    ...563-564, 424 A.2d 1332, 1335 (1981); Commonwealth v. Ehrsam, 355 Pa.Super. 40, 56, 512 A.2d 1199, 1207 (1986); Commonwealth v. Scott, 345 Pa.Super. 86, 91, 497 A.2d 656, 659 (1985); Commonwealth v. Williams, 344 Pa.Super. 493, 503, 496 A.2d 1213, 1218 In support of his claim that both prior......
  • Com. v. Stinnett
    • United States
    • Pennsylvania Superior Court
    • 19 Agosto 1986
    ...265, 500 A.2d 825 (1985) (failure to make offer of proof as to substance of omitted witnesses' testimony); Commonwealth v. Scott, 345 Pa.Super. 86, 497 A.2d 656 (1985) (failure to establish a sufficient factual predicate to support the ineffectiveness The appellant next contends that "the t......
  • Commonwealth v. Rose
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • 25 Noviembre 2013
    ...after the passage of the pertinent recidivist statute. See Commonwealth v. Brown, 741 A.2d 726 (Pa.Super.1999); Commonwealth v. Scott, 345 Pa.Super. 86, 497 A.2d 656 (1985); Commonwealth v. Grady, 337 Pa.Super. 174, 486 A.2d 962 (1984); see also Commonwealth v. McCoy, 895 A.2d 18 (Pa.Super.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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