Commonwealth v. Diaz, 358 EDA 2022

CourtSuperior Court of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtLAZARUS, J.
Docket Number358 EDA 2022,J-A21015-22
Decision Date16 September 2022


JOEL DIAZ Appellant

No. 358 EDA 2022

No. J-A21015-22

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

September 16, 2022


Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence Entered December 14, 2021 In the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-46-CR-0003153-2017




Joel Diaz appeals from the judgment of sentence, imposed in the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, after he pled guilty to one count of carrying a firearm without a license.[1] On appeal, Diaz challenges the trial court's denial of his pre-sentence motion to withdraw his guilty plea. After review, we affirm.

The trial court has set forth the factual and procedural history of this matter as follows:

While some facts are disputed, the following is the general underlying factual background of the charge which ultimately led to [Diaz]'s proffered open guilty plea of January 5 2018. On April 18, 2017, [] Diaz, was stopped by Sergeant Shane LaRosa of the Abington Police Department based on probable cause that the vehicle was being operated with a suspended registration via registration check through PennDOT/NCIC. Sergeant LaRosa proceeded to stop the vehicle and question [] Diaz regarding his
travel. [Diaz] claimed that he did not have his license on him at the time, but provided Sergeant LaRosa with his date of birth and a bank card with his name. Sergeant LaRosa performed a check of [Diaz]'s information, which revealed a suspended license as well as a "hit" for an active arrest warrant in Philadelphia entered on April 12 2017, involving aggravated assault with a firearm. Sergeant LaRosa placed [Diaz] in handcuffs in his vehicle until he could receive confirmation on the arrest warrant; however, at this time Sergeant LaRosa sought [Diaz]'s consent to search the vehicle for only the firearm as [Diaz] was reportedly "armed and dangerous." After being informed that he was able to deny Sergeant LaRosa's request[, Diaz] gave written and verbal consent as to the search for the firearm. Sergeant LaRosa discovered the firearm in the vehicle and [Diaz] was taken into custody and on July 12, 2017[,] bills of information were filed charging [Diaz] with two firearms offenses. . . .[]
[Diaz] was ordered to stand trial [on] January 12, 2018 [Diaz] filed omnibus pre-trial motions. On January 5, 2018, [Diaz] filed a motion to suppress via his counsel at that time. The hearing on the motion to suppress was scheduled for January 11, 2018; however, [Diaz] ultimately withdrew this motion and, on that same date, pled guilty to one count of carrying a firearm without a license, with sentencing to be deferred pending pre[-]sentence investigation, mental evaluation[,] and completion of a probation and parole intervention evaluation. Prior to entering the guilty plea, on December 19, 2017, the Commonwealth sought to increase or revoke bail as a result of a December 5, 2017[,] robbery charge in Philadelphia; however, the motion [] was ultimately deemed moot by the court, as a result of the guilty plea. [Diaz]was scheduled for sentencing on April 5, 2018; however, he never appeared, and a bench warrant was issued. Three years later, [Diaz] was apprehended on warrant for his failure to appear for his April 5, 2018[,] sentencing.
On March 4, 2021, [Diaz]'s bail was revoked and on May 28, 2021[, Diaz] filed a pre[-]sentence motion to withdraw his guilty plea[,] which was heard on June 7, 2021, and denied on the same date.

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