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Commonwealth v. Dowling J-88-2008

Topic: Jury Trial Waiver-When Trial Commences

Summary: For purposes of Pa.R.Crim.P. 621(b), a trial has commenced “when a court has begun to hear motions which have been reserved for the time of trial; when oral arguments have commenced; or when some other such substantive first step in the trial has begun.”

Illustration: The defendant did a jury trial waiver and a full colloquy. Defense counsel and the Commonwealth waived their opening statements. The next day, before the first witness was called, the defendant attempted to withdraw his guilty plea. Since the oral arguments began, for purposes of Rule 621, the trial had commenced.


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