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Commonwealth v. Mojica

Pennsylvania Superior Court

November 20, 2020

In Commonwealth v. Mojica, the defendant filed a pro se PCRA petition after he was convicted, but before sentencing, and while he was still represented by counsel. In the petition, he made sufficiency and weight claims. The PCRA court ignored the pro se petition and sentenced the defendant. The Pennsylvania Superior Court noted that it was error for the PCRA court not to dismiss the pro se PCRA petition without prejudice. Moreover, the PCRA court’s “misstep was further exacerbated by the failure of the clerk of courts to provide a copy of the pro se filing to the parties pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 576(A)(4).” Based on these procedural errors, the Superior Court addressed the merits of the defendant’s subsequent untimely PCRA petition and affirmed the PCRA court’s dismissal of the petition. The Court noted that it was bound by the credibility determinations of the PCRA court, particularly where the record supported those findings.

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