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Commonwealth v. Prater

Pennsylvania Superior Court

July 9, 2021

Appellant filed a PCRA petition, claiming that his original sentence was illegal and seeking a new trial on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel. The PCRA court held that Appellant’s original sentence was illegal and imposed a new sentence, but it rejected Appellant’s claims of ineffective assistance. He appealed, and the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed. First, the Court noted that PCRA counsel’s argument to the trial court that it could not dispose of Appellant’s post-conviction ineffectiveness issues until the conclusion of Appellant’s direct appeal from his new sentence was misplaced. The rule that a trial court may not entertain post-conviction proceedings related to a judgment of sentence that is pending on direct appeal was not applicable here because Appellant appealed from a new judgment of sentence unrelated to the judgment of sentence that was the subject of Appellant’s post-conviction proceedings. Next, the Court ruled that Appellant’s five claims about trial counsel’s ineffectiveness were meritless. Lastly, the Court held that the trial court stated sufficient reasons for imposing a sentence outside the guidelines.

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