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Commonwealth v. Snyder

Pennsylvania Superior Court

April 20, 2021

The Pennsylvania Superior Court’s opinion in Commonwealth v. Snyder reads more like a cautionary tale than an opinion. A jury convicted the defendant of access device fraud. With new counsel, he appealed but was unsuccessful. He then filed a pro se PCRA petition in which he alleged that both his trial and appellate lawyers were ineffective. Nonetheless, the PCRA court appointed the same appellate lawyer to be PCRA counsel. That lawyer appeared at a hearing expecting to testify, but after some conversation, the defendant was cajoled into withdrawing his allegations against that lawyer so that the attorney could represent the defendant. Thus, with no preparation, the attorney represented the defendant at the hearing, and relief was denied. The record on appeal was not sufficient for review, so the Superior Court remanded and noted that this particular oversight might not have happened had new counsel been appointed for the PCRA petition.

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