Commonwealth v. Summers

In Commonwealth v. Summers, Appellant was serving a sentence of life without parole for his participation in a felony murder when he was 17 years old. He filed a PCRA petition, alleging his sentence was illegal. Pursuant to Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), the trial court resentenced Appellant to a term of imprisonment of 40 years to life. Appellant appealed the discretionary and legal aspects of his sentence. The Superior Court affirmed. First, the Court noted that, essentially, Appellant argued the resentencing court prioritized the severity of the offense over mitigating factors. But this argument was “nothing more than a request for th[e] Court to re-weigh the sentencing factors differently than the resentencing court.” The Court cannot reweigh the factors and ruled that the resentencing court engaged in a reasoned analysis of the sentencing factors regarding the evidence presented at the sentencing hearing. Next, the Court rejected Appellant’s assertion that the resentencing court was biased against him. The Court held that the judge’s comments during resentencing did not display a bias that resulted in an excessive sentence. Lastly, the Court ruled that Appellant’s sentence was legal. Because Appellant will be eligible for parole when he is 57 years old, the sentence was not a de facto life sentence.

Summers