In Tyson v Superintendent Houtzdale SCI, the 3rd Circuit held that a criminal defendant’s trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing to object to the trial court’s jury instruction. The trial court incorrectly instructed the jury that an accomplice to first-degree murder must only act to promote or facilitate the commission of a crime to … Read more
In Commonwealth v. Epps, the Superior Court revisited a newsworthy Philadelphia murderer who has collaterally attacked his convictions. Here, the Superior Court denied relief, finding the myriad claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel lacked merit.
In Commonwealth v. Little, the Superior Court held that the defendant’s trial counsel was ineffective for not objecting to the judge’s ruling on an evidentiary issue and, thus, failing to preserve the issue for direct appellate review. Under a strict interpretation of the case law concerning the prejudice prong for a claim of ineffective assistance, counsel’s … Read more
In Commonwealth v. Webb, the Superior Court confronted an appeal from the denial of a PCRA petition. The Court held that the petitioner could not establish ineffective assistance of counsel where trial counsel voluntarily brought up the petitioner’s low-level drug dealing. Furthermore, the Court found that a witness gave detailed testimony, which could prove murder, … Read more
Matt Sullivan wrote the brief, which earned a good result for the client in Commonwealth v. Greshan, where, in an unpublished memorandum, the Superior Court agreed the lower court erred in dismissing a PCRA petition.
In State v. Aburoumi, which involved a collateral attack on a criminal conviction, the Appellate Division ruled that an evidentiary hearing was needed where the defendant claimed he was not informed of the immigration consequences of his plea-into-PTI plea bargain, though the law was clear that such a plea would lead to removal.
The Superior Court remanded Commonwealth v. Johnson, finding the PCRA court misapplied the Strickland/Pierce prejudice test.
In Commonwealth v. Brown, the Superior Court determined that, with specific regard to the prejudice prong of a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, Brown was prejudiced because he established it was reasonably probable that he would not have pleaded guilty had he known his prior record score was 2, not 4 as trial counsel … Read more
In Commonwealth v. Vo, the PCRA petitioner was represented by counsel during the proceedings in the lower court, but a new attorney entered in the appeal of the denial of the PCRA petition. The new counsel raised issues of ineffective assistance of prior PCRA counsel. The Superior Court detailed an often-conflicting body of law and … Read more
Coleman filed a PCRA petition alleging trial counsel’s ineffectiveness for failing to object at two different times during Coleman’s murder trial. The PCRA court and Superior Court found that Coleman’s issues were not meritorious. The PA Supreme Court disagreed. The Court ruled that counsel was ineffective for failing to object to hearsay. The lower courts … Read more