Commonwealth v. Hairston

In Commonwealth v. Hairston, a capital PCRA appeal, Hairston challenged the dismissal of his PCRA petition. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Hairston failed to present convincing new evidence that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment violative of the Eighth Amendment or of Article I, Section 13 of the PA Constitution. Also, … Read more

Commonwealth v. Lopez

Commonwealth v. Lopez involved a serial capital post-conviction appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. In his PCRA petition, the defendant claimed that a cooperating witness — the defendant’s co-conspirator — was given a better deal than was disclosed to the defendant and the jury. At trial, the Commonwealth and the cooperating witness claimed that the … Read more

Commonwealth v. Orner

In Commonwealth v. Orner, an en banc panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the Court of Common Pleas’ order, which granted the defendant a new trial. The defendant was convicted of sexually assaulting his neighbor, but he maintained that the encounter was consensual. His first two trials ended in mistrials. His attorney forgot to notify … Read more

Commonwealth v. Sims

In Commonwealth v. Sims, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of Appellant’s fourth PCRA petition. The petition, titled “Motion for DNA Testing,” was comprised of allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel and that the Commonwealth improperly destroyed his blood samples before trial which resulted in an unfair trial. The Court ruled that … Read more

Commonwealth v. Snyder

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 … Read more

Commonwealth v. Howard

In Commonwealth v. Howard, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reviewed the lower court’s dismissal of Appellant’s third PCRA petition. The Court held that a Joint State Government Commission Report on Capital Punishment was not newly-discovered evidence of racial discrimination that occurred during his jury selection process, providing a factual basis to support several constitutional claims that … Read more

Commonwealth v. Vinson

In Commonwealth v. Vinson, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the dismissal of Appellant’s PCRA petition. The case’s procedural history is tortured due to various post-sentence pro se and counseled filings. The Court reviewed the filings and determined that the lower was correct in ruling that the PCRA petition was untimely filed.

Commonwealth v. Parker

In Commonwealth v. Parker, the Commonwealth appealed the order granting Parker’s PCRA petition. In its opinion, the lower court acknowledged that it erred when it granted the petition based on the retroactive application of Birchfield on collateral review. Thus, the lower court requested a remand. On appeal, Parker conceded the point and requested a remand. … Read more

Commonwealth v. Elliot

In Commonwealth v. Elliot, the defendant filed a PCRA petition requesting the lower court vacate his Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) designation. The court dismissed his petition as untimely. On appeal, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that, though the lower court erred in construing the defendant’s challenge to his registration, notification, and counseling (RNC) requirements as … Read more

Commonwealth v. Wiggins

In Commonwealth v. Wiggins, the Pennsylvania Superior Court rejected the defendant’s claim that he received ineffective assistance because trial counsel did not file a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 600. The defendant sought relief under the Post Conviction Relief Act (“PCRA”), See 42 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 9541-9546, claiming that trial counsel should have filed a … Read more