Commonwealth v. Little

Little appealed the order denying his PCRA petition in which he alleged trial counsel was ineffective for failing to preserve an issue for direct appeal relating to a restriction on questioning of a defense witness. After the PCRA court denied a new trial on the ineffectiveness claim, Little appealed. A panel of the Superior Court … Read more

Commonwealth v. Smith

In Commonwealth v. Smith, the defendant was convicted of robbery and related offenses. After the Superior Court affirmed the convictions, he sought allocatur. Before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled on the petition, the defendant filed a PCRA petition. The PCRA court acknowledged that the filing was premature but chose to accept it as of the … Read more

Commonwealth v. Frame

In Commonwealth v. Frame, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reaffirmed its allegiance to Commonwealth v. Reid, wherein the Supreme Court held that the United States Supreme Court’s holding in Williams v. Pennsylvania did not apply retroactively. Williams had provided some relief for capital litigants for whom Justice Castille — formerly known as District Attorney Castille — … Read more

Commonwealth v. Friedland

Friedland filed a PCRA petition and specifically requested that counsel not be appointed to represent him in his PCRA proceedings. After a Grazier hearing, the PCRA court granted Friedland’s request to proceed pro se. Later, the court reviewed the filings and sent out a 907 Notice of dismissal. Only then did Friedland ask for a … Read more

Commonwealth v. Hawkins

In Commonwealth v. Hawkins, the defendant filed a PCRA petition, alleging that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file a suppression motion. After an evidentiary hearing, the PCRA court dismissed the petition. The Superior Court first noted that because he had the burden of persuasion and production during the evidentiary hearing, the defendant … Read more

Commonwealth v. Mojica

In Commonwealth v. Mojica, the defendant filed a pro se PCRA petition after he was convicted, but before sentencing, and while he was still represented by counsel. In the petition, he made sufficiency and weight claims. The PCRA court ignored the pro se petition and sentenced the defendant. The Superior Court noted that it was … Read more

Commonwealth v. Cox

In Commonwealth v. Cox, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court considered an appeal from the denial of PCRA relief in a capital case. The defendant claimed he was intellectually disabled and could not be executed. The Court focused on whether the defendant had “significant adaptive limitations.” The Court found the PCRA court’s weighing of that factor deficient … Read more

Commonwealth v. Small

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Commonwealth v. Small overruled its prior precedent and tossed the “public record presumption.” Traditionally, a defendant, who filed a PCRA petition, could circumvent the statutory one-year filing deadline by proving they had uncovered a newly-discovered fact. But if that newly-discovered fact was a matter of public record, then a presumption existed … Read more

Commonwealth v. Smith

In Commonwealth v. Smith, the PA Superior Court held that the defendant’s petition to remove himself from sex offender registration was not an untimely PCRA petition. Relying on Commonwealth v. Lacombe, the Court held that the lower court was obligated to review the merits of the claim.

Commonwealth v. McLaughlin

In Commonwealth v. McLaughlin, the PA Superior Court affirmed the dismissal of the defendant’s writ of coram nobis. The Court held: 1. the defendant’s claim of judicial bias was cognizable under the PCRA and cannot serve as the basis for coram nobis relief; 2. the defendant could not obtain PCRA relief on his judicial bias … Read more