A blog of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section

Supreme Court PA

By Burt Rose

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The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has issued a decision in the case of COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellant v. Emma TURNER, Appellee, 2013 WL 6134575, No. 52 EAP 2011 (Nov. 22, 2013), an appeal from the order entered on July 15, 2011, in the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, Philadelphia County, at No. CP–51–CR–0006247–2007. The matter was before Justices CASTILLESAYLOREAKIN,BAERTODD and McCAFFERY.

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has issued a decision in the case of COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellant v. Emma TURNER, Appellee, 2013 WL 6134575, No. 52 EAP 2011 (Nov. 22, 2013), an appeal from the order entered on July 15, 2011, in the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, Philadelphia County, at No. CP–51–CR–0006247–2007. The matter was before Justices CASTILLE, SAYLOR, EAKIN, BAER, TODD and McCAFFERY. Justice BAER wrote the Opinion for the Court. Justices Todd and Saylor dissented.
The Commonwealth filed a direct appeal from an order of the court of common pleas of the first judicial district declaring that Section 9543(a)(1)(i) of the PostConviction Relief Act, 42 Pa .C.S. § 9543(a)(1)(i), which conditions the availability of post-conviction relief on whether the petitioner is currently serving a sentence of imprisonment, probation, or parole, is unconstitutional as applied to Petitioner. The PCRA court held that barring Petitioner from obtaining collateral relief on her timely claim of trial counsel ineffectiveness because she had completed serving her sentence, as Section 9543(a)(1)(i) requires, would violate Petitioner’s constitutional due process right to be heard on this issue. The PCRA court therefore permitted Petitioner to proceed with her PCRA petition, despite her ineligibility under Section 9543(a)(1)(i), granted an evidentiary hearing, and ultimately awarded her a new trial.

The Supreme Court concluded that the Petitioner had no due process right to be heard outside of the limits imposed by Section 9543(a)(1)(i) of the PCRA, and that she had had the opportunity to attempt to vindicate her claim on direct appeal under Commonwealth v. Bomar, 826 A.2d 831 (Pa.2003), or within the time frame permitted by the PCRA, and therefore reversed the decision of the PCRA court and held that this section is constitutional as applied to this Petitioner.

BAER wrote the Opinion for the Court. Justices Todd and Saylor dissented.

The Commonwealth filed a direct appeal from an order of the court of common pleas of the first judicial district declaring that Section 9543(a)(1)(i) of the PostConviction Relief Act, 42 Pa .C.S. § 9543(a)(1)(i), which conditions the availability of post-conviction relief on whether the petitioner is currently serving a sentence of imprisonment, probation, or parole, is unconstitutional as applied to Petitioner. The PCRA court held that barring Petitioner from obtaining collateral relief on her timely claim of trial counsel ineffectiveness because she had completed serving her sentence, as Section 9543(a)(1)(i)requires, would violate Petitioner’s constitutional due process right to be heard on this issue. The PCRA court therefore permitted Petitioner to proceed with her PCRA petition, despite her ineligibility under Section 9543(a)(1)(i), granted an evidentiary hearing, and ultimately awarded her a new trial.

The Supreme Court concluded that the Petitioner had no due process right to be heard outside of the limits imposed bySection 9543(a)(1)(i) of the PCRA, and that she had had the opportunity to attempt to vindicate her claim on direct appeal under Commonwealth v. Bomar, 826 A.2d 831 (Pa.2003), or within the time frame permitted by the PCRA, and therefore reversed the decision of the PCRA court and held that this section is constitutional as applied to this Petitioner.

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Comments on: "PA Supreme Court upholds ban on PCRA relief after sentence is completed" (1)

  1. Thank you for the update… bookmarked and noted.

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