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

By Burt Rose

In Com. v. Hill, 2011 WL 832941, No. 521 CAP (March 11, 2011), by a 5-2 vote, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has dismissed a capital PCRA petition from Philadelphia for the failure to comply with Rule 1925(b) and has stated the following:

“Our jurisprudence is clear and well-settled, and firmly establishes that: Rule 1925(b) sets out a simple bright-line rule, which obligates an appellant to file and serve a Rule 1925(b) statement, when so ordered; any issues not raised in a Rule 1925(b) statement will be deemed waived; the courts lack the authority to countenance deviations from the Rule’s terms; the Rule’s provisions are not subject to ad hoc exceptions or selective enforcement; appellants and their counsel are responsible for complying with the Rule’s requirements; Rule 1925 violations may be raised by the appellate court sua sponte, and the Rule applies notwithstanding an appellee’s request not to enforce it; and, if Rule 1925 is not clear as to what is required of an appellant, on-the-record actions taken by the appellant aimed at compliance may satisfy the Rule. We yet again repeat the principle first stated in Lord that must be applied here: In order to preserve their claims for appellate review, appellants must comply whenever the trial court orders them to file a Statement of Matters Complained of on Appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P.1925. Any issues not raised in a Pa .R.A.P.1925(b) statement will be deemed waived.”

The Appellant was represented by the Defender Association of Philadelphia, Federal Court Division, Capital Habeas Unit.

Free legal research available on State and Federal court appointed cases from the Student Research Center. http://www.philadelphiabar.org/page/CJResearch?appNum=4

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