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

seal_colorBy Burt Rose

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The Superior Court of Pennsylvania has ruled in the case of COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, Appellant v. Stacey A. MARTORANO, Appellee, 2014 WL 1345618, 2014 PA Super 64, 1357 EDA 2013 (April 4, 2014), an appeal from the order of Judge Roger Gordon of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division, MC–51–CR–0035051–2010. The judges were PANELLAMUNDY and FITZGERALD, who wrote the Opinion. There was no dissent. Joseph Kevin Kelly, Esq., represented the Appellee.


The Commonwealth appealed from an order denying its petition for a writ of certiorari which requested that the Court of Common Pleas vacate an order by Judge Joseph J. O’Neill of the Philadelphia Municipal Court granting the Post Conviction Relief Act  petition of Appellee Stacey A. Martorano. The Commonwealth contended that the Philadelphia Municipal Court had no subject matter jurisdiction over a PCRA petition. The Panel of the Superior Court agreed and held that the Philadelphia Municipal Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to entertain PCRA petitions and that a defendant sentenced by the Philadelphia Municipal Court must file a PCRA petition with the Court of Common Pleas. The courts of common pleas have exclusive jurisdiction to entertain PCRA petitions.


Therefore, the Superior Court Panel reversed the order by the Court of Common Pleas denying the Commonwealth’s petition for a writ of certiorari, and vacated the Philadelphia Municipal Court’s order granting PCRA relief to the Appellee.


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