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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JAMES L. DITMORE (09/27/76)

decided: September 27, 1976.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JAMES L. DITMORE, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order dated November 14, 1975 denying Post-Conviction, of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Div., of Fayette County, at No. 27 of 1972. No. 345 April Term, 1976.

COUNSEL

Simon B. John, Asst. Public Defender, Uniontown, for appellant.

Conrad B. Capuzzi, Dist. Atty., Uniontown, for appellee.

Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ. Spaeth, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Jacobs

[ 242 Pa. Super. Page 250]

This is an appeal from an order dismissing appellant's second Post Conviction Hearing Act*fn1 petition without a hearing. The case is a procedural labyrinth. On September 6, 1974, appellant, after a jury trial, was found guilty of assault and battery with intent to rob, armed robbery, and robbery with an accomplice. Post-trial motions were filed on September 13, 1974, and denied by order dated March 17, 1975. Appellant was sentenced on April 17, 1975. His sentence was made to run consecutive to a sentence he is serving in West Virginia.

On or about April 23, 1975, the "accomplice" came forth with an affidavit which the appellant proffers as "after-discovered evidence", to-wit, the "accomplice" testified in his affidavit that he alone committed the robbery and that the appellant did not participate in any way in the commission of the crimes for which the appellant was convicted.*fn2 At this time no direct appeal was

[ 242 Pa. Super. Page 251]

    pending, and no prompt motion for a new trial was filed on the ground of after-discovered evidence. See Pa.R.Crim.P. 1123(d).

On April 29, 1975, appellant, with counsel other than trial counsel, filed his first PCHA petition raising, inter alia, the after-discovered evidence issue. This petition was not ruled on until July 15, 1975. In the interim, on May 16, 1975, appellant, represented by the same counsel who filed the PCHA petition and who presently represents the appellant, filed a direct appeal from the judgment of sentence. On July 10, 1975, this court granted appellant an extension of time, to August 30, 1975, in which to file his brief and record. By stipulation dated September 25, 1975 the parties agreed that the appeal be continued and placed on the argument list for the week of April 12, 1976. Appellant's judgment of sentence was affirmed per curiam without opinion on June 10, 1976. Commonwealth v. Ditmore, 241 Pa. Super. 533, 358 A.2d 63 (1976).*fn3

By order dated July 15, 1975, the lower court dismissed appellant's first PCHA petition without a hearing, on the ground that since the appellant was not "incarcerated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania [he was under sentence in West Virginia, see text supra] under a sentence of death or imprisonment nor is he on parole or probation," Post Conviction Hearing Act, Act of January 25, 1966, P.L. (1965), 1580, § 3(b), 19 P.S. § 1180-3(b) (Supp.1976-77), he was not entitled to PCHA relief. No appeal was taken from that order. See 19 P.S. § 1180-11 (Supp.1976-77).

[ 242 Pa. Super. Page 252]

On October 8, 1975, appellant, represented by the same counsel, filed his second PCHA petition. This petition was also dismissed without a hearing, by order dated November 14, 1975, for the same reason set forth in the order of July 15, 1975. See ...


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