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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JOHN DUNBAR (05/21/82)

filed: May 21, 1982.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JOHN DUNBAR, APPELLANT



No. 384 Philadelphia, 1981, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Philadelphia County, October Term, 1974, Nos. 1619 and 1620.

COUNSEL

Louis Lipschitz, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Garold Tennis, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Brosky, Popovich and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 301 Pa. Super. Page 225]

This appeal arises from the denial of appellant's Post Conviction Hearing Act*fn1 (hereinafter PCHA) petition alleging the denial of his Pa.R.Crim.P. 1100 rights and the ineffectiveness of trial counsel in failing to file a motion to dismiss. For the following reasons, we reverse the order of the lower court.

Appellant was charged with manufacturing, delivering or possessing a controlled substance with an intent to deliver, and possession of an instrument of crime on August 28, 1974. His trial took place on February 3, 1976, or 524 days later. Rule 1100 mandates that trial should have commenced no more than 180 days after the criminal complaint was filed.*fn2

[ 301 Pa. Super. Page 226]

The mandated 180 day period does not include, however, those periods of time which are excludable,*fn3 or those which validly result from a petition for extension of time*fn4 by the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth argues that the Rule 1100 claim should not be cognizable under the Post Conviction Hearing Act. This court and our Supreme Court have clearly enunciated that Rule 1100 claims may be raised in the PCHA court when extraordinary circumstances, such as ineffective assistance of counsel, are alleged. Commonwealth v. Von Smith, 486 Pa. 564, 406 A.2d 1034 (1979); Commonwealth v. Juliano, 282 Pa. Super. 226, 422 A.2d 1088 (1980); and, Commonwealth v. Webb, 278 Pa. Super. 599, 420 A.2d 703 (1980). The Rule 1100 issue was, therefore, properly before the lower court, and is properly before us, as appellant alleges that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to file a motion to dismiss under Rule 1100(f).*fn5

[ 301 Pa. Super. Page 227]

In order to preserve a Rule 1100 claim for appellate review, a timely motion to dismiss pursuant to the Rule must be made prior to the first substantial step in the trial. See, Commonwealth v. Lamonna, 473 Pa. 248, 373 A.2d 1355 (1977). A suppression hearing is not such a substantial step, Commonwealth v. Byrd, 493 Pa. 178, 425 A.2d 722 (1981), unless the hearing of the motion was specifically reserved for the time of trial. Pa.R.Crim.P. 1100, Comment. There being no dispute as to the fact that the hearing on the motion herein was reserved for the time of trial, our calculations are based upon the suppression hearing date, or February 2, 1976.

A review of the record reveals several periods of time which are excludable under Rule 1100(d). On January 31, 1975, the case was continued to April 4, 1975, due to the unavailability of appellant's counsel. The case was again continued on April 4th until May 5th for the same reason. These two continuances result in a total of 94 days which are excludable under Rule 1100(d)(1). Commonwealth v. Warner, 269 Pa. Super. 1, 409 A.2d 33 (1979). The unavailability of appellant's attorney also resulted in the following excludable periods of time: June 11, 1975 until August 11th (61 days); August 19th ...


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