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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. WARREN WEDDINGTON (03/11/87)

decided: March 11, 1987.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
WARREN WEDDINGTON, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania entered at No. 01843, Philadelphia 1983, dated November 30, 1984, affirming the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, dated May 10, 1983, dismissing Appellant's PCHA petition attacking the conviction at Information Nos. 506-509, March Term, 1974, Court of Common Pleas Philadelphia Trial Division, Criminal Section. 337 Pa. Super. 633, 487 A.2d 441 (1984).

COUNSEL

William L. Carroll, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Robert B. Lawler, Chief/Appeals Div., Eric B. Henson, Deputy Dist. Atty., Ronald Eisenberg, Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee.

Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson, Zappala and Papadakos, JJ. Hutchinson, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Mcdermott

[ 514 Pa. Page 47]

OPINION*fn*

On December 20, 1974, appellant, Warren Weddington, was convicted of robbery, conspiracy, and possessing an instrument of crime. Following the denial of appellant's post-trial motions the trial court imposed a sentence of two to fifteen years imprisonment.

Appellant filed a notice of appeal but that direct appeal was not pursued. He had apparently hired new counsel, who in turn determined that no meritorious issues existed and communicated as much to the appellant. On April 19, 1976, the Superior Court entered a judgment of nolle prosequi

[ 514 Pa. Page 48]

    as to that appeal. Appellant served his two year minimum sentence and was released on parole.

On October 15, 1981, appellant was convicted of another armed robbery.*fn1 This second conviction of armed robbery subjected appellant to possible parole revocation, and an additional thirteen years of "back time" in prison arising from his 1974 robbery conviction.

According to appellant, only after this second robbery conviction did he learn of the possibility of collateral attack upon his earlier convictions,*fn2 as provided by the Post Conviction Hearing Act (PCHA).*fn3 Appellant, finding himself incarcerated in the autumn of 1981, utilized some of his leisure time in preparing a pro se PCHA petition attacking his 1974 conviction. This petition was filed in February of 1982.*fn4 Court-appointed counsel filed an amended petition which retained the allegations of the pro se petition and added, of course, allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel.*fn5

The Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia dismissed appellant's petition on the Commonwealth's motion, specifically because appellant waited in excess of five years before initiating his PCHA campaign of collateral attack. ...


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