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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. DENNIS (AFRICA) SIMS (08/29/88)

submitted: August 29, 1988.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
DENNIS (AFRICA) SIMS, APPELLANT



Appeal from Post Conv Hearing Act December 10, 1987, in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal, No. 739-745, 7805.

COUNSEL

Brian R. Williams, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Donna G. Zucker, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Com., appellee.

Olszewski, Kelly and Hester, JJ.

Author: Olszewski

[ 379 Pa. Super. Page 253]

This is an appeal from an order denying relief under the Post Conviction Hearing Act ("PCHA"). Appellant asserts that (1) the trial court lacked jurisdiction because the court never ascertained that appellant was not a minor at the time of trial and, (2) that stand-by counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel. Finding no merit to appellant's contentions, we affirm.

As a result of his participation in a confrontation between police and MOVE members in Philadelphia on May 20, 1977, appellant was convicted by jury of riot, criminal conspiracy, terroristic threats, and possession of a prohibited weapon. Following the denial of post-trial motions, the trial court sentenced appellant to concurrent sentences of twenty-six months to seven years for the criminal conspiracy and riot charges and one to five years for the weapon and terroristic threats charges, to run concurrent with the previous sentences.

This Court affirmed the judgment of sentence in an unpublished memorandum. Commonwealth v. Africa, 339 Pa. Super. 612, 488 A.2d 1161 (1984). On June 6, 1985, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied appellant's petition for allowance of appeal.

Appellant filed a pro se PCHA petition on May 7, 1987. Appointed counsel, on December 1, 1987, submitted a "no merit" letter to the PCHA court. After undertaking independent review of the record, the PCHA court dismissed appellant's petition. This appeal followed.

Appellant contends that the trial court did not determine appellant's age and, therefore, did not have jurisdiction over

[ 379 Pa. Super. Page 254]

    the case. During the colloquy regarding appellant's ability to proceed pro se, the following exchange transpired:

The Court: Mr. Dennis Africa, will you stand up, please? ...


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