Appeal from the Post Conv Hearing Act October 23, 1987, in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal No. 2513/12 Sept. Term 1982
Mitchell S. Strutin, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Donna G. Zucker, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Com., appellee.
Olszewski, Kelly and Hester, JJ. Kelly, J., concurs in the result.
[ 378 Pa. Super. Page 564]
This is an appeal from an order denying appellant's petition for relief under the Post Conviction Hearing Act (PCHA). On appeal, appellant claims that the PCHA court erred in denying appellant's petition without a hearing and asserts that his initial PCHA counsel, who filed a "no merit" letter, was ineffective for failing to raise the ineffectiveness of all prior counsel for failing to: (1) challenge the trial court's permitting the Commonwealth to present evidence concerning appellant's filing of an alibi notice; (2) challenge the trial court's denial of appellant's motion to suppress; (3) challenge the trial court's precluding appellant from impeaching a Commonwealth witness with preliminary hearing testimony; (4) challenge the trial court's permitting the Commonwealth to present hearsay testimony; (5) allege prosecutorial misconduct; (6) request a jury instruction concerning Commonwealth witnesses' prior inconsistent testimony; and (7) raise the trial court's consideration of appellant's prior guilty plea in sentencing appellant. For reasons discussed below, we remand for an evidentiary hearing.
The defendant was arrested on or about September 14, 1982, and charged with burglary and related offenses . . . . On September 15, 1983, defendant plead guilty before Judge Guarino to the charge of burglary. He was sentenced to a period of imprisonment of not less than three to no more than eight years. On October 13, 1983, the
[ 378 Pa. Super. Page 565]
defendant was permitted to withdraw his guilty plea, and new counsel was appointed to represent him . . . .
On October 16, 1985, trial began before the Honorable Angelo Guarino and a jury. The jury returned a verdict of guilty as to the charges of criminal trespass, burglary and theft. Once again, counsel was permitted to withdraw, and new counsel was appointed to represent the defendant. On April 23, 1986, post-verdict motions were argued and denied. On May 12, 1986, the defendant was sentenced on the charge of burglary to a period of not less than six to no more than twenty years. The remaining charges merged for the purposes of sentencing. The defendant filed a timely motion to reconsider sentence which was heard and denied on May 30, 1986.
On December 1, 1986, the judgment of sentence was affirmed by the Superior Court in a per curiam and unpublished memorandum. (No. 1514 PHL 1986).
On December 30, 1986, the defendant filed a pro se petition for relief under the Post Conviction Hearing Act. New counsel was appointed to represent him in this matter. On September 24, 1987, P.C.H.A. counsel notified this Court, through a "no merit" letter, that he was unable to amend the defendant's petition, and that he found the issues raised in the defendant's pro se petition to be frivolous. This Court then undertook its own independent and careful review of the record and applicable law. On October 23, 1987, this Court found the defendant's issues raised in his pro se petition to be frivolous and discovered no other issues of arguable merit. Accordingly, this Court entered an Order dismissing the defendant's Petition for Relief. The instant appeal has followed the denial of relief.
Appellant then filed an appeal with this Court. Initial PCHA counsel was permitted to withdraw and new PCHA counsel was appointed for purposes of this appeal.
First, appellant claims that the PCHA court erred in dismissing appellant's PCHA petition without a hearing. In
[ 378 Pa. Super. Page 566]
his petition, appellant asserted that prior counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate and prepare a credible Rule 1100 argument, and for failing to articulate the substance of an alibi witness's testimony. We find, however, that the PCHA court's determination is supported by evidence of record and is otherwise free of legal error. Commonwealth v. Lutz, 492 Pa. 500, 424 A.2d ...