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Cepeda v. Court of Common Pleas for the County of Berks

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA MIDDLE DISTRICT


June 24, 2010

CESAR CEPEDA, JR., BRIAN BONETTI, BROOK CONSTEIN, BRIAN O. COOK, JR., JEROME DIAZ-CRUZ, ANTHONY DIGUARDI, JR., HABRAM FALU, RICHARD FERNANDEZ, JASON HIESTAND, ANTHONY J. LOPEZ, RAYMOND MARTINEZ, JAVIER MONTALVO, ERROL MORRISON, JOSHUA NATAL, FERNANDO OCASIO, JR., JAMES F. SLOANE, KENNETH SMITH, AND CHARLES STRUMPF, PETITIONERS
v.
THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS FOR THE COUNTY OF BERKS, RESPONDENT

Per curiam.

ORDER

AND NOW, this 24th day of June, 2010, Petitioners' Motion for Leave to File A Reply in Support of their Application for Extraordinary Relief is GRANTED, and the Application for Extraordinary Relief under Pa.R.A.P. 3309 and King's Bench Powers is DENIED.

Our denial of the Application for Extraordinary Relief is predicated in part on the fact that it appears that Berks County has instituted a policy whereby all present and future indigent litigants facing incarceration for nonpayment of child support are afforded appointed counsel, and that all named Petitioners were offered appointed counsel and were granted rehearings. Furthermore, while pro bono counsel for Petitioners assert that they believe that other counties presently fail to appoint counsel for indigent litigants facing incarceration for nonpayment of child support, and that they believe such a practice would be constitutionally questionable, pro bono counsel have failed to offer any support for this belief and, indeed, fail even to identify these other counties. Thus, Petitioners have failed to support their claim that there is a need for this Court to exercise extraordinary review and intercede with respect to an ongoing constitutional problem.

Finally, to the extent that pro bono counsel raise assertions, which they do not support with record evidence, that appointed counsel in Berks County were ineffective and the trial court committed errors at the rehearings granted to certain Petitioners, pro bono counsel have not explained on what basis they can raise those issues in a parallel proceeding in light of Petitioners' representation by appointed counsel. Such issues should be raised in the normal course of litigation and not in an original action filed in this Court.

20100624

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