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Jonathan Thomas v. Superintendent Rozum et al

May 17, 2011

JONATHAN THOMAS, PETITIONER,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT ROZUM ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mitchell, M.J.:

MEMORANDUM and ORDER

Jonathan Thomas, by his counsel, has presented a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. For the reasons set forth below, the petition will be dismissed and because reasonable jurists could not conclude that a basis for appeal exists, a certificate of appealability will be denied.

Thomas is presently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole imposed following his conviction, upon a plea of guilty, to second degree murder and robbery at No. CP-63-CR-0001619-1995 in the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, Pennsylvania. This sentence was imposed on March 3, 1997.*fn1

An appeal was taken to the Superior Court in which the questions raised were:

I. Whether counsel was ineffective for advising appellant that because he was bound to receive an all white jury to be tried by that he did not stand a chance at trial and should therefore plead guilty in order to avoid the death penalty?

II. Whether appellant was deprived of the assistance of counsel when his attorney was not present at the examination for competency?

III. Whether appellant‟s plea of guilty was entered involuntarily when appellant was motivated to plead guilty based upon the threat that his statements given during the competency examination would be introduced against him at trial where the statements made in the examination were made without Miranda warnings and opportunity of consultation with his attorney?*fn2

On April 16, 1998, the Superior Court affirmed the judgment of sentence.*fn3 Leave to appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was denied on November 9, 1998.

On November 4, 1999 a post-conviction petition was filed. Ten years then passed until an amended post-conviction petition was filed on February 20, 2009.*fn4 Relief was denied on May 27, 2009,*fn5 and an appeal was taken to the Superior Court in which the issues presented were:

1. Did the PCRA court err by dismissing the instant petition without an evidentiary hearing?

2. Did the trial court lack jurisdiction over appellant due to amendments to the 1874 Pennsylvania Constitution and the Pennsylvania Constitution‟s lack of a Savings Clause?*fn6

On June 8, 2010, the denial of post-conviction relief was affirmed*fn7 and leave to appeal was denied by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on October 15, 2010.*fn8

The petitioner now comes before this Court and in a petition filed by counsel on February 17, 2011 contends he is entitled to relief on the following grounds:

1. The Trial Court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction to prosecute, convict and incarcerate Petitioner due to systemic constitutional violations of the Pennsylvania criminal justice system all ...


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