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Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Christopher Doty

June 29, 2012

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE
v.
CHRISTOPHER DOTY, APPELLANT



Appeal from the PCRA Order of August 3, 2011 In the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-25-CR-0001370-2008.

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

BEFORE: BENDER, OLSON and PLATT,*fn1 JJ.

OPINION BY OLSON, J.:

Appellant, Christopher Doty, appeals from the order entered on August 3, 2011, denying his petition under the Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA), 42 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 9541-9546. Further, in this appeal, Appellant's court- appointed counsel has filed a motion to withdraw from representation. We grant counsel's motion to withdraw and affirm the order dismissing Appellant's PCRA petition.

This Court and the PCRA court have provided an excellent recitation of the relevant facts and procedural history of this case. As this Court explained:

On January 20, 2009, after a joint trial with [two co-defendants], the jury found [all of the defendants] guilty of conspiracy and aggravated assault.*fn2 The trial court scheduled [Appellant]'s sentencing to take place on March 19, 2009.

Notwithstanding his scheduled sentencing date and the bond posted to secure his presence, [Appellant] failed to appear at sentencing. The trial court sentenced [Appellant], in absentia, to a prison term of 66 to 136 months for his conviction of aggravated assault. For his conviction of criminal conspiracy, the trial court sentenced [Appellant] to a consecutive prison term of 48 to 96 months. The trial court imposed fees and costs, and further ordered [Appellant] to pay $1,500,000.00 in restitution. On March 19, 2009, the trial court issued a bench warrant for [Appellant]. The next day, [Appellant]'s counsel filed a post-sentence motion, which the trial court subsequently denied.

[Within] the 30-day appeal period, on April 21, 2009, [Appellant]'s counsel filed a [n]notice of appeal on [Appellant]'s behalf. The trial court [o]rdered [Appellant] to file a concise statement of matters complained of on appeal, pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate Procedure 1925(b). [Appellant]'s counsel complied with the trial court's [o]rder. At the time the trial court filed its Rule 1925(a) [o]pinion, on June 23, 2009, [Appellant] remained a fugitive. However, according to [Appellant]'s appellate brief, law enforcement authorities apprehended [Appellant] in another state.

Commonwealth v. Doty, 997 A.2d 1184, 1186 (Pa. Super. 2010).

The PCRA court summarized the ensuing procedural facts as follows:

[This Court] quashed the appeal because it held . . . that [Appellant] forfeited his right to appellate review of all claims raised in his appeal due to the fact that he was a fugitive during the entire period when he could have filed his direct appeal. [This Court] also held that even though [Appellant]'s counsel at the time attempted to preserve his appellate rights by filing a notice of appeal in [Appellant]'s absence, this did not suffice because [Appellant] failed to return to the jurisdiction prior to the expiration of the appeal period. [Doty, 997 A.2d at 1184].

[On March 10, 2011, Appellant filed a pro se PCRA petition.] Counsel was appointed who filed a supplement to [Appellant]'s PCRA petition.

On July 6, 2011, the trial court filed[, pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 907, notice of its intent to dismiss the petition without a hearing, concluding that Appellant's petition was untimely. On July 29, 2011, Appellant filed objections to the trial court's Rule 907 notice. Thereafter, on August 3, 2011, the trial court issued an order dismissing ...


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