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Frank Pruitt, Hv-1577 v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

November 6, 2012

FRANK PRUITT, HV-1577, PETITIONER,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, RESPONDENT.



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

MEMORANDUM and ORDER

Frank Pruitt an inmate at the State Correctional Institution -- Rockview 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.

Pruitt is presently serving a forty to eighty year sentence imposed following his conviction by a jury of three counts of rape and three counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse at Nos. CC 200402640, 20078223 and 20085388 in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. This sentence was imposed on November 17, 2008.*fn1

A timely notice of appeal to the Superior Court was filed in which the issues raised were:

I. The Trial Court abused its discretion and/or committed an error of law when it denied Mr. Pruitt's motion for severance when the facts of the three cases were not sufficiently similar to warrant consolidation, which resulted in actual prejudice.

II. ADA Hoffman committed prosecutorial misconduct when he made direct factual misrepresentations, taken in deliberate bad faith in order to prejudice Mr. Pruitt and subvert the truth-seeking process, in arguing for consolidation of DeShaunte's case, which violated Mr. Pruitt's federal and state constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial, as well his double jeopardy right against retrial.

III. The evidence was insufficient to convict Mr. Pruitt on the charges involving Harrison, Adams, and/or DeShaunte when the Commonwealth did not fix the dates and times of the alleged crimes with adequate particularity, which denied Mr. Pruitt a fair, ample opportunity to present a defense and violated his federal and state constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial.

IV. The verdict in Harrison's case was against the weight of the evidence. The entire body of evidence proving that Mr. Pruitt committed the crimes was tenuous, contradictory, and wholly unbelievable.

V. The verdict in Adams' case was against the weight of the evidence. The entire body of evidence proving that Mr. Pruitt committed the crimes was tenuous, contradictory, and wholly unbelievable.

VI. The verdict in DeShaunte's case was against the weight of the evidence. The entire body of evidence proving that Mr. Pruitt committed the crimes was tenuous, contradictory, and wholly unbelievable.*fn2

On July 14, 2010, the judgment of sentence was affirmed.*fn3

Leave to appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was not sought but on August 24, 2010 Pruitt filed a post-conviction petition. That petition was later amended by counsel and on February 28, 2011, post-conviction relief was denied.

A timely appeal to the Superior Court was filed in which the question raised was: Did the trial court err in dismissing Appellant's PCRA petition since trial counsel was ineffective for failing to raise, in post sentencing motions, and direct appeal counsel was ineffective for failing to raise in the appeal, claims that [A] appellant's aggregate sentence of 40-80 years was manifestly excessive, especially since four sentences were run consecutively; [B] his individual sentences of 120-240 months each for rape at 8223-2007 and 2640-2004 were manifestly excessive since they far exceeded the aggravated guideline range of 84 months; [C]the trial court failed to state adequate reasons on the record for sentencing outside of the guidelines at the rape counts at 8223-2007 and 2640-2004; [D] the trial court violated 42 Pa.C.S. §9721(B) by failing to consider the facts therein; [E] the trial court relied upon improper factors when sentencing appellant since it considered appellant's prior arrests and acquittals and; [F] the trial court failed to state adequate reasons on the record for the sentences imposed?*fn4

On December 30, 2011 the denial of post-conviction relief was affirmed.*fn5 A petition for allowance of appeal was filed raising this same issue and leave ...


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