Appeal from the PCRA Order April 23, 2012 In the Court of Common Pleas of Venango County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-61-CR-0000580-1998
BEFORE: GANTMAN, J., WECHT, J., and FITZGERALD, J.*fn1
Appellant, Christopher Swartzfager, appeals from the order entered in the Venango County Court of Common Pleas, denying his petition brought pursuant to the Post Conviction Relief Act ("PCRA").*fn2 We vacate and remand for further proceedings.
The relevant facts and procedural history of this appeal are as follows. Appellant pled guilty on September 29, 1998, to attempted rape.
On November 23, 1998, the court sentenced Appellant to sixty-six (66) to two hundred forty (240) months' imprisonment. This Court affirmed the judgment of sentence on October 11, 2000. Appellant did not file a petition for allowance of appeal with our Supreme Court.
Appellant filed a pro se PCRA petition on October 19, 2001. The court appointed counsel, who filed a "no-merit" letter and motion to withdraw on March 19, 2003, concluding Appellant's pro se PCRA petition was untimely filed. On April 2, 2003, the court granted counsel leave to withdraw. That same day, the court issued notice of its intent to dismiss the petition without a hearing, pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 907. Appellant filed a pro se notice of appeal on April 21, 2003, from the April 2nd order granting counsel's motion to withdraw. In its Rule 907 notice and again in its opinion submitted to this Court, the PCRA court adopted counsel's position that Appellant's 2001
petition was untimely on its face and lacked any exception.*fn3 By order dated September 22, 2003, this Court quashed the appeal sua sponte as interlocutory, and not immediately appealable, because the challenged order granting counsel leave to withdraw was not a final disposition of Appellant's PCRA petition. Since then, no further action related to Appellant's 2001 PCRA petition occurred.
Appellant filed another pro se PCRA petition on December 29, 2011. On March 22, 2012, the court issued Rule 907 notice of intent to dismiss without a hearing. Appellant then filed a pro se notice of appeal on April 10, 2012. The court entered a final order denying PCRA relief on April 23, 2012.*fn4 Also on April 23, 2012, the court ordered Appellant to file a concise statement of errors complained of on appeal, pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b). Appellant timely filed a pro se Rule 1925(b) statement on May 4, 2012.
Appellant raises two issues for our review:
THE TRIAL COURT ILLEGALLY SENTENCED APPELLANT TO FIVE AND [ONE-]HALF TO TWENTY YEARS IN PRISON FOR AN INCHOATE CRIME.
THE REQUIREMENTS OF MEGAN'S LAW WERE ILLEGALLY IMPOSED UPON APPELLANT WHEN HE WAS SENTENCED, INCARCERATED AND ON PAROLE.
(Appellant's Brief at 3).
As a preliminary matter, we must determine whether Appellant timely filed the current PCRA petition. Commonwealth v. Harris, 972 A.2d 1196 (Pa.Super. 2009), appeal ...