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Commonwealth v. Joiner

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

May 21, 2013

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
BLAKE E. JOINER, JR., Appellant

Appeal from the Order August 7, 2012 In the Court of Common Pleas of Clearfield County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-17-CR-0000391-1997

BEFORE: STEVENS, P.J., BOWES, J., and MUSMANNO, J.

OPINION

STEVENS, P.J.

Blake E. Joiner, Jr. (hereinafter "Appellant") appeals pro se from the trial court's Order entered on August 7, 2012, in the Court of Common Pleas of Clearfield County. Upon our review of the record, we affirm.

This matter arises as a result of Appellant's having been charged under two Bills of Information: 97-390 and 97-391. On Bill 97-390, Appellant was charged with 35 counts each of Rape, Statutory Rape and related offenses which stemmed from allegations of sexual contact between his stepdaughter and him occurring between August 1994 and May 1995.[1] On Bill 97-391, Appellant was charged with 76 counts each of Rape, Statutory Sexual Assault and related charges.[2] These charges were based upon similar allegations occurring between June 1995 and March 1997. On December 23, 1997, the Bills were consolidated for trial, and on January 5, 1998, the Commonwealth nolle prossed 35 counts of Rape and 35 counts of Statutory Rape. On April 23, 1998, Appellant entered into a plea agreement with the Commonwealth and pled guilty to three counts of Rape and five counts of Corruption of Minors from the original 390 Bill of Information.[3] Appellant also pled guilty to two counts of Rape and five counts of Corruption of Minors from the 391 Bill of Information. All of the remaining charges were nolle prossed as part of the plea agreement.

On August 8, 2011, Appellant filed a motion for expungement wherein he sought the expungement of the 35 counts each of Rape and Statutory Rape that he stated had been nolle prossed in January 1998. The trial court dismissed the motion as an untimely PCRA petition on September 14, 2011, and Appellant filed a timely pro se appeal.

In a Memorandum decision filed on June 19, 2012, a panel of this Court noted that a motion for expungement is not a claim contemplated by the PCRA and, therefore, the trial court had erred as a matter of law in dismissing Appellant's motion as an untimely PCRA petition. Commonwealth v. Joiner, No. 1561 WDA 2011, unpublished memorandum at 3-4 (Pa.Super. filed June 19, 2012). We proceeded to analyze the substance of Appellant's claim and observed that he was entitled to have his petition to expunge the records of arrests terminated without convictions evaluated according to the factors set forth in Commonwealth v. Wexler, 431 A.2d 877 (Pa. 1981). We further noted that in its brief, the Commonwealth had agreed that Appellant was entitled to a Wexler hearing as to the charges nolle prossed on January 6, 1998; however, we stated that pursuant to Commonwealth v. V.G., 9 A.3d 222, 225-26 (Pa.Super. 2010), Appellant was not entitled to a Wexler hearing regarding the expungement of the charges nolle prossed as part of the plea agreement entered on April 23, 1998. Id. at 5-6. As such, we vacated the trial court's Order and remanded the matter to the trial court to "schedule a hearing on the 70 charges nolle prossed in January 1998, prior to the plea agreement." Id. at 6.

A Wexler hearing was never held. Rather, the trial court entered its Order of August 7, 2012, which reads as follows:

AND NOW, this 7th day of August, 2012 upon consideration of [Appellant's] MOTION FOR COURT APPOINTED ATTORNEY ON APPEAL and MOTION TO PROCEED INFORMA PAUPERIS ON APPEAL it is the ORDER of this [c]ourt that said Motions be DISMISSED as MOOT.
Consistent with the decision of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, No. 1560 WDA 2011, [Appellant's] request to expunge charges nol[le] prossed as part of his plea agreement entered on April 23, 1998 is hereby DENIED and as [Appellant] is not entitled to a Wexler hearing on those charges, no such hearing is scheduled.
The [c]ourt notes the Commonwealth has no opposition to the expungement of 32 counts of Rape [1], and the 35 counts of Statutory Rape nol[le] prossed in January 1998, prior to [Appellant's] plea agreement of April 23, 1998. For this reason no Wexler hearing is scheduled on those counts and said counts are hereby ORDERED EXPUNGED.
[1] The Superior Court of Pennsylvania referenced 35 counts of rape in their [sic] non-Precedential Decision on this matter. [Appellant] was charged with 35 counts of rape, 32 of which were nol[le] prossed in January of 1998. [Appellant] pled guilty to the remaining 3 charges of rape.

On August 30, 2012, Appellant filed his pro se "Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Release from Custody" which was treated as a notice of appeal. The trial court ordered Appellant to file a concise statement of the matters raised on appeal on September 14, 2012, and Appellant filed the same on September 25, 2012. In a letter addressed to the Deputy

Prothonotary of this Court dated September 24, 2012, and filed September 25, 2012, the trial court indicated that it would not be ...


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