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Commonwealth v. Cintora

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

June 28, 2013

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
OSCAR CINTORA, Appellant COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
JESUS ALCANTAR CINTORA, Appellant

Appeal from the PCRA Order entered November 9, 2012, in the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, Criminal Division, at No: CP-15-CR-0001354-1994, CP-15-CR-0001355-1994.

BEFORE: PANELLA, OLSON, and STRASSBURGER, [*] JJ.

OPINION

STRASSBURGER, J.

These interrelated pro se appeals are from orders entered November 1, 2012, which dismissed Oscar Cintora's fourth petition filed pursuant to the Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA)[1] and his brother Jesus Alcantar Cintora's third petition filed pursuant to the PCRA. On appeal, Oscar and Jesus (collectively "Appellants") both claim that the PCRA court erred in dismissing their petitions as untimely. Because identical issues are raised in each appeal arising from the same set of facts, we will address them together. We affirm.

These actions arose from an incident in March of 1994 wherein Oscar and Jesus burglarized a home, stabbed to death a male occupant, and tied up and terrorized the murder victim's mother and sister. The men fled the scene in the victims' car, but were later apprehended in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

On October 21, 1994, Jesus pled guilty to second-degree murder, criminal conspiracy, burglary, and two counts of robbery. Immediately following his plea, Jesus was sentenced to life imprisonment for the second-degree murder conviction and to an aggregate term of twenty to forty years' imprisonment for the remaining crimes, to be served concurrently with the life sentence. Jesus did not file a direct appeal.

On February 13, 1995, Oscar also pled guilty to second-degree murder, burglary and two counts of robbery. Oscar was sentenced that same date to life imprisonment for second-degree murder. Additionally the court imposed three concurrent sentences of five to ten years' imprisonment for the robbery and burglary convictions. No post-sentence motions were filed, and no direct appeal was taken.

Subsequently, both Appellants filed serial PCRA petitions. However, because those petitions are not at issue, we refrain from describing in detail the factual and procedural history of each petition for each Appellant. Rather we limit our discussion to the most recent PCRA petition filed by each Appellant.

On August 10, 2012, Appellants filed separate, but identical, pro se, PCRA petitions, [2] alleging that the United States Supreme Court in its decision in Miller v. Alabama, 132 S.Ct. 2455 (2012), recognized a new constitutional right, which not only invokes a timeliness exception to section 9545(b)(1) of the PCRA, but also requires the reversal of Appellants' sentences of life imprisonment. After reviewing the petition, the PCRA court found Miller inapplicable and, pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 907, gave notice to Appellants, by order dated September 28, 2012, of its intent to dismiss their petitions as untimely. Both Appellants filed a "Motion for Reconsideration of Order of Intent to Dismiss 'PCRA' Petition as Untimely, " on October 15, 2012. On November 9, 2012, the PCRA court dismissed Appellants' petitions. These timely appeals followed.[3]

On appeal, Appellants collectively raise the following issues for our consideration:

1. Whether the "PCRA" Court erred in dismissing [Appellants' petitions] as untimely, whereupon, such petition[s] alleged that two of the exceptions to the time requirements, applied to his untimely petition under 42 PaC.S. § 9545(b)(1)(ii-iii)?
2. Whether Newly Discovered Scientific facts, ratified by recent U.S. Supreme Court Rulings, and recognized as a Constitutional Right under [Miller, supra], which renders unconstitutional life without parole sentences for juveniles, encompasses as well young adults whose brain[s] were immature at the time of their offenses?
3. Whether Mandatory life without parole terms for adults in homicide cases violates state and federal Equal Protection Clauses as well as Article 7 of ...

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