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[U] Commonwealth v. Heller

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

July 9, 2013

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
JAMES EDWARD HELLER, Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence entered February 6, 2012, in the Court of Common Pleas of Pike County, Criminal Division, at Nos: CP-52-CR-0000062-2011 and CP-52-CR-000516-2011

BEFORE: SHOGAN, ALLEN, and FITZGERALD, [*] JJ.

MEMORANDUM

ALLEN, J.

James Edward Heller ("Appellant") appeals from the judgment of sentence imposed after he pled guilty to one count of robbery at Docket No. 62 of 2011, and two counts of aggravated assault at Docket No. 516 of 2011.[1] We affirm.

The trial court summarized the pertinent facts and procedural history as follows:

This appeal stems from two separate criminal cases involving [Appellant]. On April 18, 2011, the District Attorney filed a Criminal Information docketed to 62-2011 CR charging [Appellant] with Counts 1 and 2 of Robbery and Count 3 of Theft by Unlawful Taking or Disposition – Moveable Property. The charges stemmed from a robbery at a Wachovia Bank. On January 13, 2012, the District Attorney filed a Criminal Information docketed to 516-2011 CR charging [Appellant] with Count 1 and 2 of Aggravated Assault and Count 3 Terroristic Threats. These charges stemmed from an incident at the Pike County Correctional Facility in which two Correctional Officers were assaulted and injured while on duty. [Appellant] chose to represent himself with respect to 62-2011 CR and executed a Waiver of Counsel on April 21, 2011. Standby Counsel was appointed to assist [Appellant]. He was represented by Counsel from the Office of the Public Defender on 516-2011 CR.
[Appellant] filed more than fifty (50) pro se Motions, including a thirteen (13) count Omnibus Pre-Trial Motion and a six (6) count Supplemental Omnibus Motion. The [trial court] ruled on each motion, many of which required hearings. On February 6, 2012, [Appellant] was transported for a hearing on [his] Motion for Allocation of Defense Funds to Employ Audio Video Forensics, Motion to Dismiss, and Amended Motion to Suppress Statements. At the hearing, [Appellant] chose to plead guilty to charges from both cases on the condition that he would be sentenced the same day. [Appellant] met with and was advised by his counsel on 516-2011 CR as well as Standby Counsel. Ultimately, [Appellant] plead guilty to the following charges: Count 2 of Criminal Information 62-2011 a charge of Robbery and from Criminal Information 516-2011 Counts 1 and 2 charges of Aggravated Assault. The plea agreement provided for a sentence within the standard range of the guidelines, with whether the sentence on the [r]obbery charge would run concurrent or consecutive left to the [trial court] and sentences on the aggravated assault charges to run concurrent. The Probation Department compiled a Pre-Sentence Investigation and [Appellant's] motion for immediate sentencing was granted.
On Count 2 of 62-2011 [robbery], [Appellant] was sentenced to a term of incarceration of not less than forty (40) months nor more than eight years. On Count 1 in Criminal Information 516-2011 [aggravated assault], [Appellant] was sentenced to thirty-six (36) months to seven (7) years in a state correctional facility to run consecutive to the sentence imposed in 62-2011. On Count 2 of Criminal Information 516-2011 [aggravated assault], [Appellant] was also sentenced to thirty- six (36) months to seven (7) years in a state correctional facility to run consecutive to the sentence imposed above for a total aggregate sentence of seventy-six (76) months to fifteen (15) years.

Trial Court Opinion, 9/24/12, at 1-3 (footnotes omitted).

Appellant filed a pro se post-sentence motion, which was time-stamped by the Clerk of Courts on February 16, 2012. The essence of Appellant's post-sentence motion was that his "guilty plea … was not a knowing, intelligent and/or voluntary act." Post-sentence Motion, 2/16/12, at 3 (unnumbered). However, the post-sentence motion was not entered on the docket. On June 18, 2012, Appellant filed a motion seeking a 30-day extension for the trial court to issue a decision on his post-sentence motion. On July 11, 2012, the trial court denied Appellant's motion for a 30-day extension and ruled that Appellant's post-sentence motion had been denied by operation of law upon the expiration of 120 days. Appellant filed a notice of appeal on July 26, 2012. Both Appellant and the trial court have complied with Pa.R.A.P. 1925.

Appellant raises the following issues for our review:

I. Whether the Appellant's Guilty Plea docketed to No. CR-62-2011 was unlawfully induced by the cumulative nature of factors resulting in unlawful ...

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